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Take a good look at your main character and her background. Put yourself in her place with her beliefs and passions.
- How does she think and feel different than you do?
- What does she think about when she is alone?
- Who is she when she's around other people?
- Whose opinion matters the most to her?
- How does she feel about the way others see her?
- What does she think about her body?
Now move on to your first secondary character and put yourself in his place. Ask yourself the same questions about him. You should go through this process with each of your characters in turn.
Are there any times in your story that any single character is acting a certain way strictly because it is required to advance the plot? If so, re-think the plot or change the character (or possibly both). Think of it as casting, but you don't want your characters acting. You want to pick the "people" who are going to fulfill the parts you need them to fulfill. If you do not feel that any logical reason exists for a character (even after changing who the character is) to do the things that he or she does, then you must change the plot because readers will resent unrealistic character motives.
This is reminiscent of my posting about villains. Only in slapstick comedy is it acceptable for an antagonist (bad guy) to do evil deeds just because he or she needs to fulfill the assigned role. The same is true for the protagonist (good guy). All of your characters should have realistic feelings and goals that propel them into the conflict of your plot.
When you are writing, just take a minute to look at the scene from each character's point of view. Even though you will only use one point of view at a time, your scenes and your characters will come alive when clear motives exist for everything that happens. The conflict and plot should feel inevitable after you throw your group of characters into the mixing bowl of setting.