Read it aloud.
Comments: No matter what the piece of writing, read it aloud before you consider a draft finished.
We were an aural/oral culture long before we were a written culture, and the ear is still the best way to fine-tune a piece of writing, and to hear its intrinsic music. And if it doesn’t sing, why the hell are you wasting your time and ours on it?
No exceptions. Poetry, prose, screenplay, grocery list. A piece is not finished until it SOUNDS right, too.
Biography of Richard Beban: Richard Beban, author of the poetry books, What the Heart Weighs (Red Hen Press, Los Angeles, 2004) and Young Girl Eating a Bird (Red Hen Press, Los Angeles, 2006), turned to poetry in 1993 after spending more than 30 years as a journalist, and then a television and screen writer.
Beban’s poetry has appeared in more than 50 periodicals and literary Websites, and in 17 national anthologies in the US and Britain, and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has been a featured reader at more than 150 venues, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Berkeley’s late, lamented Cody’s Books, and Shakespeare & Company in Paris, France. His Website is <http://www.beban.org>.