Stay in character.
When you're writing, try to be consistent. Use of words, grammar, sentence structure, and so forth can be adjusted based on the person whose perspective you are writing from.
When you are not writing for any particular character, you're writing as the narrator. This is a special case, and you should try to remain impartial and non-judgemental when writing from this viewpoint.
The human mind is very good at 'fixing' spelling mistakes so we can still read it as was intended, though some spelling mistakes can cause ambiguity.
Spelling mistakes can also quickly get the focus, so the reader is not getting into your story.
In the windows world, spellcheckers and grammar checking are generally only available in word processors, such as MS Word or OpenOffice.
If you don't have a spellchecker installed, there are some available online, as a quick example, http://spellcheck.net
Break your writing into paragraphs as appropriate, and look at the length of your sentences and paragraphs.
Follow-on sentences can be written at the end of the previous one, those with a bit more of a break should be on the next line. New paragraphs should have at least one blank line before them.
Sentence rhythm and punctuation
Different punctuation can have different effects, a semi-colon causes a longer pause than a comma, an end of sentence more so.
Using the length of sentences and length of words, you can influence reading of the story, shorter words and sentences are read faster, a consistent pattern can give a strong rhythm to the words. This is more important in poems and songs, but can still be used in writing stories.
If you have the time, writing several drafts can make a big difference.
If you don't want to use drafts, then re-read each part of what you have written, both in order, and separately, to see if it reads well in both cases.
When you are writing for EL forums or similar, don't write directly into the forums, use a word processor, notepad, whatever works well for you. This also helps you to save a copy on your own computer.
When you read what you have written, read it out loud, it can help you check the flow and timing.
Short quotes can be written 'in-line', longer quotes should appear on a line of their own.
That's all I have for now, I may add more later, other people are welcome to post other tips.
Whoops, that's what I get for adding more after the spellcheck. fixed rad->read
Edited by ttlanhil, 13 May 2005 - 06:17 AM.