One thing that I’ve noticed in my last few consults is that the writers are spending too much time on developing character and giving back story and not enough time on advancing plot. When I see this, I ask myself, “What does this character want?” When I don’t know the answer to this question, then I realize that too much time is being spent on developing character and back story and not enough time is being spent on showing us what your character wants in the present.
In every scene that you write, we should feel the goal. We should know what your character wants and what is getting in the way of him/her getting it.
Every scene has a purpose. It is either, the establishment of the dilemma or moving toward this, the set up of the goal, an obstacle to the goal, an escalating obstacle to the goal, a turning point to the goal, an “all is lost” moment to the goal or the resolution of the goal. If your scenes don’t fall in any of these categories, you don’t need them.