I've noticed a trend in my early drafts, and my critique partners have as well. While I am a fan of "quiet humor," it seems that I could improve my writing by taking it to the next level. In other words, I need to ramp it up a bit and open my mind up to the possibilities.
For example, one of my earliest stories, and one that is being reworked in light of my recent conferences and manuscript exchanges, is about a girl who builds a robot to tie her shoelaces. She is "a dreamer" I say at the beginning, but as a critique friend noticed, she really doesn't do anything outside of her house to move the plot along. Great insight. There are so many wierd and wacky things she could do to teach her robot how to tie laces, but I haven't opened that world up to her. I forget sometimes that kids are much more open to the strange and fantastic. I may think it is unusual to go to a ballet about shoelaces, but a child wouldn't. (Hmmmm...that gives me an idea!)
So that's my goal over the next few weeks. Ramp it up. Take it to the next level. Stretch those brain cells. You have a plot, now dream!