I apologize for my tardiness -- it's been fourteen years since you rejected of A YEAR OF TUESDAYS, my initial foray into novel-writing. I intended to respond sooner, but first I found reasons to procrastinate, and then social media was invented, and the next thing I knew a decade had passed.
You weren't the only editor to reject my manuscript, though you managed to do so in especially dickish fashion (more on that in a moment). The truth is, it wasn't a very good book. The even more objective truth is, there's not much to say about straight, white males between the ages of 22–24 living in New York City that hasn't already been said. I may have made a joke about ordering off a Chinese menu that was unique to my experience, but everything else was derivative.
Wait, no -- not the main character's name. Ambrose Dunden: I worked really hard on that. I borrowed the first name from "Lost In The Funhouse" by John Barth. I wanted my protagonist to be an Ambrose, but didn't think anyone would call him that; instead, he'd go by "Rosie." Dunn came from the political theorist John Dunn (forgive me, I was just out of grad school) -- except, I felt "Rosie Dunn" was lacking a syllable, so I extended his surname to Dunden. Rosie Dunden. When I triumphantly shared this development with a friend, he said, "So basicallyyou named your character Jamie Yourdon?"
Still and all, I understand why you passed; it wasn't the fact of your rejection but its substance that bothered me. As you may recall, your letter began, "Ostensibly, Yourdon is a talented writer ..." Let's just think about that for a moment, shall we? Why "ostensibly?" Why qualify your statement? Why say, in essence, "Let's agree, for the sake of argument, that Yourdon is a talented writer." Am I? Was I? If so, why make it sound debatable? Why not just reject my novel without disparaging me in the process?
Anyway, a-hole, my debut came out last week. If you're still work in the industry, you conceivably could've heard about it -- though my understanding of SWMs in publishing in the early aughts (of which you were one) was that they drank too much, overestimated their charm, and often found themselves unemployed by twenty-seven. So perhaps you've found a new calling in life, while I have doggedly pursued my own. In which case, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
All the best,
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!