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.
Author:
Publish date:

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


Become a Writer’s Digest VIP Today!
Sign up to become a VIP now and you’ll get:

Image placeholder title
  • 1-year pass to WritersMarket.com
  • 1-year subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine
  • 10% off all WritersDigestShop.com orders
  • 10% off Writer’s Digest University workshop registrations
  • And more!

Click here to join and enjoy all these benefits for a fraction of the cost.

Tags
terms:
reject a hit
Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

A memoir is an open window into another's life—and although the truth is of paramount importance, so too is grabbing hold of its reader. Writer Tasha Keeble offers 3 tips for writing a memoir everyone will want to read.

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Bestselling and Giller Prize-shortlisted author Zoe Whittal discusses the complexity of big life decisions in her new novel, The Spectacular.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 582

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a transition poem.