In two earlier posts, I mentioned a few things about creating atmosphere in a story. This time, I’ll rely on the actual atmosphere for a bit of inspiration. Nature’s wonders have inspired countless artists, not to mention put the fear of the supernatural into any number of sailors. A sky like this might just do the trick.
My wife and I had just finished dinner and were going for a walk. Not two steps outside the house, she pointed at the moon and said, “Look at that.” Indeed, check out that hazy moon, rising over the sunset. The colors of the setting sun, cast upon the clouds provide brilliant color that is contrasted by the silhouetted palm trees. This is a technicolor backdrop for any scene, tropical or not. This one happens to be in Aruba, but it might just as easily been taken on the high plains. Some day I would like to go to far northern Alaska or Canada, a place where I can see the northern lights. Now there is atmosphere (BIG-TIME), the embodiment of the interaction between the sun and the earth. If that doesn’t pop a few goose bumps I’m not sure what will. And then, after seeing these kind of natural phenomena, the mind has to be ready to incorporate them into a good story. Various belief systems have passed down through the generations the idea that the sky portends things to come. This may or may not be true. Do the stars predict the future? Do they reveal the past? I don’t know, but it’s a fantastic story convention to use such things. Perhaps there is a deep memory buried in human DNA that tells our minds to believe such things. Or, maybe it is true and you just have to be sensitive to the omens. Here’s another sky, this one taken just after dawn.
This is another after-the-storm shot. The clouds are breaking up, blue sky peeking through, sunlight poking out. Normally we think of sunlight shining “down.” However, here, the rays appear to be shooting up. Different.
Whether you’re a storyteller or not, it’s one of life’s pleasures to check out the sky from time to time. Don’t be afraid to look up, or down for that matter. It may not be doom you find. It could be a sign of good things to come. You simply have to be ready for whatever may come your way.