How to Write Complex Characters
So we all don't want our characters to be flat, that's just never fun. We always get these fun ideas for characters and then when we put them out there often enough we get bored with them after a few weeks. Sometimes it's for different reasons, but often enough it's due to them just sort of being flat or generic. We'll have our typical Sith or Jedi and they'll go for a bit and then die out. But what makes these characters like Jorus Merrill or Darth Carnifex among others really stand out among all this sea of generic faces? Is the time they've spent here? All those IRL years that have been committed to the characters? Partially yes, but only a small amount. It's because they have extraordinary layers and depth to them. You can get a brand new character and if they have the same amount of depth that they have then they will easily become popular characters among the site within a month or two. So here's what you're going to need to write a character that can be considered "great" or "amazing"
Depth: Characters are just boring side characters without it. Now what is depth you are asking? Well it's simple, depth is more than what's just on the surface. What one projects outwards might not always be how they actually think or feel. So while you can have a strong and sturdy Jedi knight who follows the code and lives peacefully. On the inside he might see these injustices in the Galaxy and want nothing more than to kill and destroy the people responsible for them punisher style. There's more to the character than face value, and this moves nicely into our next topic.
Struggle: Struggle isn't really weakness. Not at all. Struggle is something your character has a hard time dealing with or something that defines them as a character. Now I'm not talking about how your street rat character might owe money to the Black Suns, that's a problem or an obligation, not struggle. Struggle is something that's internally wrong with your character, for instance they don't have faith in the force or faith in other people. They keep everyone at an arms length because they don't want to be hurt, but in turn that isolation only hurts them more. That's struggle for a character, that emotional pain that leads to heartbreaking moments of raw humanization.
Quirks: These are fun little pieces of unique personality traits or habits that help make a character unique. Maybe they like sweets. Or they secretly love something really embarrassing like My Little Ropo, they can be light hearted or dark in nature. But these quirks can help make a character more fun to write when placed in a scenario where they can be applied.
Drive: This can be one of the most important things to have in a character. What moves them? What makes them get out of bed in the morning? What motivates them to do what they are doing? Now it's important to remember that you shouldn't cliche it on the drive. Like "I saw my parents die in front of my eyes." Or "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." Those are kind of played out and lame. You just need to find out what works for you.
General themes: While it's not the most important thing, and can even be cast aside most of the time. Your themes for the character can sometimes turn a great character into a brilliant one. I don't mean themes like a theme song, I mean themes as in general feels and ideals you have underlining the character. So let's say you have a Jedi Healer and their theme is internal suffering. So those themes of pain can be placed lightly or heavily into your character to really make what you're writing and character pop.
Now you guys might be asking, what about strengths and weaknesses? While they are a cool thing to have at the end of the day they are kind of meaningless and can just be cosmetic as long as your character has what's listed above. These are all you really need to make a fantastic and truly unique character.
So I'll take what I've said and I'll apply them to my character Miss Blonde aka Patricia Susan Garter if y'all been paying attention or just generally thread stalking Darth Abyss and I's private threads. Here you'll be able to see what I've been talking about in practice and hopefully it will help you out with your characters.
Depth: Miss Blonde on the surface is this strong, capable, and ruthless crime lord. She's been the death of thousands and at times shows no remorse for anything she's ever done. She rarely apologizes and at times simply acts like she doesn't care. But this isn't really the case. She does care, the deaths of innocent people weigh on her conscious and what she projects outwards is far from what she truly feels. However due to her status as one of the Galaxy's most notorious crime lords as much as she'd love to just stop all the death, she knows she has to maintain that status. So her depth and layers is that while she might be a strong capable leader to others, to her she regrets a lot of choices she's made.
Struggle: Her struggle is that of being a bad mother and wife. She's been in two marriages, one with Romeo Sin and another with Jarven Zexxel and each ended in the deaths or disappearance of both men. She blames herself for this, she blames herself for not being a good parent and focusing on her work as a crime lord rather than her family and relationships. She never sees her kids half the time and she's ashamed to tell even her kids what she does to provide for them. She hates herself, and she hates what she's become. What used to be a bright eyed young republic field agent is now a pained and internally tortured crime lord, she's not proud of her achievements as many as they might be, because that lifestyle she has lived and those people she's lost or neglected will always taint them. She's so desperate to not be alone that she even fell in love with a Sith Lord, she's having a kid with him because of this loneliness. Because she feels like she's not good enough or righteous anymore, this is all she deserves. Yes part of her loves him to death, and always will, but there's a lot of sadness behind that love. It's not perfect and it's certainly not fairytale, but they tolerate each other's crap and it makes them both feel a little less lonely in each other.
Quirks: Blonde's quirks have always been fun for me. She love love loves spicy foods, to the point where she'll put mega death sauce on pretty much everything she eats. It's her favorite and the fastest way to win her favor. She's also got a bit of a drinking problem, what with being from Zeltros she pretty grew up drinking. While she's been able to contain it over the years, often enough if you offer her a drink she won't say no. The list goes on, but these are just little fun things for a character to help them stand out.
Drive: Family and Self Interest. Blonde does the work she does for her family, or at least that's what she claims. Which brings us back to depth in a way. She's kind of got a Walter White approach to it. On the surface she constantly tells herself and others that she does what she does for her family as if justifying it for herself to feel a little less bad about the lives she's taken. And that partially might be true, if only a little. In reality she's damn good at it. She's one of the most well known crime lords in the Galaxy, she's infamous and feared along with being respected. She does it for her at times, for her own self interest because despite the regret she might feel for ending life or hurting people. She secretly enjoys that attention and admiration. That's what drives her to do what she does.
General Themes: Nihilism. That's a big part in my writing and it fits so well with her amoral character. The fact that we're all going to die, or that everything has no meaning. Blonde lives life knowing and accepting this, that there is no grand plan and that if there ever was a god or an all encompassing force. It's dead now, and there is no one guiding this ship. She achieves this theme of nihilism through what she's witnessed. In her forty years of life she's seen three galactic level wars, the deaths of millions, and multiple times of utter heartbreak. The loss of two husbands, holding her friends and comrades as they died in her arms. All these people who were so much better than her and who deserved to live died, and she's still here despite being a truly awful person. She drinks, she slept around, she abandoned her newly born daughter, she killed innocent people, and despite all that she's still here. So the theme of everything is meaningless and there is no destiny really shines in her stories because all that matters is what's with you right now and how we can make our next payday. All that exists is ahead of you.
So that's just my character. If you want to post what your characters Depth, Struggle, Quirks, Drive and Themes are then be sure to do so bellow. Have fun and I hope this has helped you.