- Read your work out loud. You really do get to hear the "hiccups" in your dialogue, where speech seems clunky and so on.
- Write the story, edit it later. See writing and editing as two separate tasks. You need that initial creative buzz to get the story down. You can bring a cool editor's brain to the task of editing later. My worry is if you try to edit as you go, you'll find yourself getting bogged down.
- Double check spelling, grammar etc before submitting and if weak in those areas ask a writing buddy to do this for you. You never do pick up all the typos yourself. A second pair of eyes is really useful here.
- Allow enough time to do at least 3 edits - 1 for story structure, 1 for sorting out any plot weaknesses and the other to check everything before submitting. By breaking the editing task down, you get to go over your work more than once and I can almost guarantee you will find something that needs adjusting on each edit. (Another reason why 1 edit isn't enough!).
- When entering story competitions, note the deadline date and then pretend the date for submission is the one you picked the week before. This means you never miss a competition deadline and you have a bit of time in hand for that final read through.
- Read widely in all genres and non-fiction. You're feeding your mind and ideas will spark from what you've read so the more you read the better.
- Listen to radio dramas etc as again you get a feel for how dialogue should sound. You'll also be able to compare if your speech sounds "right".
- Don't use jargon or words that come in and out of favour quickly. It willl save repetition and, in any event, jargon can date a piece very quickly. Best to avoid that.
- Do submit novels etc simultaneously to different editors and publishing houses. If they show interest in your work, they can come back to you with changes they'd like to see.
- Don't give up!
Ten of the most useful writing tips I've come across are:-
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.