Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dear Jane - A Rejection Letter

This week's topic at Facebook Group GB2: Blog On is 'Parody'.  Well, I'm not sure whether this is fits the topic- but it's a kind of parody of a rejection letter to an author, using (and adapting) some of the phrases I once got in a rejection letter and adding other comments that an editor might give.

I wrote a shortened version of this for GB2 about a year ago, so some members of the group may remember it, but I'll offer the newly rewritten version and hope you enjoy it.

Dear Jane

Thank you for submitting your novel.  I enjoyed your depiction of manners, morality and marriage among the landed gentry.  Your writing is assured and capable, and your character development is strong.  However the romance between the hero and heroine was very slow to develop.  I would venture to say, too, that your hero is somewhat unlikeable, being a proud and disdainful character for much of the novel. His first proposal to the heroine is so laden with insults as to her lowly status, compared with his, that our readers will not find him an attractive hero at all.
Another problem is that other issues, subplots and secondary characters received more attention than the romance, and this is not what we are looking for right now. You devote far more time to the heroine's sisters (and, indeed, her friends, cousins and other relatives) than is appropriate in a romance novel.
I would also like to make the point that your first sentence 'It is a truth universally acknowledged' etc etc is not a very memorable opening for a novel. This is you, the author, making a vague statement, whereas your opening paragraph should take us straight to the thoughts or actions of one of the main protagonists.
One final point: if you wish to submit this story elsewhere, may I suggest that ‘First Impressions’ is not the best title, and that you might consider the hero’s pride and the heroine’s prejudice instead?
I wish you every success with your work. Unfortunately, it does not meet our current requirements.  
Yours faithfully (etc, etc)


  1. This is a hoot - first line of the novel rang a bell - but I still didn't twig till I saw the pic of Mr Darcy - great :-)

  2. Hi,

    Love it! Classic rebuttal Jane might well have received if she'd subbed it today! ;)


  3. Love this, Paula--especially the comments about the opening line! No, it doesn't start "in media res" as all writing advice tells you to do these days; it's just one of the classic lines in all of literature. Good thing Jane did take the advice about the title, though.

  4. Thank you all - glad you enjoyed it, I had fun writing it!

  5. Great parody, Paula!

  6. Poor Jane. I could definitely see this happening!

  7. Very well done Paula! Love it :-)

  8. Brilliant!


  9. Wonderfully done!

  10. Very clever and very believable! Love the bit about the opening sentence, especially when it's true we're often told that about openings.

  11. Thanks all!
    Now I'm wondering whether I could try one for Charlotte Bronte? :-)

  12. My favorite line is "we're not looking for at this time" as it seems every rejection letter I have received says that somewhere in some language!
    Excellent job and oh so true.

    Bronte should be next!

  13. Or 'doesn't fit our current requirements', Jo?
    Will have a think about CB!