New writers are constantly exhorted to work on the beginning of their manuscripts. Make that first sentence irresistible! That first paragraph has to sing! That first page must leave the reader itching to continue!
Okay. Fair enough.
But there's more to a good manuscript than the beginning. We need to remember that the high polish of the beginning needs to continue throughout the manuscript. Here's an easy and rather effective way of testing your current WiP: Turn to page 59 and read it. If someone only read that page, would they want to keep reading? How about page 147?
I've found this test a wonderful device to check that each page moves my plot or character development along. I'm not suggesting car crashes or ghostly apparitions or heart-thumping suspense are needed on every page. But surely, those words should be there for a reason. If you can read a page mid-manuscript and nothing happens on it, then I would suggest you've got some work ahead of you.
I discovered I had dialogue on one of the pages - not a large surprise, since my characters tend to talk. A lot. This conversation was revealing a bit more about two characters and their relationship both with each other and with the (soon to be) victim. The other page had new evidence being revealed.
I think I'm okay.
Try this test. It works. It also makes you look at your WiP in a whole new way.