Finally got the ATTiny85 to read a rotary encoder, play a tone, and respond to I2C requests all at once.

How to Begin a Novel

Here’s a short survey of the techniques good books use to start. It’s by no means an exhaustive list or even a prescriptive one, but it could help those looking for a little inspiration.

  • Trepidation in style — If the novel is part thriller or horror with an unreliable narrator, make the reader uncertain of their sanity or authenticity. Example: Gone Girl
  • Myopic fascination — Focus on something innocuous and incredibly defined, yet something that isn’t normally discussed, like the design of water slides. Tie the discussion into the plot. Example: The Sun Also Rises (boxing), and yes, Gone Girl (the back of his wife’s head)
  • Anecdote or Aside — Write a short story featuring once-and-done characters that gets going quickly and creates a mystery, leading the reader into the main plot. Note that this is especially effective to smooth what would otherwise be a long build-up (Crichton does this a lot!). Examples: Game of Thrones, Foundation, Jurrasic Park, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (two anecdotes!)
  • Dialogue — Start with a quick back-and-forth between two characters, discussing a major upcoming event or person in your world. Example: Ender’s Game
Began drawing the reservoir and its features. Behold Café Gusev!
(still a W-I-P)

Mycelium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Fungi are essential for converting biomass into compost."

Myco-heterotrophy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Myco-heterotrophy is a symbiotic relationship between certain kinds of plants and fungi, in which the plant gets all or part of its food from parasitism upon fungi rather than from photosynthesis."

Monotropastrum humile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"It is almost lacking in chlorophyll and therefore is unable to photosynthesise as most plants do; instead it gains sugars and nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi."

Mycorrhiza - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fungi help certain plants to grow.

Ericaceae - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The family is largely composed of plants that can tolerate acidic, infertile conditions.

The best part about Unity: web deployment! :)

The Hand-Off

In reading Crichton’s _Jurassic Park_, I noticed an interesting trend in his style that can be traced back to The Andromeda Strain. I call this “the hand-off.”

Like in football, a hand-off is when one person passes another the ball, or in this case, a general object of interest. In Crichton novels, especially in the beginning, characters are often introduced by way of hand-off: one character is the POV and discovers, refers to, or sends something (or someone), and the next chapter is from the POV of a character to whom this object of interest was passed (or is the OOI themselves!).

This keeps the perspective fresh (viewing a Dino from the eyes of a child is not the same as a mathematician) and broad (objects could be transported thousands of miles away; or the author could instigate some dramatic irony by revealing more than one character knows; indeed Crichton often does this — where key players beat around the bush — but obscures their secret plot with careful word choice, for example, they refer to dinosaurs as “species” and hint at accidents but never say their cause).

I’ve noticed the hand-off to be especially effective at moving the plot forward and keeping reader interest: while one character may be stagnating, others are not, and so the focus shifts to where the action is happening.