The primary issues: Wordy Structure, Fractured Logic, Awkward Flow, Weak
I've listed below an actual paragraph from a novel one of my clients is writing. I've changed the names of the characters to protect further the confidence of my client and his/her piece. I've placed the problem text in bold red font.
In March, she gave us another assignment, and once again I was compelled to include something about my former friend and idol. Different stages of my life, with different outcomes that affected me—the only question was with which piece to include her.
In March, another assignment—different stages of my life, with different outcomes that affected me—again compelled me to include something about my former friend and idol. The only question was where to include her.
ISSUE #1: REMEMBER ONE OF OUR HIGH COMMANDMENTS: MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT
You don’t see it here, but the previous paragraph speaks of the assignments a teacher is giving throughout a course. Thus, the author needn't tell us that "she gave us" another assignment. We know where the assignment came from.
ISSUE #2: PASSIVE VOICE (VIA WEAK "STATE-OF-BEING" VERB)
My alternative eliminates the weak state-of-being verb used in the Passive Voice construction, "I was compelled." Remember our watchwords: KEEP IT STRONG AND DIRECT.
ISSUE #3: FRACTURED LOGIC
The author should have placed the two pieces of the assignment—"different stages of my life, with different outcomes that affected me"—precisely where she speaks of that assignment. By placing them later, she forces the reader to go back and make sense of them. Even if the reader only has to skip back a couple of lines, it's a problem.
ISSUE #4: AWKWARD PHRASING
The final segment was, while technically proper, awkward—just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Sometimes—many times—it’s best to keep things simple. Note that I left the weak state-of-being verb in place, which I'm loathe to do. I did so because… well, sometimes it's best to keep things simple. Like all "rules" of writing, this is not a 100%-er. I could have rephrased the segment, stretched myself a bit, but simple works here.
'Til next time, and as always, remember:
To write well, you must work hard. To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn't be lazy.