What do you do after getting rejected over 300 times? Need all the advice on MFA writing programs? How do you stand out in the querying process? Get ready for this motivating conversation featuring today’s special guest Rachel Heng.
Rachel is a Singaporean novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Suicide Club: A Novel About Living, will be published next Tuesday, July 10th!
Her fiction has received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, Prairie Schooner‘s Jane Geske Award, and has been recommended by The Huffington Post, NYLON, Book Riot and The Independent recently featured Rachel in the article titled ‘The Emerging Authors To Look Out For in 2018‘.
Rachel does not hold back on all the advice and tips she’s learned from her own experiences with rejection and getting into an MFA, and she’s so generous to pass on all her wisdom including some seriously incredible querying advice. Do. Not. Miss. This.
Books & Resources Mentioned in Sabaa’s Episode:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
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Check out these highlights:
- Learn how Rachel’s writing career developed as she started writing on the side during her full-time job in London
- How Rachel made the transition to an MFA writing program after six years at her full-time job with financial stability
- Rachel and Yin unpack their similar family upbringing
- What it was like for Rachel to go through 300+ rejections for her short story
- Hear how Rachel turned her discouragement from nearly two years of rejections for her short stories into a productive opportunity to push herself to try something different by taking a novel writing class
- Rachel walks us through the experiences she’s had a year into her MFA program and how its influenced and evolved her writing
- We deep dive into the process of finding the right MFA program for yourself including specific details on what to consider
- Tips on increasing your chances of acceptance into MFA writing programs
- Excellent advice on querying
“Whenever I got rejected or I felt down about my writing, or I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere, I would try and do something productive for it. Which in my case is usually making submissions or editing a new story.”
“Letting yourself feel sad, we’re all human and it’s unhealthy to repress that as well, but at the same time once you’re done feeling sad, try to do something productive with it. Take that feeling of dissatisfaction and turn it towards something that will help you be on your way to help you get further down along the path.”
“I feel like I can learn so much from (poetry) because when I read the works from poets I admire, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, they’re doing something with language that I could never do’ and I want to learn how to do that and I want to be around them.”
Say ‘Hi’ to Rachel Heng!
Learn More About “Suicide Club: A Novel About Living”
In Rachel Heng’s debut set in near future New York City―where lives last three hundred years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming―Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.
Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever―if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange―where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold―she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.
But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead choose to live―and die―on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.
Learn More About Rachel Heng
Rachel Heng is a Singaporean novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Suicide Club, will be published by Sceptre, Hachette (UK) and Henry Holt, Macmillan (US) in July 2018 (more details here). It will also be translated and published in 8 other territories: Sweden, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic, Taiwan, China, Poland and Slovakia.
Rachel’s fiction has received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, Prairie Schooner‘s Jane Geske Award, and has been recommended by The Huffington Post, NYLON, Book Riot and The Independent. She was recently featured by The Independent (UK) in the article ‘The Emerging Authors To Look Out For in 2018‘ has been interviewed by The Straits Times and The Rumpus. Rachel’s short stories have been published or are forthcoming in Glimmer Train, The Offing, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, the minnesota review and elsewhere. She has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, the National Arts Council of Singapore and the Michener Center for Writers.
Rachel was born and raised in Singapore. After graduating from Columbia University with a BA in Comparative Literature & Society, she spent several years working in private equity in London. She now lives in Austin, where she is pursuing her MFA in Fiction and Screenwriting at UT Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. She is currently also an assistant editor for the O Henry Prize Anthology.