I've been reading Miss Snarks Happy Hooker Crap-o-meter most of the week and had an epiphany early this morning.
One of the things she mentions quite often is why? Why does it matter, why should she care? I know we have to hook the reader, agent, or editor. But I applied this question to my novel and came up something I thought I'd share.
For example...in last year's NaNo novel...Dragons of Jade...I have the bad guy killing dragons. But it hit me this morning as I was snuggled under my covers trying to sleep...why does it matter if the dragons die? I need to have an important reason the killing must stop. Just cause I like dragons doesn't count. Talk about a not so polite way to wake up:--( Sure my dragons have special abilities...but what does that mean to the people in the novel? Why should they care if all the dragons are gone? I've got some pondering to do....sigh.
In a romance, we know the big stakes are the hero/heroine getting together and living happily ever after. Them not being happy is the "why it matters, why we should care". For most romance novels, that is enough.
But...for other stories...we need a powerful "why" to hook the reader.
So....take a day or two if needed. Ponder your work in progress and see if your "why" is powerful enough.