The Triple F Strategy I’ve Been Preaching For (Almost) Years…

How’s your week been? Mine went well. More editing and writing to do (well, blogging anyway). I want to try to still stick to three times per week, as best I can.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

For those of you who’ve been around, you know that one of the best ways I tell you to get writing ideas is to use the Sunday paper. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can catch up: How the Sunday Paper Makes You a Better Writer. Way back in January of 2014 I let that post go.

Well, after all this jabbering about it, I finally decided to put my pixels where my mouth is (that sounded so much better in my head), and finally DO IT.

Right here, right now.

Your post for Fabulous Fiction Friday, aka Triple F, will be:

Later on (5 letters); Scheduled mtg, 4 letters. They have one letter in common. Now what happens?

I could also give you the solution that I have, which would make it easier, and better to spin ideas with (and even more if I got the answers totally wrong).

I’ve got AFTER for the first clue, and APPT (appointment, I think), for the second.

Here’s the cool part–and we haven’t even got to the fiction yet. Using one clue from this puzzle, we start with 140 possibilities of starter words for a story, character, plot, or what-have-ya (67 across clues, 73 down clues).

My math may be a bit off, but since we’re using two at a time here, if repetition isn’t permitted (no repeating of clues), we might have to do 140 * 139 = 19,460. This is just for ONE puzzle. Each crossword section in my Sunday paper has three puzzles (not all the same length or difficulty), and I have a backlog of about 20 papers to pick from, with one more coming in every week.

Okay, so for one puzzle, with one clue, 140 weeks is roughly equivalent to two years and seven months, or what-have-ya. So with all the papers I have in reserve, with more every week, I could probably do this until I’m 90, at least, and still have more papers left over, since just one paper would cover almost three years of prompts (more if we take the other two puzzles per paper into account).

But if we two clues at a time, with the 140 * 139 = 19,460, with one prompt per week, we have prompts for almost 375 years. I didn’t do the factorial version (140!) because I don’t think that applies here. We’re taking things two at a time, not putting them in a group one at a time. 140! would end up being 1.34 times 10 to the 241st power.

Prompts for 375 years would line up my heirs for five generations, at least, to do this prompt deal, maybe ten generations. From one puzzle. And I’m pretty sure after quadrillion (12 zeroes after 1,000) most people who aren’t science or math geeks stop counting.


All right, all right. This is about writing, not math. But I had to think of the enormity of the whole enchilada myself before writing about it, right?


After, and appointment. Fiction. Hmm…

Well, we’ve got no character and no setting, we’d have to pick those.

Male character? Female? Female robot with lizard pet? I didn’t say the main character had to be the only one, which just multiplies the ideas here to a ridiculous degree.

How about a setting? A mall? The moon? Sun? Space station? A dog park?

The only piece we have here is the plot–two words. After and appointment.

Does the appointment come first, or second, in the sequence of the story? After an appointment, character does X? Or after character does X, Y appointment comes?

What is the appointment for? Cancer screening? Lunch? Dinner? An interview? A dinner interview for an experienced screening tech? It’s up to you.

As far as what comes after/before the appointment, that’s part of the plot too. We could have almost anything:

Woman gets business suit splashed with mud before interview, and after she has to go on a date, and is having a meltdown

Man goes to interview and gets mugged by aliens afterward, who need leather to rebuild their craft and get back home because they think Earth is full of snobs because they asked for leather previously and didn’t get it

Robot dog has appointment for a tune-up and saves his owner from the mutated table in the exam room, and a corrupt doctor

And on and on we could (and should!) go.

But you’ll have to do that one yourself, okay?

Make it a good weekend with great memories, all right?

Until next time, (and week),



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
This entry was posted in Fab Friday Prompts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.