A writing friend passed along this rejection letter from Lunch Hour Stories. Very nicely done! Someone took the time to put my friend’s name and the title of her story on the letter (I have erased these). There’s clear encouragement to continue submitting more of her work.
Take a closer look at that checklist (click on the thumbnail above to see a larger image). In a way, it’s a little discouraging to know that the reasons that stories are rejected fall into such neat categories: wrong word count, wrong genre, “slow,” “ordinary,” “disgusting” (I wonder how often they use that one). On the other hand, it gives a clear list of reasons a particular story might not be ready for publication. You might need to tighten it up, strengthen the ending, punch up the suspense, or see a psychiatrist. Choose any and all that apply.
I can imagine that there are writers who would not appreciate receiving such a letter. My friend, however, said that she wouldn’t mind “getting one of these every time.” Well, maybe not every time.