WEATHER AND EARTHLY PHENOMENON THESAURUS

MOONLIGHT



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HELPFUL TIP:

Don’t be afraid to pair weather conditions with your setting choice to contrast or reinforce a character’s emotions. Hopelessness might be mirrored in the relentless drizzle of rain and the resulting heavy drag of one’s clothes; alternatively, this feeling can stand out in stark contrast to sunlight dancing over fresh snow. Can weather also provide symbolism, thereby enriching the reader’s experience? Think about your goal for the scene and the mood you are trying to create, and then layer your description with meaningful choices.
SIGHT:
Moonlight casts a soft white glow on reflective surfaces and often provides just enough light to reveal the general shape of structures in one's surroundings. The phase of the moon and the amount of cloud cover will dictate how much light the moon gives off and how well a person can see. When the moon is full and the sky is free of clouds, enough light is present to enable people to see quite a distance. Objects that are light in color can almost appear to glow or take on a bluish hue (like fresh snowfall) as light and shadow mix. Cloud cover or fog can obscure the moon in a haze or make it appear to have a halo of light around it. Occasionally the moon is visible during daylight hours, though any light the moon gives off will be dimmed by sunlight.

TEXTURES AND SENSATIONS:
Moonlight has no texture. While some liken it to being a "cold" light, this is due to the cool night air or the light's white-blue color; it isn't a quality of the moonlight itself.

SOUNDS:
Moonlight produces no sound. And on a mythical note, it is false that wolves howl specifically at the moon. However, wolves and other canines are nocturnal, so hearing yips and howls at night is a common occurrence in the appropriate geographical areas.

REINFORCING A MOOD:
    A common trope of moonlight in fiction and movies is that it represents danger and subterfuge. This idea is reinforced because, in the evening hours, shadows form and predators come out to hunt. Out of necessity, moonlight is always paired with night and shadow.
    An air of forbidden energy that creates mystery and intrigue is also often associated with moonlight. Human sleep cycles occur during this time, so to be active in moonlight goes against the natural order dictated by society. When one sees a character skulking about in the moonlight, one can't help but wonder what he's up to.

SYMBOLISM:
FORBIDDEN LOVE, FREEDOM, PURITY, FERTILITY, THE EBB AND FLOW OF EMOTION, ROMANCE

COMMON CLICHÉS:
Connecting wolves or werewolves to the moon and moonlight
Virgins being stolen away in the moonlight
Lovers meeting in the moonlight for a forbidden tryst

WEATHER NOTES:
Moonlight appears stronger in winter because of the snow’s ability to reflect it.

SCENARIOS FOR ADDING CONFLICT OR TENSION:
  • Moonlight offers mobility but it also increases the chances that one might be seen, which could add complications or hamper one's goals
  • Conversely, dim moonlight can frustrate a character's attempts to find something that is desperately needed
  • Sun-sensitive skin conditions are fairly common; why not create a scenario where moonlight has the power to harm or disable?