Tuesday, May 19, 2020

3T Writing Tidbit

This one is from Bruce Campbell, in his autobiography Hail to the Chin, which is excellent reading (see below if you're interested in checking it out). He gives us the essence of story structure in brilliantly clear language.

A story can be separated into three pieces (the Three Act structure).

I Introduce the problem
II Confront the problem
III Solve the problem

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Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

photo credit: Monaka & Laptop via photopin (license)
The Strange Places Ideas Come From--originally posted August 17, 2016.

My husband is in IT, running his own data center. He often brings work home, but he loves his job, and I'm happy he's happy—and besides, bringing work home is better than his having to groggily drive out in the middle of the night, which was true of one of his other jobs (I always sent a shot-gunner along to keep him awake in the form of myself or one of our kids, and an extra $20 for coffee, lol).

The thing is, for his current job, sometimes it's not just clients calling. Sometimes the computers call.

Strictly speaking, the servers on the computers that call. Problem is, he's got things set up to send an alert to his phone when a server is in trouble. Whatever time, day or night. Which leads to a story.

Now most times, his phone chirps with a minor problem. We wake up, but after a check, manage to go back to sleep.

Sometimes things get a little crazier.

The second weekend in March is Daylight Savings Time in the Midwest, where we set our clocks forward an hour, and two in the morning becomes three. One of the things the servers check for is power outages, based on--you guessed it--time. If the computer clock is missing so much as five seconds, it sends an alarm.

The phone alarm is a quick whallow-whoop, a small sound, but it can herald huge problems, like the data center crashing. Like a baby's whimper, it doesn't take long for that sound to auto-trigger a flood of stomach acid.

So at three-oh-one a.m. that Sunday, hubby's phone, laying on his nightstand, went crazy. Error-error-error-error...every few seconds it would throw another alarm. Whallow-whoop. Whallow-whoop. It was not a restful night, lol.

The time change is a really great example of how computers think differently than humans. People, faced with Daylight Savings Time, well, we might wake up an hour late and realize we're late for or missed a meeting or church or work. And we say, "Darn, I'm late," and let it go at that. Maybe we grumble a bit and there's fallout and we take care of it.

But computers...they're like dogs, in a way. They'll check the time and cry, "I'm late!" A second later they'll check the time and cry, "I'm still late!" And a second later, "Still late!" ad infinitum, that is FOREVER. Each with equal fervor, as if it's brand new.

Wouldn't that make an awesome story? A human and robot, either partners or in competition, and the human is rubbish at everything compared to the robot until they're in a situation like this?

Seeing the ordinary from a new angle is one place ideas come from.

What about you? Where do your ideas come from?

Less than one week to Mind Mates release and virtual tour! Much giveaway goodness and blog fun.

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Pretty little shifter, wizard prince—their taboo love could burn the barriers between worlds.

When a powerful wizard prince comes out of hiding to save his sister, he is forced to team with a pretty shifter—one with dangerous powers of her own. With vengeful enemies close behind, and forbidden attraction flaming between them, the two must race to find a mysterious key.