Not Quite What We're Looking for Right Now

Edited by Yanni Kuznia

Copyedited by Chelle Parker

October 2021

312 words — Reading time: around 1 minutes

Dear Ana,

Thank you for the opportunity to read “The Night is a House with a Single Window.” Unfortunately, it’s not quite what we’re looking for right now. It was close, though, so we’d like to offer you some longer feedback.

The descriptions are really vivid — the scene in which Marcela drinks too much (and later realizes her friends left her alone at the party) was so competently written that one of our slush readers was knocked out. He needed to spend a whole afternoon in an Adverse Effects Room — and, according to him, the hangover was awful. Congratulations!

The characters are really well developed, but we feel you pushed too hard on the stalker’s verisimilitude — all the women on our staff received calls from him all week, and one of our assistant editors saw an unknown man roaming around her house yesterday. (We’ve already called the relevant authorities.)

And finally, the prose is very mature and well-knit — well, mostly. This was the main problem we had with your text: Some stuff escaped from the pages. The shadow monster, which starts to slowly devour the protagonist after that scene, got away from the plot and almost ate our senior editor’s left arm. He’s an extremely serious professional who could have had his life ruined because you dared to write about too-dark themes, if you know what I mean.

Our recommendation is that you think a little bit more about the consequences of what you write. We know it’s important to tell all kinds of stories, especially if they’re meaningful to you, but there are words (I guess you know which ones) that we all should avoid — just for the sake of everyone’s comfort and safety, of course.

Anyways, we hope that you’ll keep us in mind again in the future.

Take care,

Howard Klein (he/him)


Marginalia Magazine

© 2021 Jana Bianchi

About the author

Jana Bianchi

Jana Bianchi is a Brazilian writer, translator, editor, and podcaster, and one of the organizers of Relampeio Festival and FutureCon. She published the novella Lobo de Rua in 2016. Her fiction has appeared, in Portuguese, in several Brazilian collections and magazines. She has an essay published at Strange Horizons and a short story at Clarkesworld Magazine, and she’s part of the Clarion West Writers Workshop class of 2021. She lives in the countryside of São Paulo with her parents, uma família de mafagafos, two dogs, and her many animated tattoos. Find her online at @janapbianchi on Twitter/Instagram.