I wanted to start with the biggest tip I ever got concerning writing.
Yes, read anything and everything you can find in your genre, be it romance, sci-fi, western, whatever... read and absorb. Am I saying to copy? No, no, no. But the more you read, you'll see what works, what doesn't work, what publishers are buying.
Okay, so that sounds silly or maybe what you might call obvious. You'd be surprised. I've met plenty of aspiring writers who don't read. Their work reflects that. I've also met and become friends with MANY PUBLISHED writers who READ ALL THE TIME. They do it to improve their craft, to see what's out there, and to find new voices in writing.
So the best advice I can give anyone who wants to start writing is to read and read widely.
I sent a short story to an editor a while back. While you may recall that the editor told me: thanks, but resubmit when you have the bugs worked out.
Well, I worked out those bugs. I fixed the beginning and I think, not totally sure (Who really ever is?), that the editor will like it. She liked it enough to ask for a resub, which I've heard is rare for her. Fingers crossed!
Also, I submitted another longer story about my Air Force soldiers to WRP. I'm hoping for good things. I really feel strongly about the emotional quality of this story and hope it will resonate with readers. We shall see.
So off my soapbox and back to the bat cave.