In the month since I last posted anything, I have encountered a lot of interesting personalities, most recently the individual who damaged my car while it was in its parking space. But as a writer I must go beyond observing personalities and look for techniques to create convincing characters in fiction. In the July/August 2011 issue of Writers' Digest is a worthwhile article on this subject by Stephen James, entitled "Raise Your Characters Above the Status Quo."
I will not spoil this article by telling all that is in it, except to say that it suggests ways in which a writer can depict interactions between two individuals in which each is striving for the upper hand. James mentions specific behaviours and descriptive words that demonstrate the power and status (or lack of power and status) of a given character. For instance, if a character "stomps" and "struts" is indicates lower status than if he "strides." I recommend this article.