I've been reading a lot about how to make characters complex and realistic. From what I can tell, you need to give your main characters layers, masks and things that make them relatable. As humans we are all made up of layers and we wear masks we are, more often than not, unaware of.
I have just finished very in depth character profiles for the two main characters of my trilogy and also finished a paragraph or two about all my other characters. I found it a really interesting process. As I delved into who they really were, what they really want and what is conflicting with those desires, I found my characters had more depth than I anticipated.
Knowing the different personality groups helped me in this process. My parents brought me up, teaching me about Florence Littauer's book called Personality Plus. Basically it is divided into four personality groups that each have traits - strengths and weaknesses for that particular personality. Most people in the world are a combination of two, sometimes three. How you were raised impacts as well, but basically every person on the planet is born with a personality that will fit loosely within the four groups.
As I was designing my characters, I found it really useful referring to this book. It gave me insights into how a character may react in a situation. One of my leads is not my personality type, he is more like my brother. I was able to refer to the book and think back on situations with my brother as I was growing up and I was able to think about how my character would react. I think it is going to keep my characters consistent and relatable. I will hopefully avoid that situation where the reader thinks, "That's so out of character. They would never do or say that."
So, if you can get your hands on it... Personality Plus by Florence LIttauer is another great resource to add to your writing collection.
I'm now up to the planning stages or my rewrite and VERY excited. I've learnt so much from these great writing books and now it's time to put all these lessons into action!
Happy writing everyone.