Job Interview Aftermath, #WIPpet Wednesday, #ROW80 Check-in and a Question

First of all, thank you for all your good wishes for my job interview today. It went… okay, I guess, but it was the first time I’ve been interviewed for a job at this level (despite acting in a very similar position before), so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and despite preparing as best I could, a couple of the questions still caught me a bit off guard. I came up with answers, but they were a bit dodgy. If I get this position, that would be great, but I think I will be chalking this one up to experience and will be better prepared for the other couple of positions coming up in my workplace in the next few months. Of the three positions, this was the one I wanted the least, so while I’ll be disappointed, it could be worse.

wednesdaybannerAnyway! Onto happier things. WIPpet Wednesday is here again! Want to join in? Simply post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow correlates to the date (either [date] number of lines/paragraphs/words, etc, something from that numbered chapter; add some of the numbers together for a different outcome…). Then join us at the linky and see what others have shared. I feel a bit bad because I only got around to about half of you last week. I’ll try to do better this week!

I’ve got another piece from Operation: Sugarplum to share with you this week. I’ve added the 2 and the 1 from the day’s date, plus the 8 for the month, and have 11 lines for you. This is very early on in the piece; the second scene in the story in fact. The opening scene is from Max’s POV, he knows Clara”s in trouble and is worried because she’s not answering her phone, then we cut to Clara. There are a couple of lines of dialogue between Clara and her lecturer before this, but the numbers worked better to just start here.

Clara had not been in a class, but she had been on campus, meeting with one of her lecturers to get some tips for the upcoming assignments. She pulled on an overcoat, ran her fingers through her hair to make sure none of it was caught under the collar, and then slung her handbag over one shoulder. There was a spring in her step as she left campus and began walking home, despite it being dark and chilly.

She’d been walking for ten minutes or so when she first thought she heard footsteps on the pavement behind her. She tried to ignore the noise; it was probably just someone else walking home as well. This part of town was full of student share houses so it wasn’t exactly unusual.

When the footsteps were still following her after she’d turned two corners, though, then she started feeling worried. Casting a glance over her shoulder, she saw two figures in black clothes and hoods. She quickened her pace, hoping to keep them away just a bit longer – she was only a street away from her house now – but they matched her new speed.

row80-2As for my goals, well, as predicted I was so caught up with interview nerves prep that I didn’t get anything done in the first half of this week, apart from add maybe a few sentences to O:S. Once I finish this post, I plan on going and banging on my keyboard for a bit, so that will give me a bit of a start on one of my Mission 101 goals. I was planning on writing during my breaks once my interview was over today, but that didn’t happen because I was feeling more frazzled than I had expected, so I mostly just read my book and daydreamed because that was about all I could concentrate on. Tomorrow I will be in a much better frame of mind.

To finish off, I have a question for you guys. The two most recent books I have tried reading, I have ended up giving up on, just because I felt I should have been more invested in/hook on the story by the point I was at, and I wasn’t. Having said that, I was wondering if I’d given them enough of a chance yet. I was asking my boss about how much of a chance he gives a book, and he told me of the “100 pages minus your age” rule, which seems to be a thing a lot of people advocate. For me, that’s 76, which translates to roughly 15% of either of these books. That’s about how much I give a ebook before I decide to ditch it. Of course, as I get older, that number is going to go down, but I sort of still feel like 15% is a good number (and that of course will go up or down depending on the length of the book). Do you have a rule for how long you stick with a book before you decide not to bother anymore? Or do you just throw it aside immediately if it doesn’t grab your attention?

And with that, I leave you, and go to play some music, before going to bed and reading the book I started today, which captured my interest in the first two pages!


28 thoughts on “Job Interview Aftermath, #WIPpet Wednesday, #ROW80 Check-in and a Question

  1. kathils says:

    Argh . . . I hate when I think I’m all prepared for an interview and then they slam you with a question and you get the deer in the headlights look as you scramble to answer it. By which time, if you’re me, you’ve completely forgotten the question! LOL Fingers are crossed that you wind up with a position that will be perfect for you.

