I love reading books that pull me into the scene. The action and dialogue is very important, but I get a lot of the feeling from the setting. I love beautifully described scenery in books.
For example, Dan Simmons does a wonderful job in his Hyperion Cantos series in describing the different worlds. I feel like I’m there. There are so many wondrous and spectacular worlds to explore. George R. R. Martin does a great job with A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones for those of you who only watch the TV series). I feel the realism and grittiness of the atmosphere.
In the real world, I enjoy exploring new places, not only to see interesting things, but also to discover new atmospheres. I like to experience how a place feels, and how it makes me feel. Every place is unique, even though the urban landscape doesn’t change very much here in Japan. Every neighbourhood has its own character and atmosphere. I love that.
Weather also affects atmosphere. Weather is, by definition, caused by the atmosphere, and it also creates atmosphere. Later this week, a typhoon will hit my area. During a typhoon, everything seems to change. It’s like I’m in another place. In fact, I love typhoons. I find them fascinating. I’m looking forward to the weather this week.
The sun can also create atmosphere. Nighttime feels totally different than daytime. The shadows are different. The air is different. Areas that are vibrant and busy during the day may be dark and mysterious at night. This is shown quite a bit in Terry Brooks’ The Word and the Void series. A lot of the story takes place in a park, yet the feeling is totally different between day and night.
Seasons bring different atmospheres, as well. I love the feeling of spring and summer. While the weather is wonderful here in fall, it also gives me a feeling of sadness, as it’s getting cooler and moving toward winter. Winter is my least favourite season, so I’m thankful it’s quite short in the Tokyo area. But snow can sure change the atmosphere. It rarely snows here, but when it does, it seems strangely peaceful, yet chaotic. The white coating over everything looks and feels peaceful, but human behaviour is completely changed. And lots of people are out when it snows, especially those trying to figure out how to drive and walk.
Whether in a book or real life, I really enjoy feeling the atmosphere. It can affect my mood and outlook on the day or scene.
How’s the atmosphere where you are now?