The location of a story is chosen deliberately by the author to affect mood as well as plot. Consider this: a conversation between a father and son at a coffee shop will feel very different from a talk that covers the same subjects in a hospital waiting room. Or at a prison on visiting day.

A family story and the dynamics between characters will be affected by the farm where they live that has been in the family for generations. Who works the farm? Who leaves to find life in the city? Who will inherit the land?

The inner city family is affected by the crowded living conditions, crime on the streets, the stress that comes with a faster pace of living.

Similarly, weather has an effect on mood. A card game on a sultry afternoon in a room without air-conditioning will feel very different from that same game in front of a cozy fire in the middle of a snowstorm.

Is the weather a reflection of what’s going on with the characters? Does it symbolize struggles that the characters are experiencing? Is there heat in the room and between characters? Does the heat represent anger, sexual feelings, or impending violence?

What mood do you want to develop in your story? How can the setting and weather help you set the tone?


Your character has brought his girlfriend home to meet the family just after the sudden death of his grandfather. The girlfriend meets the family at the funeral.

Now write that meeting when it takes place, instead, at a family wedding reception.

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