Yesterday, I got rejected by the New Yorker. It was the best thing that had happened to me all day.
Sounds weird, right? It definitely sounded weird to the friends and family that I told this to. Who wants to be rejected?
The thing is that the New Yorker was a long shot. I never expected them to publish me. They publish Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, and Junot Diaz. Why should they look twice at someone with three published stories to her name? Besides, it had a fantasy/sci-fi edge to it. Not really the New Yorker’s style.
I submitted it because they sometimes publish unknown writers, and they sometimes publish sci-fi. Both are rare, but I was confident in the story and I thought, why the heck not? The worst thing they can do is not respond to me.
They did respond. Here it is:
Dear Anna Lindwasser,
We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.Sincerely,The Editors
THE ALMIGHTY LIST OF THINGS I AM ATTEMPTING TO WRITE, AND MY PROGRESS THUSFAR*
*This list will be updated whenever I have something of note to report. Additionally, it will serve as a links page for entries discussing these projects.
1. A novella about a teenage boy named Andrew whose best friend murdered his little sister. Andrew is obsessed with revenge, dependent on his tutor for the affection he no longer receives from his parents, and furious with his other best friend, who could have stopped the murder but didn’t.
Progress: I have written an outline. I also started a word document entitled “Novella”, which has no words it it as yet.
2. A short story about two teenagers trying to figure out a place to bang outside in NYC.
Progress: It’s about halfway done in terms of the plot, but it’s going to need a lot of editing.
3. My 2011 NaNoWrimo Novel, Find a bird and put it in jail. It’s the second draft of a story about a woman named Rhiannon who can make people sick by touching them.
Progress: About 40 pages. I’ve got all the characters living in the same house now, but the plot hasn’t really started to move yet. I’ve got a long way to go.
4. Editing my 2008 NaNoWriMo Novel. This is a complete story about two badly damaged teenage boys who slowly develop a meaningful and idiosyncratic relationship. Either that, or they exude seme-uke stereotypes, because I developed these characters as a twelve-year-old weeaboo. I’ve written their story in many different ways, ranging from a series of short stories, to a 347-page novel that was so awful that I can’t look at it without laughing. My 2008 novel is the version I’m satisfied with, but it’s a hot mess. It needs editing.
Progress: None. This project has been stagnating while I focus on short stories.