What distinguishes one's writing from someone else's writing? Voice. One of the most important things you can give your story is your voice, and everyone's voice is different.
The author's voice, of course, generally belongs to a character, generally the main character. But you are not born with this voice. It has to be honed, developed, and used unconsciously. If you spend your efforts concentrating on your characters and on your story, your voice will come through more naturally. It takes time and lots of practice.
Spend time analyzing your writing. Is it flat, strained, or awkward? Does it seem forced or vague? Check the sentences before and after. Read your work out loud. Does it ring true or false? Highlight areas that you feel need work and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Listen to your characters, know them intimately. Why? Because not only does your writings carry your voice, but each character has his or her own voice.
Self-editing demands that you keep rewriting until your voice as well as each character's voice sounds right. If you listen, you will hear your voice.
Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books: The Bible Murders
Member of: Sisters In Crime
Member of: Writers On the Move