the privilege of the read

Oh hai. I live.

I read The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner over the last week, and have to say I think it's the first coming-of-age fantasy novel I've read in a long time that delighted me and made me wish I had teenagers to pass it along to. It has also once and for all beaten out my urge to spell privilege with three "e"s. I would perish as a writer if not for spellcheckers.

Anyway, back to the book: it's good enough that I'm going to buy the one she wrote before that in the same universe (Swordspoint), though I'm leery of the other (The Fall of the Kings) because, I will probably pick it up, regardless of my bias toward collabs.

(I am aware that Delia is herself a well-known wordsmith, but I fear that the 90s turned me cold to anything co-written. It is a character flaw, I know.)

Anyway, delightful book. Wonderfully witty. Made me want to write and play with words all over again. Marvelous.

I'm also picking up a Jack Vance collection, because It's About Damn Time. The Dying Earth concept intrigues me, though Lyonesse intrigues me more, but GFL finding that one in print. I should also say: I'm a D&D geek who wants to read the books where Prismatic Spray came from. Durr hurr.
Halloween every day.

process: resumes a-go-go

If you are lucky to work for a nice big company, you have an HR department. HR does great things like put up notices of an open position, screen resumes, and set up interviews.

However, if you work for a small, independent game company and your production assistant was one of the casualties of a recent layoff -- well, you're on your own, sister.

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Next up: how to gently tell people they are not exceptions to the rule.
Halloween every day.

on being the filter

I am probably tougher on applicants than I should be. This is the magazine's influence: we learned to cheerfully bounce anyone who failed to follow our submission rules because 99% of the time, their writing was no good anyway.

And these weren't difficult submission rules. Double spaced. Courier. Black on white. Single-sided. 1.5" gutters. Standard, simple rules that any writer -- even an amateur -- knows.

But we got it all. Spiral bound, fancy fonts, illustrations, a different color for every page, floppy disks (well, it was the mid-90s), cover letters longer than the story itself (okay, that's exaggerating).

I can go on and I'm sure there are more with worse.

When I began, I was soft-hearted. I was soft-hearted because in my head I was "one of them". I was horrified that my boss would bounce a story without even reading it because it failed the guidelines test. I felt they deserved a chance.

Until I read the stories and realized: no. No, they really didn't. It was, as someone put it to me, a "filter". If they couldn't follow instructions, it was a pretty good chance that their story wasn't worth reading anyway.

But regardless, I wanted to help them. And there was an outlet for that, in the form of the mighty highlighter. As part of my job as manuscript processor, I would take a copy of the submission guidelines and I'd highlight the section Where They Done Fucked Up and mail it back to them. 99% of them got the point. Sometimes they even resubmitted with the problems fixed.

(This is assuming they included a SASE with their submission. Quite a few of the guideline-breakers didn't, and thus likely remain in ignorance to this day as to why their story fell into a black hole at MZBFM.)

So here I am, once again acting as a gatekeeper. This time, though, I'm reviewing resumes, and I admit -- frustration. Because people have not changed. Which includes me: the part of me that wants to give people a chance is contending with the part of me that doesn't have time to sit down and hold everyone's hand when they don't include a resume, or send a letter telling me to "call them", or do anything on the extremely short list of things that we asked them not to do on the job posting.

I'm a bit incredulous at it because...this isn't a short story submission. This is a chance at a full-time job, with benefits, writing for a living. And I just sort of assume that people will...y' the guidelines. First impressions, right? Why would you blow that?

One friend put it into perspective for me when I said I was feeling like I was being too judgmental: when you're reviewing resumes, that's what you're expected to do. If you're too soft, you hire the wrong guy/gal, and then what?

So, y'know, maybe this blog post will get read where our guidelines weren't. And maybe some of the people who I've flat-out deleted from my voicemail will read this and realize why they're not going to get a phonecall from me: because our guidelines on Craigslist said don't call us. Because if we wanted calls, we'd have included a phone number. Because we are not a big company with a big HR department and it's just me and Eric going through these. Because I don't have the time to chase you down and talk to you about our job. I'd rather not do it at all, but if you do have questions, there's always email.

Maybe you're the greatest, awesomest writer in the world. But if you can't follow simple instructions, I can't in good conscience employ you.

