Yesterday I wrote about the importance of making each character in your ms or in your next book unique from all your other characters. You may have a brand in your genre that makes you familiar with your readers, but you don't want each book to be the same story simply set in a different locale and happening to the same people with different last names.
Now let's explore ways to insure you--the writer--get out of the way and let the characters tell the story.
Your novel is not about you. It is more than your chance at immortality. It is a story about a group of fascinating and intriguing people who happened to be created by you. Let them tell the story their way.
In my book, REDEMPTION'S SONG, I created two characters for the sole purpose of filling a role I thought the book needed. Neither character would cooperate with all the scenes I wrote for them. I was trying to force them into a role that didn't fit. Eventually I realized what I was trying to do would never work so I scrapped the scenes and let the characters be who they were. The book turned out much better for the effort.
Never manipulate your characters. It may sound strange if you haven't been writing long, but the writer must step back and let the characters tell the story. After all, it's their story, not yours. Get out of the way. Blend into the background. Don't have them spout your political views or preach your message to the reader.
Let the characters do what comes naturally to them, not what you think the book needs. Let them react naturally to the situations they find themselves in. Your book will be better for it and your reader will thank you. Have faith in the characters you created.