I’ve read a ton of pre-published manuscripts, and it’s been amazing and interesting, but here’s what is lacking in so many instances – creativity.
Seems crazy, right? Like, someone wrote and entire novel, what more could you possibly want?
Creativity in the way a character sees the world. In the way the world sees the character. Bonus if those two things work against each other.
Creativity in a character’s thoughts, actions, and the way their feelings manifest in their body and mind. The way an author can show heightened tension without shortening breaths, or thumping hearts (I’m not a purist when it comes to objective-correlative, so I think some of this is ok).
Creativity in ideas, and interestingly enough, this is the place I haven’t found lacking. There are so many fascinating story ideas out there, and so many people who write those stories, and so few people who take the time to allow their creative brains to seep into all the parts of their manuscript—beyond just the plot or premise.
Know your character so well that coffee smells different to them than it does to you. That rainy days affect them differently than they do to you. That sadness feels different to your character than it does to you. And then really dig as deep as you can, and create a person that goes beyond stereotypes and tropes let your creativity breath life into them.