    Great WIPpet. Getting nervous. Tension building. Their steps quickening as hers do . . .


  2. Kate Sparkes says:

    Oh, Clara… *shudder*

    I usually try for four chapters, as long as they’re not super long. If the story shows potential or the writing draws me in, I’ll stick around. If not, I assume I’m just not the right reader for this one, and wish it well as I send it on its way.

    …unless I know the writer, of course. Then it gets more than 4 chapters. 🙂

    Ever wonder if interviewers throw those questions at us not because they care about the answer, but because they want to see how we respond to curve-balls? I just thought of that. Well played, interviewers.


    • Emily Witt says:

      Haha, yes, good point, knowing the writer does entice me to stick around longer. So far, though, I haven’t not enjoyed a book by someone I knew, so I haven’t really had think about it.

      Maybe they do! *side-eyes interviewers* Though the main one that got me in this one was one that made sense for the position, I just had no idea how to answer it.


  3. Ruth Nestvold says:

    Sorry to hear that the job interview didn’t go so well, but I think you have the right attitude — chalk it up to experience and move on!

    Nice, suspenseful excerpt this week. 🙂

    As to your question, I tend to give books less and less of a chance these days, usually about a chapter. If I’m not hooked by then, I usually give up and give the book away.


    • Emily Witt says:

      Thanks, Ruth! I figure that’s the best way to look at it. I won’t be stuck at the level I’m in forever, but I will have to work for higher ones.

      Yeah, up until only a few years ago, I felt kind of guilty if I didn’t finish a book I started, but now I’ve realised there are too many good books out there waiting for me to get to them to waste time on one I’m not enjoying.


  4. Lauralynn Elliott says:

    Job interviews are tough. And, trust me, they are often tough on the interviewer, too. I’ve been on that end of them more since I’ve been at my current job for 32 years. LOL I’m sure you did fine, and even if you don’t get the job, the experience will be valuable.

    I used to finish a book I started, no matter what. It was a thing with me. But now, the book has to grab me in the first couple of chapters. I usually look at the preview of the book on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. to get a sense of the writer’s style and the story, so I don’t often buy books I don’t like.


    • Emily Witt says:

      It’s been interesting talking to my supervisor and boss, both of whom were on the panel (which makes it both easier and harder at the same time!), about that. They both said exactly the same as you.

      I keep forgetting about samples for ebooks, and buying things then giving up on them. I don’t mind too much, though, when it’s only a few dollars.


  5. L. Marie says:

    I’m glad that interview is over. I never like it when I’m thrown for a loop with a question. I hope you get the job!
    Very exciting WIPpet!!!
    About books: I don’t have a rule for them. I used to read 100 pages, but I’ve stopped reading at 30 or 60 pages, depending on what’s bugging me about the book. However, if someone else I know tells me the rest of the book is worth the effort, I might press on.


    • Emily Witt says:

      Yeah, I think having someone else whose told me it’s good will make me push on a bit further. I used to always try and finish a book I started, but I’ve realised there are too many good books out there to waste time on one I’m not enjoying!


  6. Ink and Papyrus says:

    The tension and mood in your WIPpet were spot on and I could relate too easily to that sense of unease. Universities can be creepy places because there is always someone following you even if they’re only ‘heading in the same direction’.


    • Emily Witt says:

      I know, right? Even after graduating, I seem to end up at ANU at night quite a bit when I’m helping out with shows on at the Arts Centre there. Waiting for my taxi home afterwards is so creepy.


  7. Kate Frost says:

    Gaining experience in interviews is invaluable so the one you’ve just had will help with the next one if you don’t get the job.

    Great tension in your WIPpet. Poor Clara, not a good situation to be in at all.

    I’d not heard of the ‘100 pages minus your age’ rule before. I do try and persevere with a book but if I’m really not getting into it whether I’m still on the first chapter or a third of the way in I’ll give up. There have been very few books that I’ve not been able to finish.


