Then, my friend Suzanne took a look at the book. She took the time to write out what she thought the Goal, Motivation and Conflict was for each of my characters. It was an aha moment. First, I couldn't get the first chapter right because I was starting the book in the wrong place. Second no one loved one of my characters like I did because his goal, motivations and conflict were not apparent.
The concept of thinking about each character and what their internal and external goals are, why and what's keeping them from achieving them wasn't new to me. However, it was the first time I'd really applied it to a finished story to see what worked and what didn't.
Thank goodness for critique partners! I'm going to have this book in shape by early December to enter in the RWA Golden Heart and to send to the two agents and one editor who have requested it.