Do the characters sound the same?
Sometimes our voices come across beautifully in our prose. However, sometimes that prose is not written from our own voice but our character’s. Perhaps your book is from different perspectives of different characters. And regardless what your perspective may be, I can assume you will have different voices in your dialogue. It isn’t enough to give them different accents, nor is it enough to give them a saying, like “That’s all aces!” You have to make them separate people with separate language.
Metaphors and Similes of Doom
Do you really actually need that metaphor that you just used? Did it work like Ray Bradbury or did it just come off like a self-congratulatory undergrad? I know that we as writers have been conditioned to use imagery and figurative language whenever our brain can muster it up, but do you really need to say that she’s dressed like someone who is eloping in the thirties? Can’t you just say she’s wearing an old fashioned but pretty coat? What does that metaphor do to further your thesis along? I know you’re proud of it, but why must we read it? Make sure that everything you say on the page is relevant.
The Implications of the World
I went back and looked at an old sci-fi I wrote when I was nine. Let me preface this by saying I was nine. But the “bad guy” in the book had missed out on the mayorship of a town, and the book opens with a little boy and girl running down the street to the little boy’s father’s medical practice. Suddenly the little boy stops and says they shouldn’t go in; the bad guy’s inside talking to his father. In the middle of reading this, I realized this sounded a lot like a mob boss collecting money or intimidating in some way. I had never thought of that connection before, and I’d missed out on some really cool storytelling because of it. But it goes further than developing your main story. You have to think with your peripherals. For example, how does the action of our hero affect a man two blocks away? If Iron Man blows a building apart trying to fight the aliens, how does that affect the people inside? If a woman throws a coffee cup at her boyfriend’s head in a diner, how does that affect the waitress serving them? This makes your world a much more realized tale, and it will feel a lot richer to the audience.
What other small tidbits have you found creep up in revisions?