Years ago, when I was just beginning to get serious about writing for publication I knew I wanted to pursue the traditional "get an agent, big NY publisher" route. I don't remember how I found him, but I was head over heels. He was (and still is) smart, one of the top agents around and knew more than I'd ever learn. I knew with "Mr. Wonderful Agent" I'd be on the best seller list in no time at all.
Thankfully I have one of those obsessive personalities that requires I research as many details as possible before acting so I didn't do anything stupid. And, while I've grown from know nothing beginner to a novice with some short stories published along with some non-fiction, I'm still very much in like with Donald Maass.
I bought his "how to write" books, studied them like crazy and while I still haven't learned enough to query him, I am making progress.
Not long ago, Donald Maass joined Twitter. One of the almost first things he's started to do is a month long series of "BreakOut Prompts" to get us thinking. Monday's prompt was "What’s the worst thing your MC does? Whom and how does that hurt? Now work backwards, set it up to hurt even more."
As I pondered this, I realized I need to dig beneath the surface of my character and bring out her flaws more. I'm looking forward to the process. :-)
So, all that to say, if you want to improve your novel, check out Donald Maass. You'll find him on Twitter at @DonMaass and you'll be glad you did.