I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards.– Philip K. Dick
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
Some of the best advice is truly simple.
Read your work aloud.
This is classic, and a great technique for hearing the rhythm and flow of your sentences. It can also help you pick up repeated words or identify places where you’ve missed a word or a typo has crept through.
But there’s only one problem with this method – since you, the author, are reading the work, you may sometimes read what you intended, as opposed to what you wrote.
And so typos may slip through, missing letters or words too.
The easiest way around this is to have someone else read the work aloud – and the more unfamiliar the voice, the better. Some authors use their Kindle for this, others a variety of apps and Adobe Acrobat also has this feature for PDFs.
Obviously the voice that reads your MS will not sound truly human, but it will read exactly what has been written, allowing you to catch errors you might usually miss.
Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.
I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.
For instance, if you were attempting to show awe you might consider showing your character:
slack-jawed, unable to move, stare etc
Of course, try not to overuse such cues, otherwise your characters will start looking like flailing cartoons.
Most importantly, context will do most of the work. For example, a shrug might suggest: confusion, disinterest or disregard, the same way a frown might show a variety of emotions.
What will really sell a scene to the reader is the whole picture.
The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos.
– Hayao Miyazaki
I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
– Erica Jong
I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.
– Joss Whedon
You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.