Ever have your manuscript critiqued and readers respond with: “It was good”? Not “great” or “I couldn’t stop reading.” I’d rather have a reader hate my work. Then I could figure out what I was doing wrong and fix it. But good is a creativity cruncher.
The key to fixing bland prose might be your protagonist. Your character may be hitting all the marks, yet you haven’t gone deep enough to find the meat of his or her personality. I’m talking about worldview. How does your protagonist filter the world?
Suppose you had two fellas. Both grew up on the streets and had short tempers. Both were annoyed by their recent coworker on a job. The coworker mouths off. One fella hauls off and smacks him. The other seals up tight and walks away. So what happened? Both men have the same back story and basic personality. What’s the difference? Worldview.
The punchy fella sees the world as what it can do for him. His time on the streets taught him to fight to survive. People have a place. When someone steps out of their role, this angers him. He’s a fixer, and therefore he doesn’t mind using brute force to fix problems (especially when they’re people).
The clammed up fella sees himself as a victim of the world. He feels his life on the street is a reflection of his own abilities. His misfortune is his fault. When someone annoys him, he sees it a reflection of himself. He still hates it, but he goes off to sulk.
Different worldviews yield different results. It takes a lot of exploration to find these world filters. Question your character. A lot. Dig deep until you can determine some truths they hold about the world.