Here are some miscellaneous comments related to the slush pile...
Of course, the only rule of writing is there are no rules to writing. :)
- Please do not give a synopsis of your story in the cover letter. It gives me the idea that you think your story is confusing. If your story is confusing, explaining it in the cover letter won't help.
- Please do not use giant fonts or weird formatting in your story. It's distracting and it makes me think you are an inexperienced story-teller. (Along those same lines, don't tell me this is the first story you've ever written.)
- Please do not submit stories of more than 7000 words. This is outside our word limit and honestly, if you can write a story of ~7400 words are you sure you can't find 400 words to cut? If I was going to give one overall tip for everyone it would be: make your story shorter. Cut everything that doesn't need to be there.
- It is not recommended that you use sentences of more than 100 words. Can you say 'run on'? Related to this: generally, don't repeat a word multiple times within a sentence.
- Generally, a story needs to have a protagonist.
- Generally, a protagonist needs to do something in the story. If no one does anything, it's not really a story, IMHO.
- Don't start your story with the protagonist waking up. Don't start your story with the protagonist dreaming. Don't start your story with the protagonist opening the front door.
- Don't write a story about real-life political figures or other famous people.