Inspiration for character development came from an unexpected source. One of my secret vices is browsing the lost and found dog pictures on the local animal shelter website. I already have a dog, and I’m not getting another, but I enjoy looking.
One German shepherd-type dog was so skinny, his backbone and ribs showed through his skin. I decided he could be a lost dog the antagonist befriends. I might have the antagonist see the dog from a distance and wonder at first if the animal is a coyote.
Now the antagonist has ‘someone’ to care about. The dog makes a good listener and companion as the antagonist struggles with unexpected conflict.