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Complex character traits.

Simple character creation.
We could write about a woman.
For example she could be blonde.
We choose a race, there could be many to choose from, as our novel can be fiction.
She can have other simple traits such as her occupation.

Building complex characters.
Here we can think of a name.
I like to choose names that remind me of the character and her traits.
We can use a name generator from the internet.
I choose the name "Elora".

Choosing traits.
She might have a favorite color.
She might dress in her favorite color.
She might be a part of a cult.
Perhaps she is rather a noble woman.
She could be part of a thieving clan.

And so on.
She might have many other traits.
Her eyes might be her favorite color.
Or perhaps her eyes are her least favorite color.
She might be shy or bold.

Where does she work.
She might work at a variety of stores.

What is her favorite thing to do.
Perhaps she likes to read or rather write.

She might own a pet.
She could have a pet cat.

How many friends does she have?
She could have many friends.

Perhaps we make her a thief.
She could be friends with many other thieves.
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
You haven't gotten as far as anything complex yet. ๐Ÿค”
Do you want us to add to this?
Or what exactly?
Just wondering. ๐Ÿค”
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
Perhaps she could like to dress in sky blue and also have blue eyes.
Perhaps she could have two cats, or maybe even three cats, not just one. ๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿˆ
 

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
We don't get to complex until we really start digging. Who were her parents to her? Was she beaten as a child? Worse? Thieves generally don't come from nice people and are themselves victimizers. Thieves aren't the charming, fun loving rogues we're made to think they are by books and movies. They steal from other people, regardless of how much harm it does them. Nobility is remarkably similar. Is she vain? A coward? Why? What does she love? What does she fear? Has she killed to steal, or to defend herself? Has she ever been in love? Has she ever been proud of herself?

What does she want? What's keeping her from getting it? What is she willing to do to overcome this obsticle?
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
I would probably not have thought of asking has she ever been proud of herself. ๐Ÿค”
That is indeed a good question.
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
There are sometimes some innocent/mischievous/etc. thief children, especially in fiction.
Usually less likely with adults.
As far as I've seen/heard/read, anyway.
 

pmmg

Myth Weaver
There is no honor among thieves. The D&D movie is a lie ;)

But the OP'er has put this in poem form. I am not sure it is really a question. It may just be his form of poetry.

But its still a good topic.

And AE said it well.

What makes a character complex? Well, having a full range of all the stuff that makes people people. Not just the heroic stuff, but all the hurts and bad stuff too. A character is complex when stuff happens, and you can understand the conflict in their actions.

I can go with the comment on nobility though...they too come in all ranges. One acting nobly is still a word meaning trying to do the right thing.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
IMO, complexity doesn't come from traits so much as from history. Complex characters have a past that affects the present in ways that complicate the story (if it doesn't complicate the story, it's not really useful to the author, it's just background).

Also, and maybe I'm just parsing words, though that's pretty much stock-in-trade, but I think it's more useful if we substitute "interesting" for "complex." Complexity in itself isn't necessarily interesting.
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
To the original poster.
You seem to be describing someone who's basically innocent and cheerful and friendly with other people, except that maybe she's also a thief.
I have a suggestion.
Maybe she's actually *not* a thief.
Maybe you just think that's an interesting thing to be. ๐Ÿค”
Or, maybe she actually *is* a thief.
In which case, then we would need to know what made her that way, since her other attributes seem to be nothing like that, that we know of, anyway, so far. ๐Ÿค”
Or, maybe she's just not exactly your typical run-of-the-mill everyday thief.
Maybe she robs from the rich to give to the poor.
Most thieves are probably not exactly very friendly, not even with other thieves.
They might even steal from the other thieves.
If you're thinking of something more like Robin Hood's band, or maybe like the crew of child thieves in Oliver Twist, then I need to let you know that that's wonderful for fiction but it's not exactly what thieves typically are like. ๐Ÿค”
And the expression "the company of thieves" only means a friendly company, like a robber band who are tight together and can never betray each other, when it's fiction, and in reality the same expression is actually just another way of saying that someone is keeping company with unsavory or scary or dangerous people.
I'm just saying.
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
It isn't always just their past, but otherwise, yes.
I think that also, it's potentially possible for someone to have a complex history without necessarily being a particularly complex person.
Then again, actually most people are complex people, it isn't necessarily anything unusual or different. ๐Ÿค”
Since most people are at least somewhat complex, and since being extremely and/or unusually that way psychologically doesn't appear to be what the original poster most likely actually meant, I would somewhat suggest that maybe what was meant by "a complex character" was perhaps just "a detailed character where a lot of the details are known".
A detailed description of a character.
Which isn't exactly the same thing.
IMO, complexity doesn't come from traits so much as from history. Complex characters have a past that affects the present in ways that complicate the story (if it doesn't complicate the story, it's not really useful to the author, it's just background).

