Next post

The next Children's Writer's World post will be on June 15th.

November 15, 2016

The Five Sense in New Orleans

Last week my husband and I vacationed in New Orleans.  Before dinner, there was some time to pen a few words.  Here are the five senses of NOLA before returning to the hotel to write.

I Hear: jazz music pouring out of bars, a guitar and violin duet on a street corner, brass bands blasting tunes, taxi drivers venting about politics, tour guides giving their spiels, a trumpeter playing outside Café du Monde

I Smell:  strong sewer odor and beer on Bourbon Street, chicken Creole, jambalaya, a fishy whiff of the Mississippi River

I See: musicians,artists, and fortune tellers in bustling Jackson Square, above-the-ground cemeteries (and Nicolas Cage's pyramidal tomb awaiting his demise), the crescent bend of the Mississippi River, old men playing chess on the sidewalk of Canal Street, tourists carrying drinks throughout the French Quarter, stately homes in the Garden District

I Taste:  rich tomato-based Creole, mouth-burning spicy etouffeé, warm sugar-dusted beignets, black coffee that needed no sugar, sweet brown sugar pralines, a Pat O’Brien virgin piña colada and a sip of a Hurricane

I Feel:  a vicioius bug bite while walking through the coarse grass of Chalmette Cemetery, the sun baking my bike helmet-covered head, chilly night time breeze during a carriage ride, uneven bricks on sidewalks, my husband’s hand in mine

November 1, 2016

Crafting a Cover Letter

When you query an editor, you must send a cover letter.  Some writers understand this important first step, and others…need a little help. 

Once I received a two-line cover letter.  The first sentence thanked me for considering the story.  The second sentence thanked me for being an inspiration to writers.  I'm not so sure about that, but this line came across as being insincere (and it did not belong in a cover letter).

A cover letter is usually one page and has about three to four paragraphs.  It should begin with a salutation to the editor.  Search the guidelines or contact page to find her name.  If you are unsuccessful, then use Dear Editor.  Addressing the salutation as:  Hello <insert magazine name> comes across as impersonal and I don't recommend it.

The first paragraph should start with the hook, an enticing one liner about the story or article. The following paragraph gives the title and word count and goes into a little more detail about the work. The final paragraph gives a short biography. Close by thanking the editor.

That’s all there is to it.  Your cover letter is critical.  It’s the first thing an editor reads.  Don’t ruin your chances of an acceptance by trying to be cute, clever, or insincere.  Make sure your cover letter is professional.  That way, an editor will be in the mood to consider your work.