  8. Elaine Jeremiah says:

    Being followed – such a frightening thought! Great excerpt, ominous. Makes me wonder what’ll happen next to Clara.

    With regard to reading I tend to read the first 50 pages of a book before giving up and I guess with ebooks about 10%. That generally feels right to me. Like Kate I hadn’t heard of that rule before, but I like it. Quirky. 🙂


    • Emily Witt says:

      Any time I go out after dark I’m terrified this will happen to me. I don’t envy Clara her situation (though we always like to put our characters in unenviable situations, don’t we?!)

      50 pages seems pretty reasonable. You’d expect something interesting to happen in that amount of time!


  9. Jae says:

    Blah, job interviews, blah. This is all I need to describe my sentiment.

    Oooh, I wonder who’s following her and why. Great job piquing interest. The first paragraph felt a tad clunky to me, at least in comparison with what’s coming. Could you layer in even a little tension there to start building it? Of course, this is an excerpt, so take all this nitpicking with a grain of salt. 😉 You know your story best. 🙂


    • Emily Witt says:

      I feel exactly the same!

      I think it does flow a bit better with the couple of extra lines that come before it, but since posting I have changed it around a little bit. Mostly to take out the “spring in her step” part and replacing it with something a bit less cheesy. Thanks for the comment! 🙂


  10. ReGi McClain says:

    Oooh… creepy! Run Clara, run! 🙂

    That’s an interesting rule. One fried gives every book the first chapter to impress her, then decides whether to keep reading. I used to stick it to the end even if I didn’t like a book. I don’t have time for that anymore. My patience depends a lot on the book these days. I’ll read old classics that a lot of people consider slow, so I don’t think you could call me an impatient reader, but I’ve ditched some books within the first few pages because I didn’t like the writing style or something else about it.


    • Emily Witt says:

      I do struggle with a lot of the classics, as much as I would love to read them (you know when you really like a story but can’t get past the writing style?). I have a short attention span, so I find things like high fantasy a bit hard as well, because there’s often so much world-building to get through as well. But yeah, I don’t have the time to read things I’m not enjoying anymore, either, so I’m much more likely to throw it aside.


  11. Eden says:

    The first part about tricky interviews is to remember that you’re always getting something from it, even if it’s just experience. Keep your eyes on the job you really want and use all the lessons you gained with this one there, Emily.

    And yeah… I’d have been frazzled too.

    Which of course, leads to reading (yeah, I do that too…escape into the printed word)….

    I’ve been finding that a lot of times if I’m not getting invested in a story, it’s because of two possibilities. Either I’m in the wrong mental space for the story (in which case, I put it down and then pick it back up some other time and read it through) or I feel no connection with the characters and skimming ahead doesn’t help. No hard or fast number of pages though… I’ve dropped books 15 pages from the end without ever wanting to read those last pages.

    Clara was in a good mood….


    • Emily Witt says:

      Yep, that’s what I’m doing. As I said to someone further up, I’m kinda glad it was this position that came up first, so I get the experience without being too disappointed if I don’t get it.

      I think that happens with me, too. There are certain genres I really have to be in the right frame of mind for, and I definitely have to be invested in the characters. One of the ones I dropped was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – I was nearly 200 pages in, and it was pretty easy to read, but I just didn’t care about anyone in it. The only thing I was mildly interested in was the murder mystery, and I wasn’t going to read 1500 pages just to learn the results of that; I’m sure it’s on Wikipedia if I really want to know.


      • Eden says:

        Nice thing about books… they don’t mind if you leave them for a while and then come back without warning to claim all their attention at some later date. 😀

        And yeah… most all that stuff is on Wikipedia somewhere. That’s almost as scary as the book concept itself ….


  12. shanjeniah says:

    You’ll be a bit more likely to spot the curve balls going forward, I think. And since this was the possibility of least value to you, it gave you the chance to explore….

    I trust my instincts…with footsteps and with books. If I can’t find my way into a story, I let go,wherever I happen to be.

    I have been stalked. I used evasive tactics so as not to reveal where I lived. It helped that I was on foot and the stakes in a car.


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