1. Don’t leave your readers wondering, say what you mean e.g. ‘Under the circumstances, he hesitated.’ What are the circumstances? Try this: ‘He’d exceeded his credit limit and didn’t want to apply for a loan, therefore he hesitated.’ We’ve added details.
Explaining what the circumstances are gives more information to the readers. This additional information leads them to wonder about the reasons he is in so much debt. Wondering about your character’s motives and seeking answers will keep them engaged and satisfy their curiosity. You’re drawing them deeper into the story.
2. Pump up your sentences with strong words.
His voice was low. Weak, not much action. It is a comment describing action.
He spoke in a low voice. This version is stronger, it demonstrates more action. It shows directly what he’s doing.
We were gathered together one last time. Weakish.
I gathered my family around me one last time. This sentence carries a sense of anticipation of an event that he feels is important to his family. It also carries a sense of finality. The reader wants to know why, thereby becoming more engaged.