Is it possible that stormy weather can be related to sadness? The weather could be related to gloom?

  • Can the sadness be introduced at the beginning?
    – Jaystar
    Apr 22, 2018 at 5:56
  • 3
    Black clouds sprawl across the sky, billowing in from the west. Their brassy glare drains color from houses and trees and burnished cars in driveways, leaving neighborhoods tinted bronze in the faltering light. The air grows heavy and the humidity presses down, suffocating. The scent of rain is dark and heady. A stillness falls over the street, and in the silence comes a low crackle of thunder, rolling across rooftops to the pattering of tiny raindrops. For a moment, everything stops. Even the wind holds its breath. A streak of hot silver splits the sky, and the downpour begins.
    – Jaystar
    Apr 22, 2018 at 6:04
  • Isn't the above pretty happy?
    – Jaystar
    Apr 22, 2018 at 6:04
  • I wouldn't say the above is happy, no.
    – storbror
    Apr 22, 2018 at 10:07
  • 2
    They call it pathetic fallacy
    – Adi219
    Apr 22, 2018 at 11:14

2 Answers 2


Psychological research has indeed shown that the correlation between bad weather and bad mood is not just a literary clichee but a fact: weather can affect your mood.

While mood cannot affect weather, film makers and writers have used weather to reflect the mood of their characters, as in this scene from The Bridges of Madison County, where a neglected housewife runs away from the possibility of happiness with her weekend lover (played by Clint Eastwood), and as she looks back she sees him standing in the rain and looking after her with what we imagine is longing and despair:

rain scene from the movie The Bridges of Madison Country

But you must be careful with overdoing this. If the weather always changes in tune with the mood of your protagonist, it will quickly become laughable and disrupt the experience of your readers instead of supporting it.

Restrict your use of the weather to certain key scenes – and sometimes counteract the mood of the protagonist with seemingly "unfitting" weather to emphasize their mood even more:

enter image description here

  • Using pathetic fallacy certainly is an art
    – Adi219
    Apr 22, 2018 at 11:15
  • If the weather always changes in tune with the mood of your protagonist, it will quickly become laughable and disrupt the experience of you readers instead of supporting it. -- I dunno, seems to work well enough depending on the character :)
    – tonysdg
    Apr 22, 2018 at 11:47
  • Will it affect the reader if the rain last almost 1 quarter of the book?
    – Jaystar
    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:09
  • @Jaystar I suppose so. But it will all depend on what you do with the rain. For example, I personally hate books that take place in winter, but most of Anne Leckie's Ancillary Justice takes place on a winter planet, and that was a great book.
    – user29032
    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:31

It's in the language: words like "grey", "dreary" evoke sadness. The sky might be weeping (though that's a little over the top and overused). A lonely seagull might be crying plaintively. Wind might be bighting. Adjectives and adverbs associated with sadness would relate the stormy weather to the emotion you're trying to set for the scene.

Compare that to generous drops falling onto parched earth, washing away some negative whatever. Same rain, different mood. Here, different adjectives set the rain instead as a blessing and a relief.

  • Will the sunshine be able to be related to sadness??
    – Jaystar
    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:14
  • @Jaystar sure. The sun can beat over your head, the heat can be stifling, oppressive, or burning your lungs. The sun might be bleaching something, sucking moisture and life out of it. A lonely dead tree might be standing over a dried-out stream bed. Or, if you prefer an European setting, it might be a pale circle devoid of heat. Apr 23, 2018 at 11:44

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