Friday, February 27, 2009

Pushing Through

Well, this week has been a mix of interesting and boring. Miss M is involved in quite a few afterschool activities and over half of them were not done this week. From one instructor being sick, to Daddy coming home early and Miss M not wanting to go to her lesson and the other just not meeting that day for whatever reason. It was nice and the weather here has been beautiful. But it felt odd not having to run around at breakneck speed.

Real job has had some interesting characters this week. My attorney swears I should write a book about some of our weird customers. I don’t think anyone would believe me though. :)

On the writing front – I’m starting to get antsy for the actual writing. I’m working my way through the holes and finding questions I need answered to make everything believable. I think I’ve worked through the first half of the scenes and have a good handle on them. Now I need to get the answers and then plow through the other half. That is where the majority of the holes were though. It may take me a little longer. I’ll see how much I can get done by next week.

How is your writing going? I’m so jealous of Leah right now. She is going away for a WHOLE weekend to write with some writer friends of hers. If you had a completely free weekend where would you go and what would you do? Me – probably travel abroad and call it research.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Laying it all Out

I’m a couple of days late on my target for a new post. I’m TRYING to do one every week. So far in February I have, let’s see if I can keep it up!

L&D Update - After much haggling in my head I still hadn’t been able to work out the plot points and holes I knew I had. So at work I laid everything out on the large table we use for the next day’s work schedule. I went over all of it, amazed at how much that clarified my thinking. I found the holes and made notes on what to fill them with and re arranged about half a dozen scenes to make it flow better.

I am SO much happier with it now. I need to upload my changes on the computer, reprint and look at it again, trying to add more notes on what I want to happen in the scene, setting, POV, etc.

On my rant last week - Still mad, BUT we have a meeting in the morning with said alphabet company and hopefully we can find a solution we are all happy with. I’ll let you know next week how it works out. I’ve been in a mad rush the last two days printing to show them the facts to support our claims. I believe at least 2 trees may have supported my cause in the paper that I used.

Do you use Windows programs or Macs? I’m strictly a Windows girl, work doesn’t lend itself to the Mac world, or at least it didn’t ten years ago. Now I have so much invested in custom programming and computers, servers and the like I couldn’t switch over now if I really wanted to. But Leah was showing me a program that she uses for writing that I would LOVE to have. Scrivener. It looks amazing and fun to play with. Apparently you can pull images, web pages, quotes, random writing, whatever in the research section to keep you organized better. And don’t get me started on the corkboard section. Looks like lots of fun. Oh, and I think Marley is blogging about it today too. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bit of a Rant

Well, after my last post I expected this week to report I happily worked on my outline and worked some of my kinks out. Did that happen? Nope. Not an inkling, a bit or a smidge. Damn. I really, really wanted to work on it. But the cards just weren’t going to help me with that last week.

So what happened? I can’t give you all the details (have to protect the not so innocent you know), but here’s a few tidbits. Family that I no longer have contact with for nearly ten, yes TEN, years called up out of the blue. Lots of drama, death, sickness and just plain weirdness going on there. None of them know Miss M so that was a topic of discussion and point to try to extract guilt from. Notice I said try. Then one of my closest friends had her heart broken. I feel horrible for her and I just hope I can help her through this. Then one of hubby’s relatives that had been estranged for quite some time called out of the blue as well. What the hell was in the stars, cards, fates, etc to have all of that happen within three days?!?!? So needless to say it was an emotionally taxing week.

Then on the real job front, I’m telling you, you won’t believe some of the stories I’ve got. The B alphabet group has gotten our dander up. You know who I’m talking about, those people that are supposed to protect consumers by monitoring companies and their practices. Anyways, the latest is their new grading system. We have had 19 complaints in the last three years for serving over 24,000 customers. That is 0.00079%, and that doesn’t include all the people we go out to, or the people we talk to over the phone. AND of those 19 complaints, not one, I repeat NOT ONE was found to be our fault. Every one of the complaints were either bogus or we had already taken care of the problem BEFORE we were even aware that the customer had complained.

One complaint was a customer where we did break something, customer got mad made a complaint online the same day. The file comes back to our office that night, we discover what happened, called the customer the next day, tell him we are aware of the problem we will have it fixed as soon as possible, happened to be done in three days (we had to hire it out to be done – not something we could have fixed ourselves), customer happy, paid for their order, no problems. Week later we get the complaint by mail that the customer filed online.

Still counts against us. Guess what grade B alphabet group gives us? C+, less than a 1% complaint ratio, all complaints found in our favor, and we get a C+. Oh, and in protest of this unfair rating system we withdrew our membership, (yes, they have membership with dues and everything) they lowered it again. So that is our current real job battle. Can you believe it? We’ve talked back and forth to no avail, so unfortunately now we have to hire our attorney to try and reason with them. Wonder how much that is going to cost me in the long run? People are always under the impression that they help consumers and are a government sponsored agency. Nope, not in the least. They sell advertising and memberships. They can help consumers and I know they have some effect on businesses when customers threaten to go to them for satisfaction. But how does it help a customer make an informed decision with a faulty rating system?

Oh, and did I tell you that if you service 500 people or 20,000 people they judge you the same. Not the percentages, just the lump sum quantities. How can a business that handles 500 customers be judged the same way a business that handles 20,000? So under this theory, if we only serviced 500 people and had 19 complaints that would give us the same rating. I'm sorry but if we take care of 4,000% more customers I think they should take that into consideration and grade accordingly. ESPECIALLY, since none of the complaints have found us at fault. What do you think?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Outline for LD1

Well, three posts in January. Not bad. Maybe I’m finally getting this technology thing down. I’ve come to realize that if the tech stuff isn’t for work I really don’t bother learning about it. I finally got an iPhone late last year and the only reason I learned to cool ins and outs of it was because I could sync it with my work computer. And I don’t mean work as in writing, no work as in real job. Sad, but true. I can barely work my camcorder. I have no need for one at work. Ug.

I’ve been working on my outline for LD1, my abbreviation for it. I have the characters pretty fleshed out. Kathleen is the lawyer, Cassie the cop, and Sam the PI. And I have to tell you that Sam is threatening to take over the WHOLE thing. So to appease her, I’m going to write a short story that I originally intended to be the prologue to LD3 (Sam’s Story – sorry Leah, but it works in identifying) :-) but I think it will be too big for a prologue. We’ll see. She has become much more colorful and interesting than what I perceived her initially. I don’t think we’ll ever get to see all of her back story, which is a shame, because it’s a story in itself.

Yesterday I went through my outline and separated the scenes so that they each have their own page and marked where the scene takes place and whose POV each scene is in. This also showed that I have 33 scenes, not bad. I really like how these details are getting worked out early. Before, I would just write and figure it out as I went along. Obviously, that wasn’t working for me, so I’m hopeful that this way does. I found some holes in the story. I’m trying to encompass four story threads and weave them all together. I have found that my love aspect isn’t getting enough attention so that is something I have to address and Cassie isn’t featured enough so I need to get her in it more. Plus show my bad guys in depth and plant the red herrings correctly. And try to keep Sam from stealing the show.

Did you see Leah’s book on sale? It made the #1 slot on Samhain’s best seller this week. Go get it! It’s hot!