We all see the world through our own eyes. Everything is happening to us. If someone chuckles, we question if they're laughing at us. We hear a song that's great and wonder why everyone doesn't love it as much as we do. We are the most important person in our world, and we should be. Outside of ourselves, we should see the rest of humanity as secondary characters in OUR story. The problem is, we writers tend to create our stories as if the protagonist's world is a reflection of how we perceive the world through our personal, singular lens.
The world doesn't work that way!
You, the reader of this blog post are not a secondary character in the Harule Stokes' comedy. In fact, in your eyes, I'm just a random unimportant character in your world. You have your own story, your own life. We all have our individual stories that are running concurrently with every individual around us. We almost never see our lives as nothing more than a single, throw-away character in someone else's life drama.
So, why are you writing each and every characters like they don't have their own perspective?
Every character has to see themselves as the protagonist. They all have their own stories that are playing out in their eyes. Each one, even that character that doesn't have anything to say, should behave as if they are the central character. This goes doubly for the antagonist! The best villains are the ones that would be just fine without ever having met the protagonist. Your antagonist shouldn't be a reflection of the protagonist, the same way that dude that cut you off isn't a reflection of you. If you were to tell the story of a jerk that sped up, risking life and limb just to get in front of you on the freeway, that same jerk wouldn't tell that story the same way. They'd probably see YOU as the problem. The same goes for the best villains. They don't exist to plague the hero. In their minds, that stupid hero is getting in their way from doing what they need to do.
How can you, as a writer, achieve this?
Know your characters. Know every single character's motivation. Know why they are willing to help the central character and what they get out of it. Know why they want to see main the character dead and how that character's continued existence is interfering with their best laid plans. You have to know what the character's ultimate wants are for themselves, and better yet, why they want it. Once you're able to get a handle on this, your characters will no longer be stiff and wooden next to the vibrant main character. They'll be the hero in their own story, and if things were different, they would be the hero in your story too.
Many blessings! And remember, NO EXCUSES. JUST WRITE.