Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I found the Crapometer blog a few weeks ago; someone in the comments section of Evil Editor's blog linked it so I clicked on it. I'd seen it mentioned before, in Miss Snark's blog, but hadn't checked it out until recently. I really like it. The regulars there give excellent critiques of people's submitted work, really insightful comments and suggestions.

I didn't wait long to submit the first chapter of my current WIP. I really didn't know what to expect. I thought it was pretty tight, but I've thought that about my writing before and been wrong. I was fairly certain that it didn't suck, but I really didn't know if any writers would like it or not. Needless to say, I was hoping for some compliments along with some constructive criticism. As it turned out, it got some pretty damn good reviews. All of the comments contained some level of praise, a couple of actual superlatives. I was flattered, big time.

The insight of some of the people that commented was amazing, and most helpful. I incorporated some of the suggested changes and the result is a tight, vivid first chapter. I think.

I'm working on the seventh chapter now, at about 17K words, still a long way to go. I don't have all the plot issues and subplots worked out yet, they're coming slowly. The good news is I'm making progress, even if it isn't at the pace I'd like. The mystery has been laid out, the plot foundation established, most of the players introduced. Now as I decide on a couple of plot details, the subplots hopefully will start to come clear and I can pick up the pace of my productivity.

I might submit another chapter to the Crapometer, get some feedback on a chapter further into the story, maybe chapter six. It still needs more polish, but it might be ready soon. We'll see.

Peace and cool pillows...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Shit Happens

Sometimes there is no other way to say it. Shit just happens and there ain't nothin you can do. I had one of those days today. It started out kind of sneaky shitty, and then got worse.

I work in the technical staffing business. Sales. To put it simply, I'm an agent for technical professionals, and I handle the client relationships. Not a glamorous job, but certainly a worthwhile endeavor. It's financially rewarding, I've made a pretty good living in this business in the past. There is also the satisfaction of helping someone take a step forward in their career. So overall, I like what I do. But it isn't always easy.

When you get right down to the nuts and bolts of it, my product is people. People are unpredictable, thus it can get interesting. Like today. People do things, not always with bad intentions, the result for someone is bad. The result of something someone did today, without bad intentions, was bad for me.

People are dynamic, their lives are dynamic, their circumstances change with stunning celerity. A consultant that was due to start an engagement for me coming Monday had such a change. He backed out of the engagement he accepted a week and a half ago. It caught me like a sucker punch. This was an important step in the client relationship I'm trying to build. I'm back in this business after four and a half years of being out of it, with a new company and basically a new world of opportunities and I'm trying to get a solid foundation established with some key clients. This is a key client. My credibility just went to shit. It will be hard to recover from this, and may take some time. As the new guy with this client, my credibility is zero. This deal gave me a foot hold, especially if the guy goes in and they love him. That happens, my credibility is solid, they begin to trust me and the candidates I represent. This is the way it's supposed to be. That's not the way it is, not now.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened to me, it happens to everyone in this business. People are people, and that's the way it is. As with any unpredictable, sometimes volatile product, there will be mishaps. Shit happens. The thing about that is, it always seems like when shit does happen, the timing couldn't be any worse. My first deal with a key manager at a key client on a large project with looming deadlines, my guy, who is going to help them get caught up and meet their deadlines and have a chance to really shine, bails the fuck out. Thanks, dude. Leaves me looking like a drooling idiot, standing with my pants around my ankles.

I have to get some perspective on this. A year from now, if shit like this doesn't keep happening, I'll remember this and smile. Just a challenging time that I dealt with and learned something from. That's my challenge now. What's the lesson? I've had all day to review and consider this, and I can't identify anythng we should have done differently that would have changed this outcome. We did our jobs pretty much by the book. I didn't push the guy on the client, or push the job on the guy. We weren't stretching anything, nothing was shaky. Shit just happens.

Two other negative things happened today, but they pale in comparison to the big one and I won't even dwell on them. I just feel kinda snake-bit right now.

On a different note, I'm reading Bandits by Elmore Leonard. What a great book. Two thirds of the way through now and I think I'll read it again. I'm too involved when I'm reading it to look at it clinically, so I'll make a second pass and break it down.

I think I'm through whining for the day. Pray for peace and good energy...