“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” -- Elmore Leonard.How do I know if something sounds like writing? I read it out loud. This lets me hear the rhythm of the prose. Dialog that doesn’t sound "normal" stands out. Reading out loud is especially helpful if I attempt to have a character speak in an unnatural way. For example, the character may omit pronouns at the beginning of his sentences. It’s easy to find places where I forget and start a sentence with an I or you when I hear what is said.
I mentioned yesterday that I planned to give my current story one more try. Well, I started over, changed the point of view from third person past to first person present, and let my main character tell the story. If you’d like to read what I wrote, leave a comment. I’ll e-mail you a copy.