So forgive me for being callus -- I'm just doing my job.
  • Current Music
    "Fantine's Arrest" - Les Miserables
  • Tags
Urban Dead

Well, it is Mafia WARS

This is me, being a bastard in Mafia Wars.

    19 minutes ago:
    You were attacked by Don Gill.
    You lost the fight, taking 21 damage and losing $100,000.

    9 minutes ago:
    Katrina Leona claimed your $8,000 bounty on Don Gill.

    8 minutes ago:
    You were punched in the face by Don Gill, receiving 3 damage.

    8 minutes ago:
    You were punched in the face by Don Gill, receiving 2 damage.

    8 minutes ago:
    Don Berfield claimed your $80,000 bounty on Don Gill.

    6 minutes ago:
    You were robbed by Don Gill.
    Your property lost 4% of its health and your enemy made off with $816,130.

    6 minutes ago:
    You were robbed by Don Gill.
    Your property lost 4% of its health and your enemy made off with $816,130.

    5 minutes ago:
    the mace claimed your $8,000,000 bounty on Don Gill.

    4 minutes ago:
    \\\"Rickster\\\" claimed your $800,000 bounty on Don Gill.

    2 minutes ago:
    You were attacked by Don Gill.
    You lost the fight, taking 14 damage and losing $630.

    2 minutes ago:
    Lefty claimed your $8,000 bounty on Don Gill.

    1 minute ago:
    [JMG] SwytScorpion claimed your $8,000 bounty on Don Gill.

    0 minutes ago:
    Don McCarthy claimed your $8,000 bounty on Don Gill.

Getting tagged by some anonymous player? Meh. Six Seven (7) hits on the same guy in nine (9) minutes? Awesome.
Circa 1771

it had "java" in it so I figured it was okay....

    The boyfriend walked in for his afternoon kiss, took a glance at my screen, and stopped dead in his tracks.

    "Say it," I said.

    "That --"

    "Say it!" I barked.

    "That's code."

    "I told you I was a coder!"

    He gave a shudder, as if trying to shake off a bad dream. "Sorry, honey, that's just scary."

    "Coder!" I yelled, jabbing my thumbs toward my chest. "That's me! Hoo-hah!"

Yeah, so, the recent work project has involved javascript, and that's my field, so....
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos - "Mr. Zebra"

IMs at Work, Part Not An April Fools Joke

    Mike P: What was the text editor you guys use to use.
    Me on AIM: Uh. Ultraedit?
    Mike P: Before that.
    Me on AIM: I think it was PFE?
    Mike P: Yep.
    Me on AIM:
    Mike P: Thanks.
    Me on AIM: So long ago.
    Me on AIM: And before that, we used the editor in the old IFEs.
    Me on AIM: Which corrupted files.
    Me on AIM: It was so awesome.
    Me on AIM: SO AWESOME.
    Mike P: :)
    Me on AIM: Whole scripts. Poof.
    Me on AIM: Steph, sobbing softly in her overly ginormous chair at Marion's place.
    Mike P: Got it.
    Me on AIM: And before that?
    Mike P: Minimizing you now.
    Me on AIM: The worst part was when we had to try and edit on AOL's client.
    Mike P: Hiding my task bar.
    Me on AIM: It didn't allow tabs.
    Mike P: ::smooch!::
    Me on AIM: Okay, I'm done.

(Not ironic at all sidenote: I edited this post mostly in Ultraedit.)

WoW - Rowan

my life, in brief

Steph has been:

  • Dieting.
  • Working.
  • Keeping quiet about what she's working on.
  • Not playing games.
That last one is mostly due to the extracurricular stuff, which has included overtime and enjoying the sudden spring weather.

For instance, I would really love once again to get back into WoW and play the expansion. I have the expansion. I liked what I played during the trial. I just don't have any damn time. And neither does Mike, Mr. Drood to Steph's Hunter.

It was an effort just to make time for the BSG finale. We haven't even touched Burn Notice. People! I am too busy for Burn Notice! What the hell?

But I have faith things will settle, and we'll once again get around to the things we love. Until then, I just keep on keepin' on, and try not to think about the boxed collector's edition collecting dust on my couch.