I admit, I struggle with this one. You've heard me say before, this is the area of my writing that I have to work on the hardest.
Come up with an interesting plot? No problem. Weave in some cool technology? Got it covered. Layer it with deep characters? ... umm, well... I try.
My second (as yet unpublished) novel had a character that spent a lot of time trying to make real. His name is Badar Baqai.
This is the name of someone I knew a long time ago, and I'm sure he won't mind me using his name. If not, well I can always change it.
Badar was born in the US to a Saudi princess who had an affair with a African-American soldier during the first Gulf War (future book?) . His aunt is acting as his mother, her husband as his father. Badar knows nothing of this until very late in the book, and it provides an interesting plot arc. Part of what happens is that he is coerced into doing something to find out the truth about his past.
Badar is a professional gamer. He has made millions of dollars playing games on the video game circuit. He isn't just satisfied with beating his opponent, he has to dominate them, humiliate them, using any means necessary. He will stop at nothing, even cheating, to win.
He was contracted by the US military to virtually command an elite strike team using an interface that closely resembles the video games he has been playing. These soldiers have head gear similar to the those in the picture at the right. They receive orders as to where to go, what to do, through this interface.
It's kind of like Enders Game, in that, when Badar plays the game, real soldiers are carrying out orders. But unlike Enders Game, both Badar and the soldiers knows that this is the case.
Would I associate with Badar if he was a real person that I worked with? Probably not. He has his good side, but he's just too competitive. I would always feel that I was competing with him, and Badar has to win.
It took me a long time to deepen this character. I knew he was going to be a professional gamer. I knew he wanted to win, but the other details came over time as I tried to think of other interesting parts of his background.
Where do you get your characters from? How do you make them real?