This is my new soapbox - real characterization. Real personalities, problems, and issues. It has nothing to do with conflict, that's separate from what I'm talking about though sometimes these things are the conflict in a character-driven story.
I try to give my characters real problems, everyday human issues. Allergies, migraines, poor eyesight, bad tempers, snobbishness, etc., etc., etc.
Personally, I don't know anyone who is nothing but altruistic, doesn't ever talk badly about anyone, never needs a tissue, some Tylenol, or eyeglasses for something (ok, I do know some people like that but apparently my circle of friends and family are mostly blind), and has no problems other than they're too nice.
In reading, I've noticed that very few heroines have these issues, and it bothers me. Or if they do, they wear eyeglasses but have no fashion sense. They have allergies or headaches, but never complain. I have both and let me tell you, there are times you can't help but complain. It's human nature.
Those characters don't seem real.
Why is it that the woman needs to be the nice, kind, attentive one, but the man can be arrogant, snobby, and dismissive? Why can't she be the one who knows, the one with the friends, the fashion sense, the attitude?