Another fantastic suggestion was to read your story out loud. I do this every single draft. I catch so many errors this way and it also tells me when something sounds unnatural. If it sounds weird when you read it out loud, then it reads weird. But its hard to see that in your own writing. Hearing it is a whole other story.
Reading your dialogue out loud also really helps to tell you if the dialogue flows well and sounds natural. In my writer's group, a problem we often see in new writers is that they have long, unbroken streams of dialogue. No one talks like that. Read it out loud and note where you pause, fidget, feel your mind wandering then use those natural beats to add in description and action.
Integration is key. You never want more than a paragraph of description, or dialogue, or exposition, or anything without breaking it up. Read it out loud and search for those natural beats. That doesn't mean anything needs to be cut. Just rearranged.
I learned a lot from Terry Kay in just one afternoon. He taught me how to outline, vary my sentences, overcome writer's block, catch my mistakes, and integrate the action in my scenes to take advantage of natural beats in dialogue and keep my stories moving. This blog is no substitution for a workshop with Terry Kay. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one, go. Otherwise, I'm glad to have had the change to pass on a bit of is wisdom.
I hope it helps.
Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with her, she rewrote it. She has always wanted to be a writer, and she spent
high school and college learning everything she could so that one day she could achieve that goal. Kaitlin graduated college with my BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and is pursuing her masters at the University of Georgia.
Her young adult fiction novel Persephone, and her short story Siren Song are available to buy in ebook stores everywhere. She also writes for Athens Parent Magazine, and truuconfessions.com. She has also published several short stories.
You can find her on her website and on Twitter @KaitlinBevis
About The Iron Queen
Death is a luxury she can't afford
Life is hell for Persephone. Zeus will stop at nothing to gain access to the living realm and the Underworld, and as the only living god with a right to both, Persephone’s in trouble. Captured and tortured beyond the limits of her resolve, Persephone must find the power to stand against Zeus. But will she be strong enough?
Meanwhile, Hades contemplates desperate measures to rescue his queen. Persephone never thought of herself as dangerous, but there’s a reason gods never marry for love. A being with the power to destroy all of creation shouldn’t place more value in one individual than the rest of the planet. But Hades...Hades would break the world for her.
To save the world and stop both Hades and Zeus, Persephone must make a difficult choice. One that may cost her everything.