In a moment of brilliance -- or perhaps just idiot savant-ness -- I figured out the integral flaw in my very first attempt at a novel. It's a project I've long thought was worthy of having been written but more than once person has pointed out error after error. It was never that I didn't think that the errors were un-fixable; I just didn't know how to do it.
At work last week, however, it dawned on me where the crux lay: the main character's passiveness needed to be changed to make him more active. Now, that might seem like a pretty easy thing to pick out when reading a draft -- and it was -- but like I said the problem wasn't in not knowing the flaw; it was knowing how to fix it.
I think the problem is pretty much resolved now, though, which makes me happy. The main character has really blossomed in my re-writes (and I'm only about 20 pages in, with an additional 10 or so pages of new material). Not only has he become more active in his own story, but his actions make him significantly more empathetic, which was a big issue for people in previous critiques.
As a side note, I took comments from a few people to heart and made what was essentially a Victorian-era pastiche piece (as an homage to Charles Dickens) into a Steampunk piece.
Now, in my defense, I feel like this change is worthwhile. Steampunk is a very broad genre, and I feel like this piece can be made into what some chidingly refer to as 'Li-fi' -- literary science fiction. I'm ok with it being that, because I think that it fits more in line with literary fiction, rather than entertainment fiction.