how to describe fog creative writing

101 Words To Describe Weather

Writers know that using the weather in their descriptions is a great way to make stories more relatable. Use this comprehensive list of words that describe weather  when you write.

Writers Write is a resource for writers and we have written about words that describe taste , smell , sound , and touch  in previous posts. (We even have one for words that describe colours .) In this post, I have included words that describe weather.

Weather is a wonderful tool for writers. We can use it to foreshadow , create a mood , complicate a plot , show a character , and increase or decrease the pace of a story. We can even use it as a motif .

A setting without the weather is like a character without a wardrobe.

Remember that we need to describe weather through our characters’ interactions with their environments. We should not describe it like a weather report. You could show how cold it is by the clothes they choose to wear or mention the weather in dialogue.

Whatever you do, don’t leave it out. There are unintended consequences to a lack of setting , including a static character, a lack of atmosphere, an inability for the reader to relate to the place and time in the story, and a lack of details.

What Is Weather?

According to Oxford it is ‘the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time as regards heat, cloudiness, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.’

Words To Describe Weather

General words describing weather.

  • climate – the type of weather that a country or region has
  • climate change – changes in the earth’s weather, including changes in temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gases, especially carbon dioxide
  • meteorology – the scientific study of weather
  • seasonal – suitable or typical of the time of year it is now
  • spell – a period when there is a particular type of weather
  • weather forecast  – a report on likely weather conditions for a period of time in the future
  • zone – one of the large areas that the world is divided into according to its temperature

Words Describing Warm Weather

  • balmy – warm and pleasant
  • blistering – extremely hot in a way that is uncomfortable
  • dog days – the hottest days of the year
  • heatwave – a continuous period of very hot weather, especially when this is unusual
  • Indian summer – a period of warm weather in autumn
  • scorcher – an extremely hot day
  • sunny – not stormy or cloudy
  • thaw – ice and snow turns into water
  • the heat – very hot weather
  • tropical – like weather near the equator, climate that is frost-free

Words Describing Cold Weather

  • bleak – very cold and grey
  • biting – so cold that it makes you feel uncomfortable
  • brisk – fairly cold and a fairly strong wind is blowing
  • crisp – cold and dry
  • fresh – fairly cold and the wind is blowing
  • frosty – cold enough to produce frost
  • hard – a very cold winter
  • harsh – extremely cold and unpleasant
  • icy – very cold, like ice
  • raw – cold and unpleasant
  • snowy – covered with snow

Words Describing Pleasant Weather

  • calm – very little wind
  • clear – no clouds, rain, etc.
  • clement – pleasant because it is neither very hot nor very cold
  • cloudless – no clouds in the sky
  • equable – does not change very much
  • fair – pleasant and not raining
  • fine – sunny and not raining
  • pleasant – dry and neither very hot nor very cold
  • still – without wind
  • temperate – a temperate climate or region is never extremely hot or extremely cold
  • windless – without any wind

Words To Describe Unpleasant Weather

  • bone-dry – completely without water or moisture
  • fierce – very strong or severe
  • foul – unpleasant, with rain, snow, or wind
  • gale-force – an extremely strong wind
  • gusty – the wind blowing in gusts
  • humid – hot and wet in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • muggy –  warm in an unpleasant way because the air feels wet
  • murky – dark and unpleasant because of fog, clouds, etc.
  • severe – extremely unpleasant and likely to cause harm or damage
  • sultry – the air is hot and slightly wet
  • threatening – clouds, skies, or seas show that the weather is likely to be bad
  • torrential – rain falling in large amounts
  • unseasonable – not the type of weather that you expect in a particular season
  • windy – with a lot of wind

