When I was in high school if you'd told me that once a year or so I would go to a thing called a symposium where I attended (even participated in) panels where the craft of writing was discussed, that these panels would run all day from 9 AM to 8 PM, and that I would love every minute of it, I might have jumped off a tall building or something. My reasoning would have been if something like this was ever going to be a highlight for me, my future life was going to suck. Obviously.
Yet one more reason time travel should not be invented.
I love Life the Universe and Everything. It gets better every year. On one of the panels I participated in over the weekend, the discussion revolved around making characters that live and breathe. One of the questions asked how you make a reader care about a character. A few ideas were getting thrown around and I threw out a comment about Phillip K. Dick and how most of his characters were actually quite pathetic but he made you care about them nonetheless. I said at the beginning I didn't know how he did this. By the end of the panel, maybe I had figured out how he did.
It occurred to me that in most of the fiction we read, maybe the common trait shared by protagonists that makes us care about them is that they don't give up. Faced with whatever inner or outer conflict/weakness the story assigns them, they still move on. Just that. They don't give up. Something to think about. If you are a writer and you can get the reader to believe your character won't give up ever, not because you write it that way but because of who that character is, then you've probably won half the battle.