The most important character in your story is the villain. If you find that your story is lacking something, you probably don’t have to look any further than the opposition. If your hero doesn’t have much to overcome, he can’t be much of a hero. The greater the evil he faces, the greater your protagonist will be. Even in stories of man against nature, it can’t just be any storm, it has to be the Perfect Storm. See what I mean? Click below for some great ways to make your opposition more effective–and more original.
Here’s an interview with a top literary agent about the first five pages of your novel. Amy Boggs is currently open to queries. See her preferences on the Donald Maass Literary Agency site. (Also, be sure to read The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. It’s amazing!)
About main characters. Screenwriters know about story structure. It is a good idea to listen to them about this. Of course, there are always exceptions, but if you think your book has more than one main character, this post is worth reading.
From an editor, here’s a well-thought-out post on the pros and cons of prologues from a contemporary point of view. It starts with the pros. which, if you have used one, you already know. Keep reading. You may need yours, but you do need to know why they are less common in contemporary fiction than in works written 30, 40, 0r 50 years ago.