Archive for the ‘Story Bits’ Category


Story Bits for 9/7/2008 – Bubble Wrap Cryptography

September 7, 2008

What if coded messages were exchanged via bubblewrap, and the message was encoded in the bubbles that were pre-popped?  Might not make for a very resilient communication medium, but it might be funny for a children’s story.


Story Bits for 8/30/2008 – Mining our Foundation

August 30, 2008

John Scalzi tells the story in his post titled “The Big Idea: Tobias Buckell” of how Buckell came to the setting for his recent novel “Sly Mongoose” – a planet called Chilo.  Chilo is a world modeled after Venus, where air suitable for humans is actually a lifting gas, which means airships and floating cities are all the rage.  It sounds a little like Cloud City in the Star Wars universe.

In Star Wars, the economy was focused around gas mining.  For today’s Story Bits, imagine a world like Chilo or Cloud City, and over the decades the gases that have been holding the cities up have been so overly mined that they are threatening the overall stability.  Could the city residents mine the “unbreathable” gases steadily enough to eventually drop their cities to the surface (essentially terraforming the atmosphere)?  Would they have periods when atmospheric conditions throw the cities around like corks in the ocean during a storm?  Is there something on the planet’s surface that the government is trying to keep hidden, and the mining is threatening to reveal it?


Story Bits for 6/28/2008 – Water as Protection

June 28, 2008

Plot Point: a malicious high-frequency signal that turns people into zombies/vegetables/drones, but is stopped by water.  Water would absorb enough of the signal to nullify it.  Most of the population falls prey to this signal, but a small handful of people escape its effects.  That handful eventually realize what they were all doing at the time the signal was first sent out – bathing, swimming, etc. – all things that involve being surrounded by water.  To defend themselves from future transmissions, they construct houses which have an outer wall filled with water.


And yes, this idea did, in fact, come to me in the shower this morning.


"Best Posts" becomes "Story Bits"

June 22, 2008

I’ve decided that the “Best Posts” series I’ve been running for several months now needs to evolve into something more relevant to MetaWriting.  I know I am not alone in the quest for ideas for new stories.  To that end, I’m starting a new series called “Story Bits” where interesting items on the Web become interesting plot details, character bios, settings, and other bits of a story.

Why am I doing this?  As a software developer I find myself frequently searching the Web looking for a snippet of code that performs a certain task.  Those snippets are virtually always free.  On my technical blog, I try to extend the same courtesy to other developers with my code snippets.  In this way, the development community as a whole improves and builds on itself.  I see the same need in the writing community.  I’ve consumed ideas from dozens of bloggers and hundreds of posts, and now, I’d like to contribute something back that is regular, fresh, and hopefully provides you with the seed of a new story.


  • TechEBlog had an article Friday showing an artist’s conception of a new ship planned by Royal Caribbean, which they claim will be the world’s largest.  I think this would be a cool setting; it’s not so much a cruise ship but a small floating city.
  • Another article on TechEBlog on Friday has a computer simulation of a new “smart train” that allows people to board and alight without the train ever slowing down, let alone stopping.  This could make for a cool vehicle for a story (pun intended), especially if the train was interstellar where slowing down would cost fuel.