Mid-Week Prompt: Rejecting the Rejection

Hey writers,

Not too long ago, a strange thing happened in the storied submissions intake department of WD (my cluttered desk). In short, a writer pitched us a pretty solid idea, but we had run something similar in a previous issue, so I sent a polite “no,” and explained the situation.  

My e-mail pinged an hour later: “Can I reject this rejection?”

I sat there, brainstorming faux-clever responses galore, from the dashing one-liner to the form letter (a triple play!), and eventually X’d the e-mail out.

Still, I found it hilarious, and often wonder what her letter would have entailed, had it gone into greater depth.

Also, a tip of the prompt hat to Beth Cato, whose “That Strange Day” piece is this week’s Notable Story pick. Next week, guest judge/WD Editor Jessica Strawser and I will pick our favorite story for the monthly swag giveaway.

Have a great Wednesday,


PROMPT: Rejecting the Rejection
In 500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring:

You’ve had it. You can’t take it any more. You decide to reject a rejection letter.  

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

10 thoughts on “Mid-Week Prompt: Rejecting the Rejection

  1. cheap mbt shoes

    The benefits of Masai Barefoot Technology include improved gait and posture, relieves joint pressure in the back, there’s a multitude of muscles that are worked when walking or standing, thus the Cheap MBT Shoes assistant sting calories and stimulates metabolism.
    MBT Ema MBT Habari MBT ImaraMBT Kisumu MBT Kisumu 2MBT Katika MBT Panda MBT Pia MBT Salama MBT Sapatu MBT Sawa MBT Sirima MBT Staka MBT Tabia MBT Fumba Mens MBT ImaraMens MBT Kisumu Mens MBT Kisumu 2MBT Unono
    Toms Shoes

  2. jared david

    I’d rather do this in person, or even over the phone, but since you won’t return my calls and seem to think breaking up with me an appropriate e-mail subject, I will play along and reject your breakup through the same channel.

    You may have known of me for a few months, but the past few weeks of getting to know me one on one certainly does not provide the grounds for a break up. What do you really know about me? Nothing of my family, nor my values, dreams or many random facts and quirks that make me, me. I don’t know much about you either, except what you look like, what you do for a living that you love animals and crafting, hate talking politics or religion too early and that spicy Asian food disagrees with you. I don’t think that is enough to cross you off (your e-mail doesn’t help, but I’ll get past it; I like the feast!). I believe it’s fair to assume you know similar things about me, so what is the problem? Everything seemed to be going well, you said so yourself. And we are compatible…except for the crafting, but I have my comics and of course we need some ‘we’ time.

    So unless your physical attraction to me has faded, compatibility is a huge turnoff, you’re extremely shallow or a liar, I decline your breakup attempt and look forward to seeing you this weekend. I have an outdoor afternoon planned, weather permitting, so bring a jacket.

    Yours possibly,

  3. Mark James

    Who do you think you’re rejecting? I got ants in my cereal with bigger brains than you.

    What’d you say? You don’t like my writing? Lemme see. Says here, “Your writing lacks direction. Your characters are paper thin and your dialogue is pompous and dry.”

    Is that right?

    You think everyone’ s freakin’ Shakespeare waitin’ to happen?

    I’m just sayin’. I ain’t no Lord Byron, but, for the love of God, it’s a crime thriller!

    You must forgive my momentary lapse into the vernacular. I am quite the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at times, and I’m afraid you’ve heard from my lesser half first. However, unlike my lesser half, I fully understand how tiresome the countless responsibilities of literary genius can be, especially when dealing with lesser, dimmer luminaries such as yourself.

    I am undaunted by this. Like Hercules with the Augean stables, I shall not shrink from my arduous duties, rather shall I rise to this task, and bear my burden with grace.

    At any rate, having successfully distracted my lesser half from his momentary considerations of the finer points of homicide in a location precisely consistent with the return address on the proposed rejection notice, I have decided to do you the honor of correcting a mistake that you, your children and their children would live to regret.

    I therefore put you on notice that I reject your rejection letter on the grounds that you are doing the reading public a gross disservice in refusing to allow my literary light to spill forth into the public arena. My work would bring much needed illumination to vast fields of literary wastelands, yes – it must be said – wastelands, where the unfortunate reader toils beneath the groaning yoke of ignorance, consumed in the hideous darkness of poor taste, forever hidden from the light of literary excellence.

    Although it pains me to lower myself to the vulgarity of pecuniary concerns, I must say I look forward with great anticipation to the sizeable deposit which your firm shall cause to be made into my bank account, which sum shall represent your advance to me, after re-reading Chapter One with an appropriate understanding and appreciation of my genius.

