One of the best ways for me to get writing is to have a conversation with one of my characters. I see or hear something throughout the day and think, I really should tell Talkar or Lisa or Kalib about that. Then, in a quiet moment, we sit down and have a chat about it.
Now I can picture you shaking your head, or possibly reaching for the phone to call the nice men with the coats that have wrap around sleeves but it is not as weird as it sounds. Ask questions as if you were interviewing them, or share some of your day over a coffee. No matter what format you use, their answers may surprise you. It may never go into your book, but the better you know your characters, the more nasty stuff you can do to them. One of my favourite tips was always find the absolute worse thing for that character and include it in the story. Hamilton’s Anita Blake begin forced to work with vampires, the bad guy in Real Genius having his entire home filled with popcorn, Superman being unable to save Lois Lane, it makes for good drama.
So think, what would your character hate or pray never happens? Find out and use it. Or your conversation could just highlight a different point of view. “Sick ’em Rex” is an old advert in Australia that became part of the language. When I first saw it, I showed it to one of my characters and asked what she thought. Her first point was that it was nice to see a human treating an animal as a partner not a pet. Now of all the things I thought about that advert, that wasn’t one of them. It gave me a useful handle, a way to get into her head. What does your main character think of that advert? What does that tell you about them? Can you really keep your own reactions out of the way enough to tell?