Also, and maybe I'm just parsing words, though that's pretty much stock-in-trade, but I think it's more useful if we substitute "interesting" for "complex." Complexity in itself isn't necessarily interesting.
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
I see a few of my favorites on that list of alternate jobs/professions/occupations.
I have a suggestion.
What if she's actually a witch/wisewoman/healer, but somebody *thinks* she's a thief?
Or, at some point in time, a group of thieves think that they would like her to be one of them, because she is clever and intelligent, but then she turns out to be *too* clever for them and outsmarts them?
"Elora" means "light", by the way.
As in good, or kind, or cheerful, or happy, or playful.
Not as in light-fingered, like a thief, or light-minded, or light-headed.
Just saying.
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
There is no honor among thieves. The D&D movie is a lie ;)

But the OP'er has put this in poem form. I am not sure it is really a question. It may just be his form of poetry.

But its still a good topic.

And AE said it well.

What makes a character complex? Well, having a full range of all the stuff that makes people people. Not just the heroic stuff, but all the hurts and bad stuff too. A character is complex when stuff happens, and you can understand the conflict in their actions.

I can go with the comment on nobility though...they too come in all ranges. One acting nobly is still a word meaning trying to do the right thing.
Thank you for that about the nobility and acting nobly. ๐Ÿ‘‘
I wanted to say something similar but you were the first one in this thread to think of the right way to say it. ๐Ÿค”
Good thinking. โ˜บ๏ธ
Agree too about what makes a character complex. ๐Ÿค”
So, we seem to be in agreement about several things. โ˜บ๏ธ
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
Somewhat off topic but I'll just briefly add here.
Some remark made by an adult about children interacting with their peers.
One of the children says, "Should we get our crowns?" ๐Ÿ‘‘
(Nobility, you know. ๐Ÿ˜‰)
(Patricia Joudry's book And the Children Played)
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>There is no honor among thieves.
There is in fiction. It's a trope I rather like. The thieves have their own, peculiar honor, which they will not violate. Or, one of them does and this creates tension. Stuff like that.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
That list is odd. Some of the items listed are emphatically not jobs. For example, slave.

Nor smuggler or thief. Sure, they might get hired to do a job, but no one is going to employ them full time. It's not like I'm going to open a smuggling shop. And "prophet" really made me giggle.

The one area where I constantly argue, both with various books and with myself, is the thief and the assassin. Thievery is a crime, but it's not a job. It's not like a young person might consider becoming a doctor or a mercenary or ... oh I know, a bandit! I'm sure there are plenty of people in need of a bandit for hire.

But then, the whole notion of thief as a profession, and of same being organized into thief guilds, has become widely accepted. It's a solid part of fantasy literature, so there's no point in me objecting. That's fine. I don't let them into my stories, but I'll allow them in others. It's not like they're as bad as sparkling vampires. <grin>
 

Arielcat

Minstrel
>There is no honor among thieves.
There is in fiction. It's a trope I rather like. The thieves have their own, peculiar honor, which they will not violate. Or, one of them does and this creates tension. Stuff like that.
True.
In some fiction, anyway.
Thank you for remembering to mention that interesting fact. โ˜บ๏ธ
 
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