This morning I noticed some helpful advice on a box of peppermint tea: "Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something." It's from Life's Little Instruction Book.
This is a good thing to remember about characters. I was up till 1:30 a.m. making notes about 2 of my characters, 1 of the sisters and her significant other. I've come to a point in my writing when I need to know much more about him to know how things progress. I know a lot of people write bios for all their characters before they dive into the story, but somehow that doesn't work for me. I have to do things kind of simultaneously. I had a brief sketch about him, but he's become more pivotal in the story so I need to know more.
I reread parts of Brothers and Sisters by Bebe Moore Campbell over the weekend. A wonderful book about race, gender and class, and a great primer on character motivation. Even her bad guys have insecurities that are sympathetic. It reminded me to think about all my characters' secrets and fears.
All this work and all I needed was to read a box of tea.