Spot the Signs. According to Alison Green, who writes the blog Ask a Manager, this is common practice for some industries, especially if you're leaving to work for a direct competitor. However, in those situations, you'll likely know it's coming and can prepare accordingly.
A Gracious Tone. Your resignation letter is not the time to air grudges, take passive_aggressive shots, or otherwise be unpleasant. Regardless of how you feel about your (soon to be former) job or your boss, this letter should be an exercise in professionalism and graciousness. An excellent way to do that is to say a simple "thank you." Even if you hated your job, you got something from it at some point. Focus on that positive bit if you need to.