Difference Between Mood and Atmosphere

Mood vs Atmosphere

When you read a piece of writing, you often decipher certain aspects or elements that tell you a lot about the mind of the writer and the ambience he is trying to create. There are many terms doing rounds to refer to these elements in a piece of creative writing such as tone, mood, atmosphere, voice etc. While tone is the attitude of the author that is expressed in the entire piece of writing, such as suspense or thrill, it is atmosphere and mood that create confusion in the minds of the readers. There are many who feel these elements to be same or synonymous because of their similarities. However, there are differences between mood and atmosphere that will be talked about in this article.


How you start to feel after reading a piece of creative writing is the mood of the piece and may or may not be the same as the tone of the writing. In fact, mood is not the same overall, and a writer can induce changes in the mood of the reader at different places in a piece of writing through various techniques. For example, he can make you feel sad and depressed with the passing away of an important character inside the story, but he can change the mood suddenly when he makes you learn about an appearance of a long lost friend of the central character. The mood of the reader swings up and down with the moods of the central characters that the author portrays inside the piece of writing.


The term atmosphere remains ambiguous, and there is no universal definition of this term relating to a creative piece of writing. There are many who feel that the atmosphere of a piece of writing is the result of both the tone and the mood created by the author. There are also many who feel that atmosphere is the emotions and feelings created in the mind of the reader as a result of the events inside the story. It is like getting into the heads of the characters and understanding their feelings.

What is the difference between Mood and Atmosphere?

From the above explanations, it seems that mood and atmosphere are very similar to each other. They are, but whereas mood is more direct, atmosphere gets created in an indirect manner. There are people for whom mood and atmosphere are like the proverbial chicken and egg with atmosphere creating the mood for some while the majority of readers feel that it is the mood that creates the atmosphere. Mood is created with the help of settings, events in the story, and above all the attitude of the author. The atmosphere is deciphered by the reader on the basis of this mood.