I'm hoping for some advice on constructing flawed characters.
We all know the stereotypical stock SFF characters who are Masters of Everything -- and when they're not, they're Masters of Figuring Everything Out (and really, what, then, is the difference?). While these characters will often have their personal issues/demons, they more-or-less unflawed. And then there's the opposite sort, where a character's flaw ends up becoming their undoing -- the Tragic Flaw. Between them, these two extremes account for a good many characters in SFF, typically split between Heroes and Villains, respectively. What I'm wondering about are the characters in the middle of these two extremes.
Oftentimes, the typical construction of a flawed character seems to take the same route as a prospective employee in a job interview answering the question "what would you consider your most significant flaw?" The prospective employee almost universally answers by selecting a strength that, when pushed to the extreme, becomes a comparative weakness. "Well, I'm sometimes overly dedicated to a task," for example. Which is kinda like saying, "sometimes I'm too good at my job." Not really a flaw -- for the sake of argument, let's call these weak flaws.
A quick flip-through of the books on my shelf indicates that a good many SFF characters are constructed with precisely this model (and it's certainly not a criticism new to SFF). Start with a desirable character attribute then push it into the negative to create a flaw. (These are often categorized as minor flaws, though I think of them more as simply character attributes.)
So on the one hand, you have your Paul Atreides, Luke Skywalker, Aragorn types. They have personal backgrounds that give them certain emotional shortcomings, but those shortcomings almost always are part of how that character matures (gods with daddy issues, anyone?). These aren't always flaws so much as they're foils for character development.
(Note: there's absolutely nothing wrong with these sorts of characters -- it's just not the point of my question. Forgive me if my simplification of them rankles )
Then, on the other hand, you have your Lannister, Anakin Skywalker, Boromir, Thomas Covenant, Roland Deschain, Cheradenine Zakalwe types. These guys have real, significant flaws -- actual cracks in their characters -- that lead them into sticky situations, often requiring others to step in for them. They tend not to have an abundance of control, or even awareness, of their flaws. Which is to say, their character flaws will often come to affect and shape the master-plot, and aren't primarily there for character development sub-plots. These aren't so much Anti-Heroes, either (though I wouldn't consider that a flaw-exclusive [or even flaw-dependent] character type).
I find I can construct a weakly-flawed character (the extreme-attribute-as-flaw type) with comparative ease. Tragically Flawed characters and Anti-Heroes, likewise. But the actually flawed character is much harder for me to do. I find that they're especially difficult in longer works -- suddenly one flawed character ends up doing something that makes sense for that character, but throws the whole story plan off. These characters seem to have a tendency to become the focus of the story (characters gaining agency in directing your story seems to be an irritating, but essential, side effect of flawed characters). This situation often gets out of hand, to the point that I'll lose the thread and have to walk away. I've tried to plan for moments where the character's flaw comes into the plot, but then the whole thing feels contrived. Or I end up with a plot that relies on flaws becoming relevant at key moments (like in the movie Cube, for example) -- which also comes off as contrived.
Does anyone have any advice on how to go about constructing a good, flawed character? How do you make your own flawed characters, how do you use them, how do you introduce them and their flaws to your story, and why why why?
Any help, whether it be pointed advice or pointless musing, is greatly appreciated.