Fifty Ways to Say Unfortunately

Rejection. Any writer who stays the course will learn there are more ways to tell you that you suck than you ever thought possible. Of course these missives aren’t really directed at you, per se. We’re taught that editors, agents and your mother just can’t use what you’ve got right this moment. Or right this century. It’s a timing thing, like laughing over a you-had-to-be-there joke.
There are many ways to reject a writer. How about these?
“While your material is interesting, it does not suit our editorial needs at the present time. Our editorial needs call for a a beer keg, a chair massage and two tickets to Maui.”
“Due to the high volume of really crappy work we receive, we are unable to tell you this personally, so consider yourself officially pathetic.”
“We humbly suggest you take up another hobby, and please don’t bug us ever again or we’ll mail you a package containing bed bugs.”
So many fresh-faced writers try to squeeze encouragement out of these form rejections. “OOOH,” one will say, “the editor says my novel has potential!” Yeah, right before she writes that the potential is for providing scratch paper for her preschooler.
“The agent wrote that my style is unique!” And I’m thinking, unique is a synonym for you-make-me-want-to-hurl. Sigh.
How do we survive this stuff?
Miss Crankypants has received many many rejection letters, and she knows a thing or two about how to crush one’s writer’s ego in one fell swoop. After studying her vast library of saved rejection slips, she has developed a sure-fire way to cut down on time wasted while wading through the condescending language. You simply scan the message for one word. That word is: (drum roll) UNFORTUNATELY.
Really. It’s all you need to know. Now go get a keg (of root beer if you must), a chair massage and a ticket to Maui.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “Fifty Ways to Say Unfortunately

    • In the old days of actual paper rejections, it always seemed the more prestigious the publication, the chintzier the rejection slip. Once I got a rejection from The New Yorker that was a a blurry xeroxed square with teensy type. And the square wasn’t even printed straight on the page. I had to tilt my head in order to read it.
      Nowadays, they don’t spring for paper, though. They just ignore you. It’d serve ’em right if we all sent in a crappy limerick, over andover. Or even better: we all send in the SAME crappy limerick. Thanks for commenting, Heather. ~Linda

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