Here's something to galvanize you as NaNoWriMo 2011 rolls to a close. On August 29, 1949, The Atlantic Monthly sent this rejection letter to a 27-year-old Kurt Vonnegut, who had submitted his account of surviving the Allied bombing of Dresden (plus two other articles) to the magazine.
And as you may know, Vonnegut's time as a POW in Dresden would later inform his time-jumping novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which would hit the scene two decades later. Here's the transcript of the rejection letter:
Dear Mr. Vonnegut:
We have been carrying out our usual summer house-cleaning of the manuscripts on our anxious bench and in the file, and among them I find the three papers which you have shown me as samples of your work. I am sincerely sorry that no one of them seems to us well adapted to for our purpose. Both the account of the bombing of Dresden and your article, "What's a Fair Price for Golden Eggs?" have drawn commendation although neither one is quite compelling enough for final acceptance.
Our staff continues fully manned so I cannot hold out the hope of an editorial assignment, but I shall be glad to know that you have found a promising opening elsewhere.
(Signed, 'Edward Weeks')
Via Letters of Note. Image: Thomas Vance.