Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Random #39 - How Job Interviews Are Like Blind Dates

It starts simply: two people look at profiles. X is a person looking at a job description, she decides to apply. Y reviews the résumé, the detailed profile, listing traits, with a cover letter talking about all their good points. The exchange can be a biased, since there is a lot of history on a résumé and often less in a job description, but an industrious X can go online and search out the company "creep their Facebook", finding all kinds of un/interesting things.  Y might be checking out X's online profiles too.  How much of what they find is true? How many people lie on their resumes?  How many people make a company seem more impressive through a fancy website? There is only so much you can learn from these profiles.

A meeting is agreed upon.  X "dresses to impress".  We hope Y would do the same.  If they don't, won't they also be judged by the person coming to meet them?  Like a blind date, clothing can be crucial. Does X want to work somewhere, be with someone, that doesn't look put together, that doesn't look like they know what they're doing?  Also, don't be late.

After that first impression, X and Y have a chat.  They talk about their histories.  X talks about her previous employers, past relationships.  Y gives a history of the company, may talk about previous employees.  Are X and Y getting along?  Y might start talking about what will be expected of X.  X might ask questions of Y, trying to figure out what she would be getting into and if it is worth her time.  

After they part, it's left of to Y to call.  Is X the right fit?  Y might need a second date.  If Y decides against pursuing a relationship with X, there's often disappointment and sadness.  If Y offers, then there is joy and a new relationship. However, X does have the option to decline. What if, after meeting Y, X knows she'd never be happy there? What if X gets a better offer? After that first meeting, that first date, there's more than one possibility.

My job search has been going on for a while.  I've been on a lot of interviews in the past few weeks. It was maybe two weeks ago that I started comparing job interviews to blind dates.  The interviews are so often the same conversations, just had with different people in different locations.  Which got me thinking about dating (something I honestly haven't done in a very long time), then thinking about blind dating, since I'm not actually meeting anyone until after the exchange of information.  Like blind dates, I'm hoping one of these meetings works out for me.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Last Week #22 - Novel Arc

Last week I gathered up all the bits and pieces of the novel I've been working on.  I made sure everything was typed out and printed.  Then I had to put them in order; the only space big enough was the floor. Before I knew it, I had this lovely arc of all the scenes I've created.  So, I took a picture.  Is this a complete novel?  No. It's maybe a quarter or third of it. Who knows if all these scenes will even make it to the final manuscript? The pile of papers in the bottom right corner are notes on the novel, just begging for some of those pages to be changed or stripped away.  My goal now, make it all connect.  How does the main character get from one end of her arc to the other?  I'm not entirely sure, but this process certainly helped.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Another Link Post

Another small collection of links about writerly topics.  I hope they help!

The 10 Most Generic Tweets of All Time - Writer Unboxed

Learning to Love the Synopsis - Writer Unboxed

Pacing: Space out the Tense Moments - Fiction Notes

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quote #52 - Ernest Hemingway

"A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl."
- Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Random #38 - Breaks Between Books

How long are your breaks between books?  Mine used to be non-existent.  I frequently had the next book picked out before I finished the one I was reading.  It had nothing to do with the enjoyment of my current book. Even if I found the book all-consuming, crazy-amazing, I would still have something ready and waiting.  Not that I always read the book I thought I was going to read; I occasionally changed my mind, but there still be only a day between books.  With blogging, I like to get my thoughts down before I start something new. Often, I would throw down my points and then start the new book, cleaning the post up when I had more time.  What happened?

Lately, probably the last three or four months, it is sometimes days before I pick up my next book.  It's not that I feel like I'm in a slump, I've enjoyed the books I've read.  I loved, The Demonologist and The Flying TroutmansBlue Lily, Lily Blue and Specials had me riveted.  Why did it take me so long to pick each of those books? There were days between all of them.  I could have read another (short) book in the time it took me to pick something.  Is it because I have Emily Dickinson's collection on the go?  Usually, I only have one "currently reading" book at a time, but I started her poems months and am taking my time. The poetry is an ebook, so if I'm out, without space for my novel, I can take in a few poems.  I also find by spacing them out, I'm enjoying each poem more. (I'm taking lots of notes too.)  However, I don't think that's it.  I've been reading the poems for about eight months now and this change is newer than that.

