I took this class at ACFW. Agent Natasha Kern was the speaker and she kept me hooked.
Basically, she taught us that what makes a novel great is this simple formula. I wondered what her class would be like HERE. Now I know.
Our main character must have a great desire, one main thing that comes from their strongest virtue. This virtue must drive the main character. Conflict comes through the form of the character's biggest weakness, or sin. The character must be tempted away from their goals (something heroic deriving from their virtue) by their very own sins/lusts/flaws.
She used the example of Scarlett O'Hara, who loves her home Tara and wants to protect it at any cost. She does horrible things but the reader forgives her because we understand her driving need is heroic. Even her love for Rhett is a conflict, because it clashes with her virtuous passion to save her beloved Tara.
Another example was Julie Lessman's character Faith, in A Passion Most Pure. Faith desires to be Godly above all else, but she's also in love with her sister's boyfriend. Talk about major conflict.
What do you think? Does your conflict pull at the moral fibers of your main character? Have you pitted the MC's sins agains his or her main Moral goal? What's your favorite story and how does this formula play out in it?