When reading a novel or short story of any genre I always find that one of the major pit falls is characterisation. If the character is poorly established, poorly named and/or difficult to relate to, then I don’t get past the first chapter, unless of course the plot line is immensely intriguing.
One of the first things we learnt about in my novel writing module at University was the grand trio. This is the basic foundation to building and establishing your characters and their believability in your story. Without solid characters, even the most amazingly well written story can seem tedious and dull. Your characters are the main focus of your story and therefore time and attention must be taken on each one to ensure that they have a purpose and a reason within your plot (even the most fleeting characters that are just passing through must have reason to be there).