Words To Describe Wet & Cloudy Weather

  • bank – a large mass of cloud or fog
  • billow – a cloud that rises and moves in a large mass
  • blizzard – a snowstorm with very strong winds
  • cirrocumulus – small round clouds that form lines high in the sky
  • cirrostratus – a thin layer of cloud found very high in the sky
  • cirrus – a type of thin cloud found very high in the sky
  • cloudy – full of clouds
  • column – something that rises up into the air in a straight line
  • cumulonimbus – a mass of very tall thick cloud that usually brings rain and sometimes thunder
  • cumulus – a large low white cloud that is round at the top and flat at the bottom
  • dull – when there are a lot of clouds and it is rather dark
  • fog – a thick cloud that forms close to the ground or to water and is difficult to see through (fog is thicker than mist)
  • fogbound – not able to operate normally because of thick fog
  • foggy – full of fog or covered with fog
  • gather – if clouds gather, they start to appear and cover part of the sky
  • grey – when it is not very bright, because there is a lot of cloud
  • hurricane – a violent storm with very strong winds
  • inclement – unpleasantly cold or wet
  • lower – if clouds lower, they are very dark, as if a storm is coming
  • mist – small drops of liquid in the air
  • misty – lots of mist in the air
  • nimbus – a dark grey rain cloud
  • overcast – a sky completely full of clouds
  • pall – cloud that covers an area and makes it darker
  • pea souper – thick low cloud that prevents you from seeing anything
  • scud – clouds moving quickly
  • sea mist – a thin low cloud that comes onto the land from the sea
  • steam- the wet substance that forms on windows and mirrors when wet air suddenly becomes hot or cold
  • storm cloud – a very dark cloud
  • squall – a sudden violent gust of wind or localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet.
  • thundercloud – a storm cloud producing thunder
  • tsunami – an extremely large wave in the sea
  • typhoon – a violent tropical storm with very strong winds
  • vapour – very small drops of water or other liquids in the air that make the air feel wet
  • vog – smog that contains dust and gas from volcanoes

Words To Describe Changes In Weather

  • break – if the weather breaks, it changes unexpectedly, and usually becomes worse
  • break through – if the sun breaks through the clouds, it appears from behind them
  • brighten up – if the weather brightens up, it becomes sunnier
  • clear up – if the weather clears up, the clouds or rain go away
  • close in – if the weather closes in, it becomes unpleasant
  • cloud – to become darker because grey clouds are forming in the sky
  • ease – if bad weather such as wind or rain eases, it becomes less strong
  • fickle – weather that is fickle changes often and unexpectedly
  • lift – if something such as cloud or fog lifts, the weather improves and you can see clearly again
  • melt away – if ice or snow melts away, it changes into water as it gets warmer
  • thaw – if the weather thaws, it becomes warmer and causes ice or snow to change into liquid
  • track – if weather tracks in a particular direction, it moves in that direction

The Last Word

I hope these words that describe weather help you with your writing.

If you’re looking for help with describing setting, buy our Setting Up The Setting Workbook .

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  • 155 Words To Describe An Author’s Tone
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  • 20 Words Used To Describe Specific Tastes And Flavours
  • 209 Words To Describe Touch
  • 204 Words That Describe Colours
  • 106 Ways To Describe Sounds
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  • 350 Character Traits

how to describe fog creative writing

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Sources: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/general-words-for-climate-and-the-weather https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/warm-and-hot-weather https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/words-used-to-describe-cold-weather https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/words-used-to-describe-calm-and-pleasant-weather https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/words-used-to-describe-unpleasant-weather https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/moisture-in-the-air-clouds-and-cloudy-weather https://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/changes-in-the-weather

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And nowadays there’s also Pyrocumulonimbus.

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Letter Review

How to Use Weather in Creative Writing

how to describe fog creative writing

If you are a bit hesitant to use weather in your writing , you’re not alone. After all, there’s a fine line between using weather as a setting tool and turning your work into a melodrama riddled with clichés. But avoiding weather altogether is a mistake all on its own. 

The weather plays a significant role in creative writing. Not only can it be used in all kinds of atmospheric descriptions and to move the plot forward, but it also sets the tone, foreshadows upcoming events, and can portray emotion within the story.

If weather feels like a recipe for disaster, you might not be utilizing it right. Not to worry! Below, we will show exactly how you should be using weather in your creative writing so you can add that extra bit of “umpf” to your story. 

Use Weather to Set the Scene

One of the easiest and most natural ways to use weather is to set the scene. This is also where a lot of writers mess up. 

Now, we’re not saying you should give your reader a full weather report at the beginning of a scene. Not only is that boring and unnecessary, but it delays the story and can pull a reader from immersion. However, if you don’t mention the weather at all, an essential element will be missing from your writing. Weather is a great way to create mood and drive the plot , and it allows readers to visualize and feel the world you’re creating. 

Weather as Setting

When it comes to creative writing , the weather is a crucial part of the setting. It plays a big role in allowing the reader to immerse themselves into the world you are creating. 

For example, imagine that a town was described by a character as “wet and dreary 365 days a year.” Now imagine that the writer only gave details of the architecture, food, and people in the town. It would feel like something was missing. 

