Advice for novelists, essayists, and poets everywhere from Plato, by way of our mutual writer friend Marcus Aurelius:
…he who is discoursing about men should look also at earthly things as if he viewed them from some higher place; should look at them in their assemblies, armies, agricultural labours, marriages, treaties, births, deaths, noise of the courts of justice, desert places, various nations of barbarians, feasts, lamentations, markets, a mixture of all things and an orderly combination of contraries.
I run a mental check on my novel: Assemblies (check), armies (check), agricultural labors (check), and so on. Viewed from some higher place (check). An orderly combo of contraries (double-check). Squared away! Maybe I'll add another feast. You can never have enough feasts….