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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finding The Humor: Because you can't argue with this


Dear Ms. Lebak:

Thank you for submitting to the Tiddlywinks List Of Excellence. You were declined for inclusion in our list because one judge indicated your piece was only 35 pages long, and we only list novel-length fiction. Plus, the last page had only "Chapter Three" followed by a couple of lines of unintelligible text that terminated abruptly. While many artists are able to carry off this effect, this is not proper manuscript format, so we feel your work would be better suited to a literary contest.

This decision may not be appealed.

Sincerely,
Beatrice Smith
Chairwoman

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Dear Ms. Smith:

I'm sorry to hear about your decision, but the book is 375 pages long and has twenty-nine chapters. I believe your judge's ebook file was corrupted and would be glad to send him or her a better copy.

Thank you,

Jane Lebak

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Dear Ms. Lebak: 

Our judges are consummate professionals, I assure you. I didn't want to give a laundry list of issues with your work, but that wasn't the only problem. Another of the judges indicated that in Chapter 25, your main character picks up her phone and consults the goddess Siri, and later on mentiones a so-called Book of Habakkuk. This puts your work firmly in the speculative or slipstream genres, and Tiddlywinks does not list works in those genres.

Thank you for your understanding.

Beatrice Smith

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Dear Ms. Smith:

Of course your judges are consummate professionals, but as your second judge had issues with Chapter Twenty Five, clearly the full text of the work does not terminate at Chapter Three.

To clarify about Siri, if you pick up your iPhone and push the button that looks like a microphone, then speak into your phone, you can say something like, "Siri, what is the Book of Habukkuk?" and receive an answer. It has nothing to do with gods and goddesses.

Please reconsider your rejection on those grounds.

Sincerely,

Jane

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Dear Jane:

Thank you! I've been having so much fun with my phone now that I know what to do with that button! I'm very glad you've reached out to me about the Tiddlywinks list, but I'm afraid we still can't accept your piece for our list because you consistently mis-spelled Pheonix, Arizona, which indicates sloppy editing. 

Also, I know Catholics have all those extra weird books in their Bibles, but Tiddlywinks doesn't want to inclue Catholic books. It's nothing personal, but maybe you should look at one of your Catholic Bibles and see who has listed it in their catalog, then see if  you can be included in those lists.

Sincerely,

Beatrice (and Siri!)

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Dear Ms. Smith:

Siri would be more than happy to verify for you the proper spelling of Phoenix, and Siri will also tell you Habakkuk is one of the twelve minor prophets included in mainstream Protestant Bibles. I did as you suggested, though, and looked up awards won by my Catholic Bible.  Happily, I found one that will interest you. You can find it listed on page five of your Tiddlywinks List Of Excellence. 

Given that you've rejected my book for an alien technology you have on your phone, a corrupted ebook file, and a misunderstanding of both proper spelling and which books are in the Protestant Bible, would you mind reconsidering my book for the Tiddlywinks List of Excellence?

Gratefully yours,

Jane

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Dear Jane:

My, you are persistent. The first letter did say this decision could not be appealed. 

Sincerely,

Beatrice Smith

PS: Normal body temperature is not 37 degrees, and you need to watch your formatting because the degree mark kept getting a C added after it. I'm just telling you this as a friend.

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Dear Ms. Smith and everyone at Tiddlywinks:

Live long and prosper.

Jane



5 comments:

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

OMG, Jane. Did all that really happen? Because I believe every single word.

Weirder things have happened in this business, but few are weirder than this!

Kimber Leigh Wheaton said...

Love it! I really needed a good laugh today...

Jane Lebak said...

Ash, I'm a satirist. Something happened. To the best of my knowledge, Tiddlywinks and Beatrice Smith do not exist, but in some sense, they exist in many places and in many ways, and we run into them far too often.

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

See, it smacked too much of realism! Testimony to the need to avoid reading into rejections...

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I've had genuine conversations with editors before over issues very much like these, later adding those editors to my "Do Not Pitch" lists, because if they're making such shallow mistakes as these, I can't trust them.