I just read an excellent post by Kristen Lamb about writing novels. She keeps a sticky note on her desk that reads, “Go for the guts,” which is essentially her way of reminding herself to put conflict in every part of her writing. Lamb goes on to talk about how all the great novels raise questions that are bigger than the surface level story.
I won’t ruin what she said, by trying to rephrase it in some horrible way, so here’s the link back to the original post. Go read it because it is simply fantastic.