It was really eating at me for the longest time and I realized I needed to do some research to fully understand what I was missing. One day after work I stopped by Barnes and Noble to pick up a few books on writing. Everyone recommended On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I don't doubt that those books are amazing but after looking at them, I knew they weren't the kind of books I was looking for. But what I did find is this wonderful collection called Write Great Fiction.
You can find them here.
What I love about these books is how they break down everything little by little (almost like a Writing for Dummies sort of a thing) and they help you understand the steps to portraying a solid story. Each books gives examples and even some exercises at the end of each chapter to really make the concept click in your head. These were by my side the whole time I was writing DROWNING BAILEY and that manuscript just so happened to be the one that nabbed an agent. I should also mention that I had some awesome CPs that helped me make DB a clean manuscript, but I can't deny how much the story improved after studying these books. I still have them and turn to them when needed and recommend them to every fiction writer.
I swear by these books and I think you will too.