One of the big differences between a pedestrian novel and a riveting one can be the clever little quips, concepts, snippets of dialog, and fresh metaphors.
But coming up with this material on the fly is a difficult chore, and sometimes next to impossible. Fortunately, you can overcome this problem simply by keeping a daily log of interesting tidbits. Each and every day, many intriguing moments cross our paths. Some are notions we come up with on our own; others we simply observe. Since a novel takes a considerable amount of time to write, you are bound to encounter a whole grab bag of tidbits by the time you finish your first draft.
Then, for the second draft, you refer to all that material and drop it in wherever you can to liven up the narrative. You may find that it makes some characters more charismatic, or gives others, who have remained largely silent, something to say. You may discover an opportunity for a sub-plot, a thematic discourse, or the opportunity to get on your soapbox.
Depending on your situation, you can jot down these tasty treats on a notepad, phone, tablet, or even on your laptop at the bottom of the draft you are working on before it fades from memory. That’s what I usually do because it allows me to work some of the material into my novel while I’m writing it. For example, here are a few tidbits at the bottom of the novel I’m developing right now:
A line of dialog:
“Are you confused yet? No? Let me continue….”
A silly comment:
“None of the victims was seriously hurt.” Yeah – they were all hurt in a very funny way.
A character name:
A new phrase:
Theorem ~ Absolute Corruption Empowers Absolutely
Corollary ~ There are no good people in positions of power
I haven’t worked these into the story yet, but I will. And it will be richer for it.