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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > January 2018 > In The Mood

In The Mood

Helen M Walters looks at the way Ambrose Bierce uses weather to create mood and atmosphere in Beyond the Wall


In this month’s masterclass I want to highlight how aspects of the environment can be used to create atmosphere and mood in a story. Beyond The Wall by Ambrose Bierce demonstrates how reference to the weather and other natural conditions can accentuate the plot of a story and help to create a response in the reader. By using these references, the author prepares the reader for what sort of story they are going to get. In this case – downbeat, slightly spooky and ending badly. As always, you will benefit most from this masterclass by reading the story for yourself, at The Wall is a tale of an unnamed narrator visiting an old friend, Mohun Dampier, and finding him much changed in the years since they last met. The narrator first tells us that he is travelling back home from Hong Kong to New York and has stopped off in San Francisco. This provides the broad sense of place and context in which the story unfolds, that of a Californian winter.

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About Writing Magazine

In this month's issue, we show you ten ways to improve your writing right now, and look at how to impress an editor and get your feature articles accepted. This month's star interview is crime bestseller and Rizzoli and Isles creator Tess Gerritsen, who opens her casebook to discuss murder, medicine and false memory. When you've polished your work and got it ready to submit, check out the Writers' News pages – packed with opportunities to get into print and competitions to enter, with £54,762 in writing prizes to be won.

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