    I really don’t understand how one can reject anything based upon a single chapter; and why yes, of course that’s all there is at this time. If you were at all qualified for your job (which, it has become woefully obvious, you are not), you would understand that genius takes time.

    I forgive your error. Genius must learn to forgive the inevitable failings of the merely competent. My heart has been gladdened by this opportunity to enlighten you so that we may see eye to eye, and correct this monstrous misunderstanding.

    Rest assured, upon receipt of my advance, I shall commence with Chapter Two of “The Pie, The Shepherd, and Mud in His Eye.”

    Having saved your firm from this most regrettable error, I look forward to hearing from you.

    Writer on the Edge

  4. Walt Wojtanik

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    Unacceptable! I am aghast at your obvious lack of ability to discern greatness in the written form. How a person like you, with no knowledge or good taste could have secured a position such as yours, is beyond me.

    In a purely illogical mistake, you had inadvertently sent a rejection notice to my address, when surely it was intended for another no talent incompetent with which you could identify most.
    It’s not your fault; you didn’t know what you were doing. Chalk it up to your illiteracy, or idiocy, or any other malady you possess that begins with an "i".

    Save yourself the extreme embarrassment. Get a good night’s rest, have a nutritious breakfast, and this time put your bifocals on when you read my manuscript. I’d hate to have you lose your job for letting me slip through your sizable sausage-like fingers and into the hands of your competitors. The fact of the matter is I chose your firm to publish my inspiring work, so your rejection is rather a moot point. I have decided not to let you, let me take no for an answer.

    And to show you there are no hard feelings, I will dedicate my next two books (of the seven book deal you will sign me to) to you and your occupational therapist.

    There is one more favor you can do for me. Who do I talk to about having this restraining order lifted? I mean, after all, we will be working closely together from now on and what’s a few physical threats amongst associates? I’ll be awaiting your sincerest apology.

    Writefully yours,

  5. Aaron Dougherty

    An alarm blared outside Frank’s fourteenth floor office door and the lights went out. Only sunlight remained, lighting the room through cracks in the window blinds. Frank reached for the Walther P22 he kept stashed in a leather holster under his desk.

    His door crashed opened revealing two of his armed guards in the doorway, both dressed identically in black suits with matching black ties. Dark sunglasses hung from their suit pockets. They even had identical buzzed hair cuts.

    "Sir," said the one on the left, "we have to get you to safety." He breathed evenly, as he scanned the room.

    "The building has been breached," continued the other.

    "Do you know who it is, yet?" Asked Frank. He followed the two men to an emergency stairway on the opposite side of a sea of cubicles from his office. "FBI? CIA?"

    Frank started the company ten years ago. Back then it was a simple operation. He was a private investigator who specialized in cases that the police were too busy to take. As time passed he hired some muscle and took on more dangerous cases, such as finding kidnapping victims, or protecting a woman from her alcoholic boyfriend.

    "Up here sir, we have a chopper waiting for you," one of the guards said. He held open the stairwell door.

    The private investigation business was now just a front for his real business. Frank oversaw a network of mercenaries that took on any job if it paid well. Revenge was a lucrative business, whether a woman wanted to exact revenge on her cheating boyfriend, or a group of African businessmen wanted to see a small nation toppled. Frank took them all, and he had the expertise and organization to handle it.

    They reached the top of the stairwell. One of the guards tried to open the door, and slammed against it.

    "Locked?" asked the other.

    Frank could hear someone running up the stairs just below him.

    The first guard examined the door, "It’s been welded shu-"

    A thunderous bang sounded and a white light filled the stairwell. A flash grenade. Frank tried to focus his eyes, but he could only see faint shadows swirling around him. Through the ringing in his ears he could hear two muffled gun shots.

    As his vision cleared, he could see a solitary man standing before him, holding a Glock .45.

    "Just one man?" Asked Frank.

    With his free hand, the man held reached into his pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper, from which he read aloud.

    "Dear sir or madam. Thank you for your interest in Johnson Investigative Services. Unfortunately we do not feel you posses the skill set required to act as an operative in our organization."

    The man crumpled the sheet of paper in his fist, and let it fall to the ground.

    "Sir, I kindly reject your rejection," he said. A wry smile grew on his face, and he fired a single shot.

  6. De Jackson

    To Whom it May Confuse

    Dear Sir or Madman,

    I object.
    I reject your rejection.
    For rejections aren’t fine, fair, or fun.
    If you mind, you will find, on reflection,
    That my poem was second to none.

    I can face and embrace imperfection
    But your negative “no’s” are too much.
    Now it’s known, for my own prose protection
    That a phrase you appraise, I won’t touch.

    I refuse to confuse non-affection
    With the “constructive” things you have said.
    And please know, I’ll heed no small direction
    From one who writes only in red.