So, what is it?  Why am I now leaving so much space between books?  How long do you let go by before you pick up another book?

It's been two days since I finished my last book. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Last Week #21 - A Novel Change

Last week I went to my bi-monthly writers' group. I had a great time.  I wrote some stuff I was pleased with, including the beginning of a scene that I think I will include in my novel.  I've started a major narrative change in the novel too.  I don't think the point-of-view is right, so I'm changing some things around.  I'm hopeful that it will be the change the novel needs.  It's awesome, thousands and thousands of words in, to decide on this kind of change....

Also, we finally got a new printer! I'm so excited that mess is behind us.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Quote #51 - John le Carre

"A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it."
- John le Carre

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Random #37 - Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

I hate that question.  Sometimes it's ten years, then I might hate it even more.  I've mentioned before that I am currently unemployed and looking for work.  I've had a couple interviews where this question has been asked.  What I want to say is: working for you; or NOT unemployed; or having won the lottery, on vacation.  It's hard for me to answer, when five years ago, I did not picture myself in this situation.  I thought I'd be working for the same company, enjoying the office community, sharing pictures and stories of our children, reading good books together, having a nice time, while doing work that related to the environment.  Instead, I've had a different job since and been unemployed for almost a year.  Five years is not a long time, and it's also forever.

Instead of talking about those things and sounding like a madwoman, I come up with a relatively "correct" answer, talking about being with the company for the long term and taking on increasing responsibilities. I do hope some of the things I say.  I want to have a job in five years.  I'm tired of looking for work.  But after the previous five years, I know anything can happen and something unexpected always seems to.  Instead of trying to predict the future, I'd rather concern myself with the present.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Last Week #20 - Logline

Taking the advice of a writer I went to hear speak a few weeks ago, I decided to create a logline for my current Work In Progress.  I thought he might be right when he said that if I couldn't sum up my story in 1-2 sentences, maybe there was something wrong with it.  The logline would also give the story focus, so that I (as the author) would always know what it was about. Should I share it?  I'm a little nervous about it.  What if it doesn't sound interesting?  

"A woman lost in the mundane world, finds herself drawn into darkness and conspiracy, where her hero is not who she thinks he is, and she must learn to survive this new world on her own."

I think I need an adjective to go before "woman", something that describes her personality before all the craziness starts happening to her.  Is she bored?  Tired?  Lonely?  Is she fierce?  Intelligent?  I'm not sure her goal is obvious, but is it obvious in the story itself? Does it need to be?  I've changed it at least five times since typing it up.  The line definitely needs some more tinkering.  I do think though, it helps focus the story.  I think more than anything, the novel I'm writing is about the woman surviving.

Also, I came across this site and found it helpful.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Quote #50 - Joss Whedon

I always was an early-morning or late-night writer. Early morning was my favorite; late night was because you had a deadline. And at four in the morning, you make up some of your most absurd jokes.
- Joss Whedon

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Last Week #19 - Bits of Novel

I've gathered the last of my bits of novel. They are typed up, in the computer.  Light edits have been made.  Now, I'm just waiting to get a new printer, then it'll be cutting and pasting to see what I have. Then more edits and maybe an outline.  Then presto! I'll have a novel!  Not really.  I'll actually be going through what I have, seeing how it all fits together, and creating something cohesive. Actually, I'm not sure what will happen, but I'll know more this time next week.

Below is the least crappy of the rough bits I wrote last week.  Some dialogue showing how delusional the character might be.

“It was like a novel, this man, handsome, in need of help, showing up at my door.  The way we took care of Kaitlyn and Richard, waiting in the hospital together.  It was the beginning to a curious plot.  It was a mystery or maybe a romance.”

“Or maybe a horror/thriller.  Hasn't this guy put you through a lot in a short amount of time?  Hasn't he put you in danger?”