Have you every listened to someone who is a terrible storyteller as they tried to summarize a movie plot or recall a life event. Perhaps they got easily distracted by insignificant side stories. Or maybe the details were disjointed and jumped around. Did they leave something important out, only to later wedge it in at the conclusion? Whatever their struggle, it assuredly had the effect of breaking your engagement with the tale.
Editors have long lists of common mistakes that they look for in writing, especially if the author is a novice. Many of the issues, such as head-hopping perspectives and info dumps, have the effect of damaging a reader’s engagement. Too much information results in boredom and distraction, while too little makes a world feel parched and uninteresting. Unorganized details cause confusion. Authors must be vigilant in rooting out such weaknesses in their writing.
You the author have spent hours wrapping your mind around the character, setting, and backstory. Your readers, however, are experiencing everything with fresh eyes. Be mindful of them and their perspective gap. The lessons to be learned are too many to be covered in a brief article, but here are some quick pointers.