A Hint for Our Contributors

We are always happy to receive submissions and we want all our “query-ers” (queriers?) to be happy too. So from time to time we like to post ways you can make it more likely that your submission will be successful.

Today’s hint:  Don’t write a list. By list, we don’t mean the famous Internet format. We don’t do a lot of lists, but we aren’t against that. What we mean is the piece that tries to cover a life time’s worth of experiences in 1000 words.

You end up with a virtual list. “I remember the time I got cancer. The diagnosis made me sad. Then I had surgery. Then I had chemotherapy. Gosh, was that hard. I threw up a lot. Finally, I got better. Thank God!”

The problem with this, is that even if it is well written, is that it doesn’t engage the reader. There is no urgency or emotional connection. The reader is left asking why should I read this, and why should I care? So how does a submitting author avoid this pitfall?

Answer: Narrow down your focus! DON’T try to tell us all about your 20 year battle in 1500 words. Instead tell us about some defining incident, some critical day, critical fifteen minutes, some amazing insight…anything, but make it personal, make it focused and make it immediate.

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