I had a discussion with a friend last night and it occurred to me that, in our effort to make our stories life-like, we endeavor to use all manner of tricks of the trade. 'Use all five senses to describe scenes', 'follow the order of notice in descriptions', 'not too many adjectives', 'avoid repetition'. Well, you know the list - it's a long one, but did you think to add bits and pieces of your life into your story? We all have different experiences, different opinions, different surroundings. Why not include some of that - in a way - into your story?
Lets say, you have a friend who is totally eccentric. Take a moment and analyze them. Hand movements, quirky habits, like what do they do when they get their mail, choice of wardrobe, speech habits. Now, I'm not saying you should put this person in your story, but you could pick one of those aspects and tack it to one of your characters, and since you already know the original, you are that much more attached to your character. It's that attachment that lends life to your character, and by association, to your story.
I happen to be watching the TV show, Monk, at the moment. I love that show, Monk is hilarious. I couldn't begin to have a character like Monk in one of my stories. I think a character such as Monk is unique. I don't care how many differences I put in, if I included his phobias, it would border on fan fiction, so you can't pick something easily attached to a well known someone, but there are so many little things you can use. Have you ever watched how someone uses their hands while they're talking? How about if they are really excited about something? How about if they're really worried about something?
In short, look at the people around you. Take note of what they do and use that information. Me, I am always including some kind of information on winter, anything from snowshoeing to cutting firewood, and if you've read any of my work, there may even be something about tracking or hunting, though not much will be modern day.
So tell me, what bits and pieces of your life have you dripped into your writing?