Weather Thesaurus Entry: Mist or Fog
Posted by Angela Ackerman
However, caution must accompany this entry: the weather should not be used as a window into a character's soul. The weather can add invisible pressure for the character, it can layer the SCENE with symbolism, it can carefully hint at the internal landscape, but it must never OVERTLY TELL emotion. Such a heavy-handed approach results in weather cliches and melodrama (a storm raging above a bloody battle, a broken-hearted girl crying in the rain).
Hazy whiteness & curls of smoky air currents that obscure surroundings and make distances difficult to fathom. Fog is denser than mist, and visibility is reduced. Mutes light and color, and can hide movement.
Damp, picks up the scent of brine and algae near water sources, earthy scents (soil, pine, greenery) in natural areas and urban scents in cities (oil/gasoline, pollutants, refuse, wet cardboard, oil & food smells from fast food chains, etc)
No taste, but breath would be moist in nature. It may carry a briny tang if near a water source.
No sound in itself, but in natural environments, animals would be less likely to make movement/noise for fear of predators they could not see, causing an 'unnatural quiet'. A lack of a breeze contributes to this, causing sound to not carry or seem muffled.
A cold, dewy sensation against the skin. With little to no air movement, the moist air will cling to hair and clothing, weighing both down and casing water droplets to form during prolonged exposure. If the weather is cold enough, frost may also form.
Mood: By nature, mist and fog obscures and hides. It causes an atmosphere of mystery and uncertainty, and if danger (real or perceived) is present, it can ratchet up fear. Characters rely on sight more so than anything else, so the visibility restrictions, combined with the unpleasant feeling of cold and damp, can easily play on emotions. Imagination and adrenaline runs high. Characters tend to be on guard and alert to all forms of sensory input when mist or fog is present.
Symbolism: Doom, danger, mystery, confusion, a knowledge veil that the character must break through to achieve their goals, unseen opposing forces, uncertainly, a challenge ahead
Possible Cliches: Mist and fog used in dreams to imply repressed memory or knowledge, using it in conjunction with locations that are magnets for scary/paranormal (IE: graveyards, haunted houses, etc.)
OTHER: Mist forms at night/early morning when the temperature is low and the air is filled with moisture and is burned off by sun and heat. Most common near water sources (harbors, rivers, lakes), you can usually see over the top of mist or fog at a distance as it is a cloud that forms along the ground.
Don't be afraid to use the weather to add contrast. Unusual pairings, especially when drawing attention to the Character's emotions, is a powerful trigger for conflict. Consider how the bleak mood of a character is even more noticeable as morning sunlight dances across the crystals of fresh snow on the walk to work. Or how the feeling of betrayal is so much more poignant on a hot summer day. Likewise, success or joy can be hampered by a cutting wind or drizzling sleet, foreshadowing conflict to come.