Ten Steps to Writing Hot Short Stories That Publishers will LOVE...
1. Start as close to the conflict or inciting event as possible.
2. Invite a limited number of characters to join your fictional world (2 or 3, maybe 4).
3. Make sure your main character wants something, then place obstacles in their way. This will help generate reader empathy.
4. Craft 'rounded' characters who exhibit different shades of personality. Readers connect with characters who are human-like, displaying appealing and not so appealing traits.
5. Strive to be unique. This means avoiding cliches of any sort...expression, character, plotlines, etc.
6. Invite an (imaginary) Ideal Reader to come along for the ride...they'll push you to produce your best material and tell you when you're losing the plot, literally.
7. Edit like a boss and interrogate every word in your narrative. Check for story cohesion, rising tension, a logical plotline, the use of a believable setting (it can be a fantasy-oriented world, but readers still need sufficient detail to 'buy-in), purposeful dialogue, character consistency (don't have a character do something utterly unbelievable), and resonance (allow themes to shine through).
8. Format dialogue correctly and consistently. This is closely related to the above point, yet so important it's a stand-alone step in producing hot writing. If you're unsure about how to punctuate dialogue, then study sample texts written by those who've got it right.
9. End your story soon after the peak of tension. No one enjoys a story that drags on.
10. Approach a wide array of journals, magazines and online publication sites, but target them effectively. You must not only fulfill their submission guidelines (i.e., RULES), but also check your writing style and story content fits the bill.