There are a million things writers need to worry about when revising a manuscript. Scratch that. There are a GAZILLION things we have to stress about.
6. Blah, blah, blah
So you've got what you think is a great novel. But maybe you only think it's great. Maybe it's a long slog that puts people to sleep and makes them wish they were reading a trigonometry textbook instead.
That's a problem.
Today I was reading Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. (Yes, again.) One of the very first chapters talks about conflict. We all know we need conflict in our stories, but have you ever gone back to each scene to see if you're increasing conflict?
Bickham says each scene must have the following:
1. A goal. Stephanie needs to go to Egypt to research Hatshepsut's temple.
2. Introduction or development of conflict. Stephanie is a starving college student (thank goodness I'm not anymore) and can't afford to pay for the trip.
3. A tactical DISASTER, a failure to reach the goal. Stephanie starts panhandling on the street, but people only give her doughnuts and EgyptAir won't accept doughnuts as currency, no matter how much chocolate they have slathered on them.
DUN DUH DUH!
Your protagonist should end each scene worse off than where he/she started. Otherwise, you've decreased conflict and now your reader doesn't care about the story anymore.
Now, Bickham cautions against making the goals too small or too large, but that's a post for another time. If you're revising, have you checked to make sure each of your scenes contains the necessary ingredients?