Reject a Hit: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Let’s step once again into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure? This contribution comes from Chris Gay of Manchester, Conn., who found Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol to be as tedious as a bowl of plum pudding.
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HOW TO ENTER REJECT-A-HIT Ever wish you could be the one doing the rejecting? Take the WD challenge by humorously rejecting a hit in 400 words or fewer. Send your letter to wdsubmissions@fwmedia.com with “Reject a Hit” in the subject line. Yours could appear in a future issue! (Submitted pieces may be edited for space or clarity.)

Let’s step once again into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure?

This contribution comes from Chris Gay of Manchester, Conn., who found Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol to be as tedious as a bowl of plum pudding.

19 December 1843
Dear Mr. Charles Dickens:

Regretfully, we have elected to reject A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Our primary issue is its preposterous main premise. We will grant that readers may indeed be willing to accept the idea of four omnipotent ghosts returning to Earth to do good for the betterment of mankind. However, it stretches the boundaries of credibility to their very limits to expect anyone to believe a CEO would repent his ways via voluntary monetary penance. Pay his secretary’s mortgage? Double his salary? Are you certain, Mr. Dickens, that you did not intend to submit this manuscript to our humor publishing subsidiary?

Furthermore, though we respect your sincere attempt to present the public with an uplifting, enduring yuletide classic, we feel any positive message your literary work may convey would ultimately be overshadowed by its extension of the waning popularity of plum pudding at Christmas. Quite frankly, plum pudding sucks, and we do not wish to bear any responsibility for inflicting more such pudding on England for decades to come.

Another issue we have with A CHRISTMAS CAROL is that of Ebenezer Scrooge’s so-called redemption. It is more of a self-preservation, is it not? The unamiable Mr. Scrooge sees fit to dole out tongue-lashings and biting sarcasm to the first timid yet good-natured apparitions he encounters. Only when the final specter, Death, pays him a visit does Scrooge’s tune change, and right quick. Really Mr. Dickens, would you have us believe that his reaction to the Grim Reaper’s ultimatum is in actuality some earnest conversion? Nice try.

In conclusion, it is our belief that the greatest impact A CHRISTMAS CAROL could have would be
various movie adaptations. Unfortunately, the old saying “Timing is everything!” is particularly relevant in your case, as motion pictures are still half a century away. In fact, Alastair Sim won’t even be born for another 57 years. Sorry. If it serves as any consolation, I will be required to read your unbearably lengthy GREAT
EXPECTATIONS sometime around 1990.

Sincerely,
Christopher J. Gay
Senior Editor/Sarcastic Prodigy


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