When I embarked on the journey of Epic Novel, I had never had any instruction in Creative Writing. I had learned what I knew solely from reading fiction and one or two books on craft. I had not even had much instruction in reading literature. I had no knowledge of character motivation or character arc. Even so, I recognized that my story fell flat because I didn't know what my main character wanted. Okay, there's a huge massive war and he wants to protect his family and his people. But what about before the war? What did he want then, and how did that motivate him to join the war? Rereading my draft, I realized that he has motivation--he's had it all along--it just needed bringing out. I didn't recognize it when I first started the story because I didn't know what my own motivation was. I know both now. What a relief!
Rereading my old draft, I realized there are a lot of things buried in there that I didn't realize when I wrote it. The motivation for my main character seems so obvious to me now, it's amazing. I've figured out a few more motivations as well, including the motivation for Arch Nemesis Number 1. Now I just have to master character arc. :-)