    I’ve a wall down the hall, one big section
    Where my failures are faithfully hung.
    I won’t add to my sad, cold collection
    One more wallpapered slip of the tongue.

    I’ve got verb, noun and verve for inspection
    and I’m waiting for just a wee nod.
    If fine form is your norm, my selection
    is just slightly less glorious than God.

    Such a shame that the same circumspection
    You apply to deny one her due
    Can’t be burning, returning De-jection
    Pawned back on to the likes of YOU.

    And that’s why I elect
    (Yes, you heard me correct.
    I mean no disrespect,
    really, what’d you expect?)
    to deflect
    and reject
    your rejection.

    Respectfully, rejectfully yours,
    De J. Jackson

  7. J. Alvey


    I regret to inform you that your rejection of my manuscript on the grounds that it ‘does not fit our needs at this time’ has been rejected on the grounds that it does not fit MY needs at this time.

    Please be assured, sir, that acceptance or rejection of rejection is subjective, and that others who have submitted manuscripts to you are sure to read your rejection of their manuscripts with much more acceptance, submission, even, I daresay, with the utter dejection and hopelessness that you secretly desire.

    I will be expecting an advance in the next couple of weeks commensurate with the sort of advance you typically provide to a King, a Grisham, a Koontz, along with, I think it goes without saying, prior approval of all pre-release marketing blurbs.

    Obviously, I will need to be apprised well in advance of the arrival of your photographer to take my backcover picture, as I tend to look a bit scruffy on most days, and want to look my very best for the commencement of my immortality within the literary universe.

    I thank you again for submission of your well-written rejection letter. While this one will not be accepted, please do not hesitate to send future rejection letters our way, as our needs shift along with the market and our prevailing mood.


    J. Alvey

  8. Don Kowalewski


    "Good evening, ma’am, I’m Steven Groszinski from Starski’s Windows & Doors calling to offer a free quote and inspection of your home’s energy efficiency as it relates to…"

    "Oh, thank you, but I’m not interested. Have a good…"

    "Oh, no, thank you. I appreciate your honesty, but I’m not interested."

    "Pardon, me?"

    "Ma’am, I’ve added your phone number numerous times to the National Do-Not-Answer Database, yet every time I call, you answer. And I appreciate you answering, but I’m not interested in hearing you say ‘no’, again."

    "But. You called me and I was…"

    "Ma’am. I’m going to have to discuss this with my supervisor. Would you mind holding on the line while I patch him into this call? And may I also remind you that this call may be monitored for quality purposes only?"

    "Well, I guess. Or we could just hang up…"

    "I’m sorry ma’am, but not this time. I’ve had it! I can’t take it anymore! I’m really not very pleased to hear your voice again and for you to be rejecting my free quote and energy inspection. I’d like to discuss with my supervisor."

    "Gee, I …um …I’m sorry. Yes. I’ll hold. If there’s any way I can make this right, I’d like to …hello?"

    "Yes, hello?"

    "Ma’am, are you still there?"

    "Yes. I’m here."

    "Hi, ma’am. I’m Jim Starski and Steven here says that you aren’t interested in any quote or inspection? Is that right?"

    "Yes …that’s right."

    "Well, we’ve called you numerous times in the past, and you’ve refused our free quote each time, and we’ve added your number to the National Do-Not-Answer Database, yet you still answer the phone."

    "Well, I didn’t know it was …I didn’t know who was calling before I answered."

    "I see. And you don’t have caller ID? Is that it?"

    "Well, no, I have caller ID. I just didn’t look at it …and, well, I answered …"

    "You answered so that you could refuse our free quote and energy inspection where it would have been much easier to ignore the call all together."

    "I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t mean to …"

    "Steven is a very busy telemarketer, ma’am. His time is very valuable and when someone who’s already turned him down answers his call and makes him run down his long ‘Overcoming Objections’ cheat sheet, and he’s keeping you on the phone for a minute, or longer, it’s costing Starski’s Windows & Doors time and money."

    "I never looked at it that way, but it was an honest mistake …"

    "That’s great ma’am, but this doesn’t address the main issue which is your obvious delight in telling people ‘no’ and refusing kind, friendly service, a free quote and energy analysis, and the most efficient double paned UV free windows in the tri-county area."

    "No, it’s not that, it’s just …what can I do to make this right?"

    "Well, you could start by letting a five-star representative come out to your house and assess your needs and talk to about how new windows and doors would affect your annual expenditures on heating and cooling and listen to our many financing options."

    "OK, well, that sounds fine."

    "Thanks, ma’am. I’ll hang up now and Steve will arrange a date and time. Thanks for answering a call from Starski’s Windows & Doors."