All fiction is about the human experience in some way, even when animals are the characters. So who wants to read about a perfect person? Someone who has it all together, always says the right thing, does the correct thing, never reacts in an inappropriate way, never lies, cheats, steals, or schemes? There is no such person. When a reader encounters one, the character's utter perfection becomes a flaw hiding a deep-rooted problem. History shows some great examples. Of course, some of the stories of these historical beings have changed with the telling. No one living truly knows what Henry VIII or Anne Boleyn were really like. The authors studied events and journals to interpret their personalities. Which is exactly what fiction authors do.
Readers want characters they can empathize with: someone who has faced tough times filled with painful experiences and survived: difficult emotional and/or physical journeys of self discovery and courageous achievement.
My Black Angel series which starts with Rogue's Rules was about a character whose mind was destroyed but rebuilt itself as six different personalities. Crewkin also deals with loss when one member of a starship's crew survives the loss of the ship and all her crewmembers after being raised to see them as her total world. While my stories have many other character aspects and faults, most of my stories deal with abandonment or estrangement of some type, and working to be accepted as they are.
Other authors have stories about commitment, loss of all types, overcoming disabilities, learning to accept themselves, the list is near endless. So are the endings. Some survive and thrive, some don't.
Everyone learns something from reading, and I'm sure authors learn about character from the writing process.
What type of character flaws or dilemmas do you like to read about?
Dr. Bob Rich