Visit the websites of writing magazines like Writers’ News, Mslexia and so on. Can contact other writers on these. Also backs up the print versions.
Cherry trees, play an important part in my books but for your tale, have you enough description of the physical place in which you set your tale to make it real to your reader? Drip-feed information into your tale so it doesn’t distract. People are put off by solid blocks of narrative. If you’re creating a new world, have your explained how it works? This does not mean necessarily going into all its physical laws but you need enough to convince your reader this place could exist.
Getting the Details Right
Your characters and world seems real to you, great. But have you given enough detail to convince your reader? Consider getting an independent reader in to spot the things you’ve taken for granted. I’ve used the Hilary Johnson Advisory Service twice and paid for this as it has the advantage of being truly independent nor do you unwittingly put pressure on friends to come up with what they think you want them to tell you. You genuinely want to know if you haven’t explained everything and only an independent eye can show this up.
Jot Down Ideas
Jot down ideas as you have them otherwise you will forget. Every so often have a brainstorming session to generate ideas and to see what you can come out with and then expand on. Can you put some of your characters from a novel into short stories for mini adventures of their own?
Mixing Up the Ingredients
When using inspiration from newspaper stories and so on, don’t lift them directly. Play safe. Add in your own unique ingredients to the basic mix. Not only will it lessen the risk of being sued by someone who was in the original story, your added extras will almost certainly make for a more interesting tale.
Caring for your Characters
Care about your characters. Make what they’re achieving realistic and something your readers will sympathize with. There’s got to be empathy there. Even a chilling villain has to have some trait, some wish your readers can identify with.