If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.al carriers’ motto is about:
In the 1890s the architectural firm designing the New York City General Post Office decided to add Herodotus’s saying all around the outside of the building. The United States Postal Service, however, does not have a slogan, which might explain why you don’t get mail on rainy days.
Anyway, in this episode, we are talking about incorporating weather into your writing.
The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s grab a table and I’ll fill you in on some publishing news.amiliar with John Grisham’s:
Forbes Advisor has taken a look at data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Google search trends and concluded that bookstores are the most recession-proof business in 2023. “Bookstores saw the biggest increase in the number of businesses during the latter part of the pandemic. Coupled with a moderate startup cost, bookstores also enjoyed steady wage growth during both the Great Recession…and the latter part of the pandemic.”
Simon and Schuster is offering a new program called the Advance Reader’s Club. Their goal is to offer free advanced copies of books to people not in the publishing industry. The Advance Reader’s Club will be “an intimate reading community organized to provide readers with early access to future bestselling and award-winning titles acquired, edited, and published by Simon and Schuster senior editor, Yahdon Israel.”
You have to be in the United States to participate, and not all who apply to the club will be selected to be a member, but I bet they’d pick you. Gift #1 this episode is a link to sign up for the club.
Gift #2 is a video of Yahdon Israel discussing book deals and book proposals. This video is an hour and twenty-four minutes long, so it’s definitely longer than a writing break. However, it’s up-to-date, essential information from someone acquiring books that range from 35,000 to over 400,00 dollars. I highly recommend making the time to watch it. It is a lot of candid, insider information you do not normally get from an acquisitions editor at a Big 5 publishing house. He might unintentionally convince you to self-publish.
Those gift links and links to all of these stories can be found in the show notes of this episode and on writingbreak.com.
Let’s rest a moment on the Overthinking Couch to discuss my frequent quote and end quotes.
One listener asked why I always say quote and end quote instead of just moving forward like they do in audiobooks and letting the readers figure it out. Good question. The answer is training. I used to record textbooks for students who were blind or visually impaired, and that’s how I was taught to do it. Fun fact, I would also have to describe graphs and images. The center where I volunteered lost funding some time back, but there is still a need for readers across the country, and a lot more recording can be done remotely now. There might be a center near you where you can volunteer to record materials for people in your community who are blind or visually impaired. Just ask Google.
And now, grab your stuff, we are taking a trip to an independent bookstore, and this one is perfect for rainy days.cond-hand books. It opened in:
The Space Between Dark and Light by Jan Krause Greene is a climate change sci-fi story that definitely has weather in the book.
“Joe Geist is desperate. His brother Jared has vanished, and Joe, usually a roll-with-the-punches type, begins a frantic quest to uncover his missing brother's fate.…One hundred years after Jared disappears, civil society is collapsing in the wake of environmental devastation. Seven-year-old George escapes when marauders invade his home. The next morning, convinced his sister has fled to safety, he sets out to find her. Set in the present and the future, these two separate stories unfold until an astonishing revelation connects them. Written from the viewpoint of multiple characters, at its heart lies the metaphysical question, ‘Can the future redeem the past?’”
The Space Between Dark and Light is available in ebook and paperback formats. OK, so we know this book mentions the weather, but does yours? Let’s settle in for today’s writing tip where we’ll discuss just how important weather is in a book.
Many early drafts of books that cross my desk do not mention the weather. Yet we know that the weather is a powerful force in our lives, and it can have a profound impact on our stories. Weather can be symbolic or ironic, and it can also serve as foreshadowing, which is one of my favorite literary devices. Here are the three main ways I think weather enhances a story:
Weather can set the mood. A dark and stormy night creates a sense of foreboding or danger, and a long drought creates tension. You can also juxtapose the weather to what’s happening in the book, which can then give us information about the character’s mood. For example, a bright and sunny day can evoke feelings of happiness and hope, but if it’s bright and sunny during a funeral that might give you a chance to tell us that your protagonist is feeling out of place in the world or like things aren’t fair for them at the moment.
Weather can drive the plot. Weather raises the stakes in our own lives. Why wouldn’t it do the same in your book? For example, a natural disaster can force characters to evacuate their homes. A snowstorm might slow down a character who is trying to escape from a pursuer, and a character who is trying to find their way in the wilderness might get lost in a fog.
Weather can add realism. This is the main reason weather should be mentioned in your story. It makes stories feel more realistic and more complete when it is included. Of course, it’s important not to end up writing purple prose. Do not overdo it. At the same time, don’t make it read like a weather report (unless that fits the story). Even if you’re talking about a story taking place in a climate-controlled environment, that’s important to mention. Clarifying that your characters never see daylight and never feel the wind helps readers get into the world that you’re building.
If you're not already including the weather in your writing, I encourage you to give it a try this week.
Next week we’ll be figuring out if your characters have the right names. Until then, thanks for listening, and as always, you deserved this break.
If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at email@example.com.
Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.
Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.