Interview

Episode 260 – Mood, Atmosphere, and Worldbuilding with Joshua Essoe

Mark interviews editor Joshua Essoe about the elements of atmosphere, mood, and world-building.

Prior to the main segment, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word about this episode’s sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at starkreflections.ca/Findaway.

In their conversation, Mark and Joshua talk about:

  • How Joshua got into being an editor twelve years ago
  • The limitation of only being able to work 1:1 with so many clients at a time and how that led to Joshua deciding to release books (Essoe’s Guides to Writing) to assist writers with some of his knowledge/experience
  • The way Joshua divides up a typical day of work, which involves a lot of burning the midnight oil
  • Joshua’s unique way of combining two subjects into a single double-sided flip book as a special Kickstarter exclusive project
  • The first flip book – Action Sequences / Sex Scenes
  • The second flip book – Worldbuilding / Mood & Atmosphere
  • The problem with trying to release a flip-book format in the traditional print book market. (Where does the bar code that’s supposed to be on the “back” of the book go?)
  • Original artwork from James A. Owen that is part of these books, and this special Kickstarter project
  • The 6 major areas where writers usually have issues in Worldbuilding, including Info-dumping, which is also broken down into 6 types:
    • world-building info dump
    • the back-story info dump
    • the technical info dump
    • dialogue info dump
    • thought info dump
    • emotion info dump
  • How Kevin J. Anderson does a great job of setting up his world in the first several pages of the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. novels
  • Three big things that you need to do in your world-building: broadening it, deepening it, and involving it
  • How writers need to shackle their impulse to share too many details about their world all at once to readers
  • A discussion of Tolkien’s world-building, which involved a combination of intriguing teaser moments, but also some longer segments of info-dumping
  • What are we talking about when we’re talking about Mood and Atmosphere?
  • How there aren’t that many books in existence on the topic of mood and atmosphere
  • The way that every aspect of your writing that can contribute to mood
  • How atmosphere is a part of mood, but is a big enough element that it can be understood and explored on its own
  • An excellent example of atmosphere from A Wrinkle in Time
  • How you want to be purposeful when creating and sharing mood in your writing
  • Some of the rewards that are going to be available in Joshua’s Kickstarter
  • And more…

After the interview, Mark reflects on a couple of things from the discussion.

Links of Interest:


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 

2 thoughts on “Episode 260 – Mood, Atmosphere, and Worldbuilding with Joshua Essoe”

  1. The point about stifling the impulse to throw in everything you can to world build came at a perfect time for me. I’m revising a cold case mystery where the main character needs to solve 2 murders that occurred in the mid-1980s. One of the victims was her sister, killed before the main character was born. There’s so much I could include about the character’s family history and the world of the 80s. But it doesn’t all need to be there. I’m going to repeat “stifle the impulse, stifle the impulse” as I revise.

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