Setting -- London, present day.
The protagonist is a woman who is a programmer -- or something in IT that allows her at least some of the relevant knowledge. She -- you know how it is -- finds herself saddled with a demon.
First, more about the plot: The demon likes her, and means her no harm, but does tend to harm other people in her life if it doesn't approve of them. She becomes increasingly desperate to control it, especially when she falls in love and wants to get married. Attempting to mimic spells by the person who sent her the demon in the first place doesn't work, so eventually she devises a vast computer programme for the demon to live in. I don't know if this would resemble a computer game (without the graphics or any normal user interface system) but the idea is that the programme is like a huge palace -- or a city or even a planet -- it's a very complex SPACE, full of intricacies anyway, that she's built. The demon isn't trapped in it, but so long as it accepts the programme as a kind of tribute, it stays there voluntarily. The woman knows she's going to have to spend the rest of her life keeping the computer with the programme on it running and tinkering with it to keep it interesting and make sure it doesn't break down. And her husband will be living under a Bluebeard's Wife type proscription of "Darling, YOU MUST NEVER TOUCH THE COMPUTER I LEAVE RUNNING IN THE GARAGE", and we all know what tends to happen with those...
So -- first of all, I wondered if you had any ideas what this woman's job might be? I want her to be having real difficulties at the beginning of the story, preferably unemployed, so it can't be something that's in such high demand at the moment that she's recession-proof. I need her to know enough, from professional experience -- to be able to make the programme at the end, but it would be best if that doesn't replicate her day-to-day work too exactly. It could be that she would *like* to be in computer games and has the knowledge, but is doing something more ordinary for the time being.
Secondly -- what are your thoughts on the demon-containing programme? Does it sound possible (well, you know what I mean)? How would one go about creating such a thing? What would she need to make it big and complex enough? Would it need any kind of access to the internet? How long would it take (she's desperate so can work 18 hour days on it, or whatever). What would a bit of the code look like on a screen? I want to draw a parallel between computing and magical languages so an insight into what she'd actually be entering on her keyboard would help. Would this resemble building a game, or not? And what could she put in there to keep the demon entertained -- puzzles might work. But it can't approach them in too "human" a manner -- the demon will be actually *on the computer* so it's more as if you were trying to keep a computer virus or some other sort of programme busy within a larger structure. It just occurred to me that seeing as it's interested in her -- and accepts the programme as an expression of her attention -- she could build in access to, say, her diary entries or other details from her life as a reward for solving puzzles.
I've read the wiki article on programming languages and searched "writing a computer game", but while the results I've found have at least given me some idea of the terms involved, it naturally assumes a much higher level of knowledge than I have.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.