- Your characters need to be more distinct from each other. We all have different personalities out here. We want to identify with one character. If you make us look less-than-unique, we will get bored and decide you don’t understand us.
- Your plot needs to be more solidly structured. Cause. And effect. Which is a cause. With an effect. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Ad infinitum. All the way to the end of the line.
- Your details need to be more realistic. Did you go there? Take notes? Or did you just try to guess? “I’m pretty sure nuns wear wimples.” “I think guys who box probably sweat a lot.” “Mommy bloggers swear.”
- Your dialog needs to be more interesting. “Huh, dude,” “Yeah, dude,” “Uh. . .I’ll think about it,” is not interesting. It’s just realistic. Stop making your dialog so realistic.
- Your action needs to be better paced. “She threw the lamp, and it shattered into millions of pieces, reflecting rainbows in the sunlight after the long rain, while she screamed in anger. He picked up the fireplace tongs and ran his hand down them. They would work. He flung his arm up and warded off the attacker in the black mask with the flowing black robe who looked slightly like Uncle Mark, only more robust,” is all colorful enough, but it hardly puts the reader on the edge of their seat.
- Your exposition needs to be more profound—if you insist on using it at all. “Life is so sad,” was good enough for Madeleine Bassett, but it’s not good enough for you.
- Your language needs to be more accurate. Do you really want to say, “The Christmas packages twinkled their invitation”? Because, unless they’re covered with tinsel, packages don’t twinkle. And inanimate objects are incapable of issuing invitations. Even my cats can’t issue invitations. Be factual and straight-forward.
- Your revision needs to be more thorough. Take out every single word that doesn’t absolutely have to be there. Yes, even those. Now your sentences are all short and choppy, aren’t they? So go back and re-create flow without putting those unnecessary words back in.
Hard, isn’t it? This is called writing.