When writing a story here's a crit sheet you should follow to make it publishable. Use your friends as a judge. If you don't have any friends, try family, or cats. Rate the story in each of the following categories using 1 through 5 (5 being the best): Cats seem to have a really good base with story telling and professional prose, but ask them to give a rating of 1 through paw, instead of 1 through 5: The Hook - does the story pull the reader in right away and then hold their interest? The Conflict - what is at stake in the story, and how is the tension used? Characters - are these compelling, real people whom the reader cares about? Setting and Mood - does the story make the reader feel like they are really there? Pace and Style - how well does the writer use the words to move the story along? Resolution - does it have a satisfying ending? Grammar and Spelling - this must be perfect, no exceptions. Overall enjoyment - was this a story you’d actually buy? These eight topics, worth five points each, are a good indicator of if a story is publishable or not. The higher the point total, the likelier the story can be sold. You can also give it to readers and ask them to rate your story. A score of 35 or higher is ready to be submitted to markets. Thought this might help for newbies.