In honor of the snowfall in Utah today (sorry if you don’t live here and can’t make snow angels), we are going to focus on setting.
1. Rewrite the first chapter of your novel and change one or both of these things:
a. the weather/season
b. the location (Hawaii is now Alaska, Russia is now the Phillipines)
You might even imagine what would happen if the novel took place around, gasp, Christmas time. What would change? What would stay the same? Could Barnes and Noble feature it in their holiday section?
Focus on setting–weaving description into your scenes. Avoid big blocks of exposition or if you love those blocks, finding the right places to fit them in. Setting is important but can be a real downer to pacing.
If this is difficult for you, you could also take a highlighter (or use an electronic one) and highlight all your setting pieces of prose. is it enough? Too much? Is the whole thing yellow? All white?