So you're the puppet master right? Yeah, it's cool pulling strings. But I'm talking about real people... no, not them, not the people that you see when you're out buying whiskey and fried chicken (the only reasons that I have found to actually go into the daylight). No, they're faceless drones. You have no control over them. I'm talking about the people whose strings you can pull. Your characters.
I know it's easy to say, "Well, what would I do in that situation?" But there is a problem with that. Ask yourself this... Does your story have five main characters? Yes? Are they all clones? No? Well they won't all act the same then, will they?
Even in shorts you still need to grow characters, and don't get me started on novelisation. Look at King. His characters are built like they are uncontrolled in a universe with un-faced god. That's a good thing. They are all coherent, uniquely minded individuals. Are yours?
Put plainly and in a sense that I think everyone will understand, look at Scooby Doo (No, the cartoon, not the film). Whilst we can all say that the cast are stereotype types, they are all different. Does Shaggy behave like Velma? No. Even in the unspoken subtext we know that Shaggy is a doped up drug addict coward who talks to dogs. Velma, not so much.
Allow that seed to grow.
Do you create characters that are as - if not more - individual than a childrens cartoon? If not, you may have to flesh them out more. Now I know that you're saying how difficult that is in a piece of maybe 8000 words. True. I know. But it does need to be done.
Your little puppets need two things. They need to behave differently, and they they need to speak differently. (I know, in some shorts it's difficult to get them to behave differently in the enclosed story. But please give them different personallities.)
Anyway, just sayin'.
'Til next time...