With two first drafts finished I am busy rewriting. My first draft is usually me writing as the book flows through my fingers. It is during rewrites that I begin all the nitty gritty. It is the time to make sure that my characters stand on their own, have real presence and take active and emotional parts in the novel.
The first time Jason Black, my book doctor, looked at a previous manuscript of mine, the thing he stated over and over was that my main character was not taking an active role in the story. She was being passive as things acted upon her. This thought stoked my fire. Now as I rewrite I make sure my main character is not just watching things from behind a curtain or joining the crowd. She is the one that steps into the room and confronts things and she is the leader of the crowd that spurs everyone else to action.
In The Writer magazine, Dec 2009 edition, book doctor Elizabeth Lyon gave a check list to writers working on rewrites. She first asks if your characters are underdeveloped and producing inadequate depth, dimension or interest. She says to watch out for flat characters!
Next she asks if you have passive characters who watch rather than act, or who are on the defensive, or whose actions are not bound by conflicts. Voila- my original problem.
Do your characters have chemistry? or are there way too many or too few characters.
Definitely good points for any writer to review.
Links- http://www.writermag.com/ and http://www.plottopuncuation.com/ (Jason Black)