You might be waiting for the mention of the clouds in the sky or the wetness in the air, whether that be rain or fog. Maybe the town is by the ocean? Something to show you why the town is considered wet. 

Avoid weather in your writing can leave the reader asking questions and pull them away from the story. 

Creating Mood with Weather

The weather you choose and the way you describe it can completely set the mood of a scene. 

Let’s say you have three friends standing side-by-side with a long road ahead of them. Now let’s add some weather:

  • Storm clouds are in the distance: This could symbolize or foreshadow trouble ahead. Readers would expect to see many obstacles. 
  • Light snow is falling: Their journey could be a cleansing of sorts or the end of something. Snow also has a quietness and softness to it. 
  • The sun is high on a spring day: This often creates an uplifting mood. Spring typically symbolizes hope and new birth, while sunshine tends to make people feel happy. 

Even though the scene is pretty much the same, changing the weather can give it a completely different feel and change a reader’s expectations of the story . 

Using Weather as a Plot Device

Most of us, if not all, have seen or know of the movie Twister. If you aren’t sure what that is, Twister is a 90s film about a large tornado and a team of storm chasers who create an advanced weather alert system. Even if you haven’t seen the movie , it’s fairly obvious that this story wouldn’t be much without the use of weather. 

However, the weather doesn’t have to be the star to be used as a plot device. Even the most ordinary weather can drive the plot of a story. 

  • A hot summer day and broken air conditioner could be the driving factor that makes your character leave home on a particular day. 
  • Light snow at the beginning of winter could be the one thing that two characters bond over. 
  • Rain can spoil an outdoor gathering, sparking drama among attendees. 

Weather as a plot device can be subtle or dramatic, as long as it’s moving the story forward somehow. If it’s not, then you’ve got some work to do. 

Use Weather Descriptions Sparingly

Decide how weather can be used in your story , and then think about how much time to spend on it.

Remember, your reader doesn’t want a weather report. Typing out a well-written sentence or two is enough you convey what you are trying to say about the weather without letting it drag on. 

However, if the weather is a key point in that scene (like Twister ), make it count. Make the storm seem like an experience your readers won’t forget. This can be made even more powerful by keeping other weather descriptions small. 

Scattering descriptions throughout a scene is a great way to utilize weather without overdoing it. 

  • Your character notices the scorched pines on the evergreen trees. (This could be the sign of an extremely hot summer.)
  • Your character’s hair sticks to the back of their neck. (This is a sign of heat and humidity.)
  • Two characters have a hard time hearing each other over the sound of raindrops. 

Add your weather descriptions in as your characters interact with the world. This will also help if you struggle with telling instead of showing. 

Avoid Clichés or Rework Them

Weather is a great way to convey emotion in a scene but be careful to avoid clichés. We’ve all seen the gloomy funeral rainstorm, the lightning strike just as the hero delivers the final blow, and the cloudless sunny day at the park. 

While these are all fine, they mirror what the character is supposed to be feeling instead of diving into that character’s emotions. So, instead of mirroring, show how the character reacts to the weather. That way, even if you feel drawn to use a cliché weather scene, you have the opportunity to rework it and make it your own. 

For example, if you like the idea of the rainy funeral, maybe your main character smiles as the rain hits her skin because it reminds her of a fond memory of the deceased. This allows you to use that scene while making it a little less cliché and gives your readers more insight into the character. 

Final Thoughts

Using weather is a great way to spice up your writing . It can change moods and propel the story . So don’t be afraid to take advantage of this while you’re creating your world! However, remember that while the weather may have a huge effect , it doesn’t need to be seen too frequently and can easily become boring and overdone.

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WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

Helping writers become bestselling authors

Weather Thesaurus Entry: Mist or Fog

April 27, 2011 by BECCA PUGLISI

WEATHER is an important element in any setting, providing sensory texture and contributing to the mood the writer wishes to create in a scene. With a deft touch, weather can enhance the character’s emotional response to a specific location, it can add conflict, and it can also (lightly) foreshadow coming events.

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).

SENSORY DESCRIPTORS:

Sight:  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…

Smell:  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…

Taste:  No taste, but breath would be moist in nature. It may carry a briny tang if near a water source.

Sound:  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.

Touch:  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…

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS:

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…

Symbolism: Doom, danger, mystery, confusion…

Possible Cliches: Mist and fog used in dreams to imply repressed memory or knowledge…

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.

Weather is a powerful tool, helping to foreshadow events and steer the emotional mood of any scene.

