A few weeks ago, our whole family was napping (we nap all day Sundays usually). I woke up with the most crystal clear vision of a story about an issue that had been haunting me for months. What if all of these data breaches you have been hearing on the news are just a rehearsal for a massive, systemwide attack? If all of our credit cards, ATM’s, online banking got taken down (easy to do if they can get into Sony, Home Depot, IRS, Target, Starbucks, Apple, Yahoo – the list goes on forever), then wouldn’t the U.S. be an easy country to capture?
That was the little seed that started to grow in my head. I kept thinking, what a great story, and what a topic of conversation. If there was a monetary panic, everybody would loot the stores. The stores wouldn’t restock, just to get looted again, and there goes the food supply. Just do a dress rehearsal in your head (like the hackers probably are) and imagine your world where your credit cards and cash don’t work anymore. Remember that today is tomorrow’s yesterday, and think of survival tactics.
That’s kind of where my head was. Should I write a long blog post about this possibility? Should I do a podcast about it? I just want as many people as possible to at least think and prepare for something like this. We are very vulnerable.
In the case of a fiction work, or a movie, we have to see the situation through the eyes of characters. How do you do that in a big event? How would you write a fiction piece about 9/11? From the perspective of one of the pilots taken over in the cockpit? From the mind of a child who lost his dad as a firefighter? So many different ways to tell a story, but has to be done through characters. That Sunday morning, I woke up and it all came flying into my head.
I was so lucky to have Sidney Sheldon (one of the best selling fiction writers of all time with over 300 million books sold) as a mentor. One day he pulled me into his office and taught me how to write a story. (I think he was bored that day). I watched him tell his daughter’s wedding photographer how to diagram character relationships against a timeline so that you can create an awesome timeline. It was fascinating. I had no idea what I was going to do with this priceless information because I had no intent – ever – of writing fiction.
When I started wedding photography, I never intended to do that either!