1. First sentence. It all rides on the first sentence, so go all out. Do not start with the long, extended description of the train. Start instead with the sentence that had been on page 2 (the belly shirt, the blowjob bracelets, the gum). This is the sentence that started the story in the first place, that drove you to write it, though no one would know that. Now they do.
2. Thickness. Readers are scared of thickness. If the staple gets bunched on the back, the story is too long.
3. Desperation. Not good. Don’t let the reader know you have it.
4. White space gives air. Air allows readers to breathe. Try not to choke people with your monster paragraphs.
5. Who cares where you put your commas. Who cares if you do not have a question mark at the end of this sentence. No one, that’s who. Punctuation is for work. Inspiration is for now.
6. More stories is better than one story that you send out and wait NINE MONTHS for an answer on. In nine months an entire human being could be gestated, grown, and born. Nine months should be a long enough time to write more than one story.
7. Sometimes all you can do on a Friday afternoon away from work is decide on that first sentence. Paste it up there. Look at it some. Twist your hair. Check your Facebook. No, don’t check your Facebook. Go back to your story. Look at it some more. Think Hmmmm. Look at the rest of the page, realize how much editing you’ll have to do now to make it work. Try not to give up and go home.
8. Don’t give up.
9. Don’t give up.
10. Don’t give up. (It’s worth repeating.)