Need more detail regarding this weather element? Good news!  This thesaurus has been integrated into our new online library at  One Stop For Writers . There, not only has the information in each entry been enhanced and expanded, we’ve also added scenarios for  adding conflict and tension.  The entire thesaurus is also cross-referenced with our many other descriptive collections for easy searchability. Registration is  free , so if you’re interested in seeing a sampling of the fully updated Weather and Earthly Phenomenon Thesaurus, head on over to One Stop.

BECCA PUGLISI

Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers —a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.

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Reader Interactions

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April 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm

yay! This is exaclty what I needed right now!

April 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I love me some creepy fog in a book! Even if it’s a bit too direct. 🙂 Awesome, guys!

April 29, 2011 at 7:21 am

I love these settings. It reminds me of Stephen King’s “The Mist,” or the fog movies. Right up my storylines…

April 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm

This is timely, thanks! It also reflects some of our local weather lately. 😛 Happy weekend, Karen

April 28, 2011 at 8:37 am

Awesome job as always. We frequently get early morning fog from the Bow river since it’s not far from my house. It no longer has that cliched eerie feeling. 😉

April 28, 2011 at 8:10 am

I’m loving this thesaurus. Nicely done, Angela.

April 28, 2011 at 6:54 am

A wonderful post. Very in depth and useful.

With mist and fog there is the opportunity to be very cliched. But when used properly it can bring about an amazing atmosphere.

April 28, 2011 at 5:55 am

You guys are awesome. Loved the post. I seldom add the weather, just a mention of a drizzle or cold winds or a sunny day. Your post is tempting me to go more into weather details.

April 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I love cold weather, rain, etc. So I am a big mist/fog fan 🙂

April 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Once again I see what my settings are lacking… a good snow storm, or the gloom of the fog, or the chill of an autumn breeze.

April 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

This entry was very timely! I’ll be using it soon, thanks!

P.S. If a book of mine ever see the light of the day, look for acknowledges there 🙂

– EEV

April 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

We actually had a little fog yesterday morning, a nice momentary respite from the dry.

April 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Such an excellent post! Thanks, girls!

April 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

Girls, I must tell you…I’ve been revising these past few weeks, and when I needed to show emotion a different way, I came here. Truly, you guys are amazing. Thanks for all these amazing posts.

April 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

So many people think weather is a cheap way to set a scene. If it’s used correctly, it works pretty stinkin’ well, though. Awesome post.

And speaking of weather, I wish it would stop raining…*Glares at sky.*

April 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

As always, this is a great post. I could spend all day on your blog and still have so much to learn. I’ve never really thought about weather beyond…setting. Foreshadowing and the actual physicality of it…I can recognize it when I read other’s writing, but I don’t think about putting it into my own so much.

I’m going to have to change that outlook.

April 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

Thanks guys! Whoops, guess I slotted this a day early in one of my pre-cofffee fogs, so I guess that’s appropriate, considering the topic! LOL

April 27, 2011 at 9:43 am

I absolutely love what fog does to sound. The way you can hear a whisper from a hundred yards away as if it were right next to you, and then the next moment you can’t hear your own breath.

April 27, 2011 at 8:58 am

Thanks for this post. You make an important point. I’d call what you’re describing “physical atmosphere,” and it does make a huge difference to acknowledge it in a scene. I find that, besides the foreshadowing you mention, a particular atmosphere can be a great motivator for a character’s behavior. Who isn’t a bit grouchier when it’s hot and humid? http://bit.ly/hS0pEA

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COMMENTS

  1. 101 Words To Describe Weather

    Words To Describe Wet & Cloudy Weather. bank – a large mass of cloud or fog. billow – a cloud that rises and moves in a large mass. blizzard – a snowstorm with very strong winds. cirrocumulus – small round clouds that form lines high in the sky. cirrostratus – a thin layer of cloud found very high in the sky.

  2. How to Use Weather in Creative Writing

    Weather as Setting. When it comes to creative writing, the weather is a crucial part of the setting. It plays a big role in allowing the reader to immerse themselves into the world you are creating. For example, imagine that a town was described by a character as “wet and dreary 365 days a year.”. Now imagine that the writer only gave ...

  3. Weather Thesaurus Entry: Mist or Fog

    WEATHER is an important element in any setting, providing sensory texture and contributing to the mood the writer wishes to create in a scene. With a deft touch, weather can enhance the character’s emotional response to a specific location, it can add conflict, and it can also (lightly) foreshadow coming events. However, caution must accompany […]