What are the most interesting elements of the characters you know? Their personality, their appearance, their quirks. What separates them from the rest?
What inspires you in stories you read or movies you see?
What elements make a movie or novel stand out from the rest?
There is something interesting about everyone you know. Everyone has a story.
The most interesting people don’t make any sense.
The key to plot progression is substantial change in the life or lives of the characters whom flesh it out. Something has to actually happen. There must be some sort of conflict. People struggle with conflict, are changed from the experience, then learn and grow. That’s life, and the essence of a good story.
Answer these questions and boom, there’s a novel.
When things get tedious, examine the fact you may be focusing more on physical action as opposed to growth and expansion of characters. They need to be going somewhere too. They can be unpredictable. When you think you know someone, they may still surprise you. This goes for characters, as well. There are no set roles in good fiction, no good guys, nor bad guys, just people.
If you can think of an interesting person, an interesting character, they will tell their own story.
Don’t protect your characters.
I speak from observation, and experience. In my first novel poor planning of plot and character design terminally hindered the length and development of the overall plot, and subplots, and possibly the depth of the material. In the second, I substituted action for progression. Learn from my mistakes 🙂