Occam asked a question after my last post, wondering what problems I'd found in the draft of my manuscript. The short answer is that I'd chosen the wrong main character, midway through the writing process. I'd actually started the thing without any real notion of a strong main character at all, then later gone back and added a bunch that made the main character out of a very powerful person in the novel.
It was only subsequently re-reading an old copy of Orson Scott Card's book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy that I realized my mistake.
The odd thing is that I'd read that book before, and other similar words of sage advice, yet they hadn't stuck with me until I'd gone and made the errors that they warned against. It's as though it wasn't enough to read that there was a hole in the floor. I had to go trip in it to learn not to step there.
I suppose I've learned that lesson enough times in my life that I shouldn't be surprised by it anymore, and yet there it is. It's still surprising.