Quote Originally Posted by Snitchcat View Post
Or could it be the stakes aren't high enough for the characters involved?
That part, at least, is not one of the many problems with my manuscript as it stands.

By the time I'd finished my first draft, the stakes had gotten far more personal then they'd been when I started, and I'd cried like a baby when writing the scene at the beginning of Act 2 where Charlie (lead protagonist) and Alec (first-person peripheral narrator) finally argue out loud about something that had been simmering under the surface for all of Act 1.

Just considerations that may help you progress -- if you're still working on the story that is. If not, that's okay; more things to consider for other stories and for this one when/if you decided to return to it.
I've actually found even more issues with my draft as it currently stands, but yes, I am still trying to find ways to make it work better.