Characters and their interactions are important in any book. In order to make them appear real to the reader, the actions and motives of the characters must be believable. This is why the most valuable research a writer can conduct is the study of human behavior.
Books on human behavior
· Personality Plus by Florence Littauer – excellent guide to human behaviors based on personality types
· The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
· Bringing out the Best in People/The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy McGinnis
· Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus by John Gray
· The Disconnected Generation by Josh McDowell – great for understanding teen behavior
· And any other relationship, personality, or inspirational book that provides human behavior insights
Observation – how do real people react under similar circumstances?
· Examine the past and present behavior of family and friends
· Observe humanity through the news – this will provide a worldly view
· Watch people in public places such as sporting events, restaurants, grocery stores, churches, etc.
· Follow the actions of a person similar to your character – remember, no stalking
· Wherever you find people, you’ll find opportunities to study human behavior if you just take the time
· Interview real people in positions or circumstances similar to your character’s situation
· Search for events in your story on the Internet
· Non-fiction books with accounts of people enduring the same challenges found in your story
· Websites devoted to the discussion of human behavior or issues
· Online forums and live discussions – find discussions on your story’s topics or post the questions yourself