But alas, I'm no doubt a better /editor/ of fiction than a /writer/ of fiction simply because I love line editing, bringing a story up, line by line, to a higher state of readability, while I'm incredibly deficient at worldbuilding. Maybe I just don't care enough about it yet to do it right.
So as an editor at Port Yonder Press for 6 years, and now at Eastern Iowa Review for 3, and after I skimmed the very long but very good story on Clarkesworld, I began to think of a number of the weaker fiction stories I've read over the years, and what made them weaker. So many things I could mention, but one that I see far too often with novice writers, non-professional work, and self-published writers is the element of too many details, filler words, distancing words -- basically words or phrases that really have no place in the narrative other than, presumably, to add to the word count. Examples: She sighed. She turned. She looked. She twirled her earring. She twirled her hair. She raised her eyebrows. He saw. He wondered. He scratched. He tapped his finger on the table. He cleaned his ear with a q-tip. He cleaned his ear with a finger on the table. (Note: You may find a few of those in the above story, but as you'll notice, masterful writing allows it. Chances are, your writing doesn't.)
Thing to remember: even if you think those actions may be significant, they're not. And if by odd chance one IS on very rare occasion, it's only the hand of a masterful writer that can pull it off a couple of times in a book, without the reader rolling his or her eyes at the monotony of it all. Of course, we all know tolerant readers who seem to find nothing wrong with a plethora of said draggy moments in time, but if you want your writing to stand out from the rest, you'll find ways to incorporate real movement into the fiction, rather than simply an abundance of extra little actions that no one cares about.
Suggestion: Remove about 98% of the insignificant "he/she did this or that completely unnecessary to the reader action beats" in your WIP. Or if you're self-published, please, go back and edit; make it a better book.
To those who resist this advice simply because they think they're too good or because I'm being too picky: I scream. I turn. I run.
Yours for doing better, being better,