I wouldn't look at it that way. There really is no short term for what you want and need to do. It's a gradual process and you can't force the algo. ;)
I won't say that. I'd say continue to build upon what you have and let nature take it's course. With a little bit of direction from you of course. :)
Yikes! You definitely don't want a page of just links. There needs to be structure to that page, an outline.
Draw a map of your current site architecture. Put your home page at the top. Then list the primary categories under your home page. So now maybe you have the home page at top, then seven pages below the home page. Now, take those seven pages and spread those out to sub-categories. How many are there? Do they need to be spread out further (horizontally)? Think of your site as this huge pyramid. Within the pyramid will be other pyramids. All pyramids are linked naturally based on the architecture of the site.
For me, it's all about harnessing the power of the site structure for best overall indexing. If you are a new site, within the past 12 months, expect to see fluctuations while your deep level pages become seated in the index. In the mean time, you may have to do some PPC to stay in the game.
Another thing, you definitely need to make sure that the site has no major technical issues to contend with. A poorly implemented rewrite will do more harm than no rewrite at all. ;)