How to Write a Perfect Cover Letter for a Short Story Submission
Editors see mounds of bad cover letters. A lot of new writers submit short stories with little or no guidance and end up submitting cover letters that are either overenthusiastic or lacking the necessary information.
What you must know is that cover letters for different genres follow different sets of rules and etiquette. For example, an editor doesn’t expect you to write a cover letter for short fiction in the same format you would craft a query letter for a novel submission.
Your cover letter is, most often than not, the first thing an editor sees and you have to be on point to create a strong first impression. Some editors that I have interacted with said that they read the cover letter after reading your short stories, and they admit that some cover letters convince them to go back to the story and reevaluate it.
Luckily for you, I have compiled tips on just how to go about crafting a good cover letter that can make a ‘strong first impression’ and influence the editor’s aftertaste after savoring your stories.
How to Write Great Closing Lines
1. Be Poetic
Simple words, if used creatively, can take on a poetic, symbolic form. It’s not a must that you end a short story poetically, so don’t try too hard. Sometimes, a poetic ending can happen by chance.
2. Use Impeccable Wording
It’s not that easy, but you have to make sure that you revise your last sentence over and over until every word in it sounds perfect, and every period, comma, or dash is in its place.
The truth of the matter is you are not a poet (well, some of you sure aren’t), and coming up with a poetic ending is a tough ask. But, you can still give your most important sentence—the closing line—some time and effort and keep housekeeping your ending until it’s just perfect.
How to Write a Short Story: The Complete Guide in 9 Steps
Novels are difficult to write because of size, but short stories are difficult because they require perfection.
If a minor character fails to come alive in a novel, you can forgive the error because there is so many other things to enjoy, but if a minor character falls flat in a short story, a reader will become annoyed and a literary magazine editor will throw it away.
In a short story, a writer has to accomplish a great deal — details, setting, conflict, plot, character development — in a very small space, usually between 3,000 words and 6,000 words, and that requires concision and revision. Read the tips below to find out how to write a short story that will get published, get readers that love you, and get attention from an agent.
The first step to writing a short story is to have an idea.
You can get inspiration fromreal-life events – whether they happened to you, a grandparent who told you a story, or even the combination of little tidbits you hear from here and there.
I suggest following a few “weird news” sites,
because I’ve gleaned incredible stories including one about a tourist in Iceland who joined a search party only to discover she was the one being searched for, and another about an ex-Olympian who started prostituting herself not for money but for attention. Take nonfiction and transform it into fiction.
Now, decide whose eyes the story will be told through. Remember, you can’t switch halfway through the story. Once you pick a point of view, you have to stick with it. A good rule of thumb for beginning writers is to use the protagonist.
Your job as a writer is to develop a living, breathing character, and the only way to do that is to make sure you know more about your characters than what you ever let your reader know.
Write out everything there is to know about your character from their high school GPA, their earliest memories, and their home address to their first love, their favorite TV show, and their greatest fear.
- Don’t outright explain your character’s appearance, personality, etc. Let readers discover this character on their own as they read.
- Give your character weaknesses. Perfect people don’t exist.
- Give your character at least one unique characteristic. Everyone knows the independent, stubborn female character who is small, stronger than she looks, not very pretty (at least in her own opinion), and can fight like the devil. But does she play the flute? Does she have an embarrassingly ugly laugh? Does she notice the smell of everything?
- If you must have an outright description of a character, make it seem natural. Have the character describe him or herself to another character, or have one character describing the other character to someone else.
Make sure to have conflict. Don’t set up the conflict, start your story right in the middle of the conflict. This is called, “In Media Res.” It means to start in the middle of the action so the reader isn’t bored.
Make sure to “have something at stake.” In other words, what happens if the characters don’t get what they want? It should be something that ruins them. If there is nothing at stake in your story, you need to “raise the stakes.”
There’s a difference between writing an anecdote (the type of story you would tell a friend over dinner) and a quality short story (the type of story where readers are set inside the action).
1. I’m a pretty easy going person. I get along with everyone including the obnoxious guys from my hometown, but there’s a certain event that rolls around every year that puts most of them on the wrong side of the fence from me. These “couple” games are all athletic based and are meant to build trust and teamwork between “couples,” but no one cares for that. Everyone is after the prize money. Unfortunately, I am pathetically unathletic, so none of the athletic guys from my town have ever wanted to team up with me. I’m too “small,” “weak,” “uncoordinated,” and “clumsy.” They’re not wrong.
2. My eyes scanned the auditorium, but all of the boys seemed to be avoiding my gaze. Basketball scholarship boy was excitedly whispering with the tumbling queen of University of the Cumberlands cheer squad, and the soon-to-be marine was already exchanging information with the girl who had broken our high school hurtle record. Only Seth, the art major who assisted in coaching the middle school soccer team met my eyes with a malicious grin as he put his arm around his most recent fling – a rock-climbing pro from Etowah.
Telling will give the reader the facts, but showing engages their mind, emotions, and imagination. Sometimes it’s good and necessary to give the cold, hard facts (such as emails to your boss), but the writing we’re interested in makes the reader feel something. A story like this will engage the reader in such a way that he or she won’t easily forget it.