What if rejection letters were written by writers instead of editors?
Jane Austen: It is a truth universally acknowledged that an editor in possession of a manuscript such as yours must be in want of an antacid tablet.
Douglas Clegg: Long before this rejection letter, and well before my initiation into the mysteries of writing it, there were your many queries, bound in padded envelopes and buried deep within my inbox. They whispered of the manuscript that would come, but even then, in my innocence, I could not have predicted the horror that awaited me.
Emily Dickinson: Unpleasant a task it is for me,
To return this manuscript.
None can avoid this purple prose,
None may evade this rejection.
William Faulkner: I decline to accept this manuscript. It is easy enough to say that man is a writer simply because he will write: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one last writer like you, and a puny inexhaustible voice like yours, still writing. I refuse to accept this.
John Keats: what I feel, fair writer of an hour!
That I shall have to look upon thee more,
And again have anguish in the power
Of rejecting you;—then on the shore
Of the Hudson I shall stand alone, and think,
Till I see your manuscript into nothingness sink.
Alison Kent: Methinks someone’s knickers are going to be in a big fat wad over being exposed to explicit manuscript rejection here instead of hearts and flowers and euphemistic purple-helmeted prose apologies laced with writerly love.
Stephen King: This terrible manuscript, the manuscript that earned my rejection, the apotheosis of terrible manuscripts, which would not end until page 28 (where I stopped reading) -- if it ever did end -- began so far as I know or can tell, with a character made from cardboard floating through a chapter swollen with plot.
Holly Lisle: So my topic is to be the inadequacy of your manuscript. Joy.
Marjorie M. Liu: Given that I have so much work to do, the idea of rejecting your manuscript felt downright sinful. Sinful, I say! But I did take a peek. Dude.
Stuart MacBride: The only question is why the blue sizzling Hell they decided to ask me to reject your manuscript. My guess is that all the good authors were busy so they had to settle for a beardy half-wit instead. Which is gratifying in an ego-massaging sense, but a bit worrying at the same time (better make sure I've got presentable underwear on, just in case.)
China Mieville: A writer rejects. Pushes through cheap white-bond pages, through the purposeless chapters of this manuscript. I stared into it as if I might see something emergent. Things never came close.
Robert B. Parker: Last time I worked rejections was in 1989, when an important kiddie lit tycoon hired me to bounce his wife, who had run off with a Little Golden Books editor named Costa. Her name was, incredibly, the same as yours, but I found her manuscript to be okay. I conclude that you two are different writers.
John Rickards: There may be an actual rejection of an actual manuscript here later today, but I make no promises. I'm on a week off from doing any work, so I might just spend all day sitting here, scratching myself.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Many that write deserve publication. And some that write deserve rejection. I am not too eager to deal out rejection in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that this manuscript can be published before you die, but there is a chance of it.
James R. Winter: What is it? Oh, yeah. Manuscript. Rejected. Why? It was okay until I grok'd it around page 100, when I realized where the book was going. Nowhere.
(Feel free to add your own rejections -- and those of other writers -- in comments.)