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Dark Clouds are Gathering. Can you Weather the Storm?

Some pretty ugly weather rolled across the U.S. yesterday and overnight. We caught some of it where I live, though other parts of the country fared much worse. Bright flashes of lighting filled our living room, and great cracks and booms shook the house. You couldn’t see the rain in the pitch dark outside, but you could hear it beating against the siding and roof. The weather alerts were sounding from my phone every 5 minutes, sending my anxiety levels up a few notches each time, and my 6-year-old was squeezing the life out of my arm as we sat on the couch together. We live in a modern, sturdy house—something book characters don’t always have, particularly those living in a medieval or other historical-type era where the weather’s benevolence is crucial to survival. 

As I sat there in a comfortable well-lit room, with the lull of the T.V. to distract me from the tempest outside, I was reminded how weather can play a significant role in a story, or even become a character in itself.  It can set the mood for a single scene, or shape the entire plot.  Weather can grow crops, or destroy them, it can fill sails or sink ships, level homes, and flood streets.  Its temperature extremes are sometimes deadly.  Long periods of unchanging weather can affect the mental states of those subject to its effects. For those characters out on the road, the weather can give them an easy-going, pleasant journey or an uncomfortable, and even dangerous one. If a fictional society is largely agrarian, bad weather has the power to completely destroy it—no armies needed—by bringing about starvation and sickness.  In a time before radar and weather apps, sudden changes in weather would no doubt have been mysterious and alarming to the average person. By the time they knew bad weather was coming, there wasn’t much time to prepare.

Do you have a favorite book in which weather plays a significant role? If you’re a writer, how do you handle weather in your own stories? Is it something that just lurks in the background, rarely seen, or are your characters keenly aware of its impact on daily life? Have you ever written a story in which the weather actually took on the role of a character?

Fun Facts
Writers and movie makers love to show medieval people eating hearty stews full of meat and potatoes. However, potatoes were not native to Europe, but to South America. In fact, even when they were first brought back by Spanish explorers in the 1500s, they remained nothing but a botanical curiosity for decades after. This small, lumpy tuber didn't become a dietary staple until the late 1700s. Why did the potato's acceptance take so long, despite its nutritive value?

One explanation is that the potato, Bittersweet, and Nightshade are all members of the same family. Medieval and Renaissance era herbalists would have immediately recognized its resemblance to these other poisonous plants, and assumed that it was poisonous as well.

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Can your emotions sabotage good self-editing?

Good editing takes calm, focus, and a rational, objective state of mind. Editing when you are tired, stressed, emotional, distracted, rushed, or otherwise mentally impaired can greatly affect what you find, the changes you make, and how you feel about your work as a whole. 

If you are feeling overly critical toward your piece, set it aside for another day so that you don’t get discouraged, or get a second opinion from someone you trust to be honest with you.  Your critical mood might be a reflection of something else going on in your life, and not related to your writing at all.
Get inspired by Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing!

Night has fallen on the old quarter of the city. Far in the distance a castle rises up to meet the moon; two equally unattainable destinations. This is, after all, the poor quarter, and I am not here by chance. Only the brazen and the rats–including the worst of human vermin–dare to emerge at night. Or the desperate, like myself. I watch the guards as they pass below, crossbows raised and ready. They’re always on edge during night patrol; a state that often leaves behind tragic consequences. I hope not to be one of them, though I am as like to find one of their arrows in my back as I am the dagger of a thief. But travel I must, to someplace far beyond this hell. Beyond even that castle in the distance. A new life, a new destiny awaits me out there, if I can but escape. There are many who would keep me here by force if they had any suspicions about my flight. I must elude them all...

"Night Over the Poor District" by ortsmor

Click the images below to grab some free books for the weekend. There are lots to chose from!
Learn More About the Weekly Fantasy Fix Authors!
Joshua Robertson is a dark fantasy author who enjoys challenging the concept of good and evil.

His bestselling novel, Melkorka, is one of three books currently available in the Thrice Nine Legends saga. 

Click to learn more about Joshua...
Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history.  Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes. The first book, Journey to Aviad, is now free in ebook format everywhere.

Listen to a live interview with Allison!
Renee Scattergood writes Dark fantasy and is currently publishing a serial called, Shadow Stalker. She is also working on the first novel in her series, A God's Deception. The first novel in the series is due out late 2016 or early 2017.

Read more about Renee.
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