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In the Third Act, the Hero Looses Everything

No Mister Bond, I expect you to die.

J Alex Morrissey
July 10, 2022

Hello Friends,

There’s that moment in a well-crafted story when our concern that our protagonist won’t overcome the forces working against them grows into a giant problem and we think it’s all over. The bad guy kidnaps the hero's friend, the enemy makes the protagonist public enemy number with a fake story, or the vehicle breaks-down and now the team will never make it to the end in time. Well, I think I hit the third act.

This week, fueled by that bubble of excitement in my gut when I’m on to something, I charged out of the gate. Then on Wednesday morning an alert appeared on my screen, “You’re almost out of hard-drive space!” (I paraphrase) My computer is pretty organized, so there are few duplicate files and I don’t download random stuff. After a quick assessment I see the number indicating the remaining twenty gigabytes l available on my computer is counting down like a time bomb, and in some way that’s exactly what it is.

So it seems I’m at that third-act point in this particular story

I realized something was writing data onto my hard drive, but when I shut off the WiFi it stops. No access to the internet negatively impacts my ability to work. So I spend the next day backing up every vital bit of data onto remote drives, in case of a catastrophic event. I free up a bunch of disk space and unexpectedly the countdown slows to a crawl. Maybe I can make it to the end of the Write-a-thon? I continue to research and write, then on Saturday I see the number is much lower and the countdown speed has increased. So I spent the last twenty-four hours making more space and finally accepted that I need to drop the computer off for service.

Exactly what I need to do in the middle of the Write-a-thon, especially when I host a weekly Zoom writing session for Clarion West. Tonight I’ll drag my old tower computer up from the basement to carry me through the week.

On a good note, I moved past the 10K word-count and had some exciting breakthroughs for Ghost Fleet this week! It’s these “ah ha” moments in a book that I love to lock into and drag my poor characters through. And before you side with them and sign a petition to ensure their safety, they signed up for all of this by appearing in my imagination—so it’s on them. Also, this week’s writing session was fantastic. There were over 20 attendees and more than half turned their cameras on. That may not sound like a big deal, but talking to a grid of black rectangles made me feel a bit like a mad man. I was more comfortable and engaged seeing the attendees smile with that look of accomplishment from writing their story draft. While I love raising money for Clarion West, contributing in this fashion buoys my spirit. Maybe that’s why my productivity increased this week?

Of course, please consider a donation to Clarion West in my name before you stuff yourself full of grilled meats. With your help we can make this a record fundraising drive for an amazing organization dedicated to supporting underserved voices in speculative fiction.

For those of you who have donated, look for a link to your bonus chapters from Blackfire this week. But there’s more! We’re only a few donations away from $500 and sending me to the drawing board. So if some of you want to see character drawings from Ghost Fleet, please spread the word, or donate.

Donate Now

Finally, once the laptop is happy, I should have outfoxed the baddies and be back in the swing of things. Not-to-mention recording new episodes of the Big Story Podcast.

I hope you have an amazing week and accomplish everything you set out to.

All the best,