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Rejections: Helpful, Encouraging, Motivating

I was very intrigued by your call for rejection letters. Several years ago I, and the other entrants to a very small independently-run writing contest, received the general response below (the “sweet childhood story” referred to my entry). Based on these comments, I revised my story which was later published as “The Costume” on

So yes, rejection can be helpful, encouraging, and even motivating! – Francine Garson


Costumed characters near the Arsenale at the 2010 Carnevale in Venice (IMG_9206a)

photo credit: Frank Kovalchek via Flickr


I was pleased by one of the two snail mail submissions (the winner was the other one). The main issue I had with this submission was the ending. A very sweet childhood story with too high of a contrast between the first 1,900+/- words, and the last 25. The first 1900 were sweet and whimsical, and the last 25 were too dark and dramatic for that context. It’s not a problem with content, but simply with the way it was worded. A couple of sentences of buildup, or three or four retrospective words after a comma, might give it some blend. Besides this, it was a beautifully executed story, that I read impressed, and I pray to read this author’s work again. It was so well done that I was sure to check, to see if I was dealing with a published novelist.



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About Atticus Books

Atticus Books is a fiery multimedia press based in Madison, N.J. We specialize in genre-busting literary fiction and compelling narratives that feature memorable main characters. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we receive no nourishment from Uncle Sam, nor do we eat small children for breakfast. We do nurture the creative minds and bruised egos of starving writers worldwide.

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