Consider More Novellas
Thank you for Douglas Trevor’s article “Consider the Novella: Making the Case for a New Workshop Model” (September/ October 2017). I love reading novellas, and I recently shortened one of my novel manuscripts to novella length. I noticed, however, that all of the novellas Trevor mentions in his article are written by men. For several years I have been compiling a list of novellas written by and about women on Goodreads. I have also added women writers to the “List of Novellas” Wikipedia page. Some of my favorite novellas include The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Phaniyamma by M. K. Indira, The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing, The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers, The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, and Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton. Thanks for your great magazine!
Flood Is Water
Just read Kima Jones’s (@kima_jones) essay “Flood Is Water: On Leaving an MFA Program” (September/October 2017), and I love her. She’s empowering black writers and writers of color like nobody’s business!
Ernesto L. Abeytia
@kima_jones wrote her heart out in this @poetswritersinc piece about what people of color face in MFA programs.
Rion Amilcar Scott
Ready for Rejections
Daniel Wallace’s article “Rejection Slips: On Not Getting Into the New Yorker” (September/October 2017) is written with painful humor. The piece reminded me of when I told my therapist I was ready for the dating world after a divorce. She said, “You have to have a thick skin to put yourself out there. You have to be ready for rejections.” A couple of years later, inspired by that divorce, I wrote my first novel, From Deception to Grace. However, while trying to find a publisher for the book, I found rejections instead. I later decided to self-publish, and the novel ended up winning an International Latino Book Award in 2012. What my therapist said about dating applies to writers. In the face of rejection, you still have to believe that your story has a place in the world.
Ana María González Puente
New York, New York
They Mean Business
“We Mean Business: Twelve Agents Who Want to Read Your Work” (July/August 2017) by Kevin Larimer highlighted what I and other writer friends have found to be a growing disconnect in publishing. Several of the agents listed don’t respond back to queries unless interested (one didn’t even get back to me when I had a client referral). They do this because they’re inundated, and that makes sense. But why then do they want to hear from more people? If you don’t have the time, why are you positioning yourself as someone who’s on the hunt? Is it really fair to say you want to be asked out on dates if you’re not really single? If an agent receives two thousand queries a year and takes on only, say, four new clients, that’s 0.2 percent. Reading about what agents want and how they work never, in my experience, matches the reality, and I think that’s a confusing knot to untangle for writers new, old, and still hustling. Please don’t mistake my comments for anything other than general observations. I love receiving Poets & Writers Magazine in the mail. It’s continually informative and inspiring. Keep up the great work!
Cary, North Carolina