First of all, this is a question that was asked aiming good bibliography suggestions and tips.
Secondly, my question could be cast into the famous interrogative sentence: "How can I construct good characters?". Furthermore, this is one of the first general questions which an beginner writer asks after reading some references on creative writing; the writer, then, begins to realize how complex and labourious is the task to construct a fictional character.
Well, I'm a "freshman" in creative writing for sure. But my tendency on searching a more technical literature, drove me to read (partially) my very first text on creative writing: Mckee's STORY. After that I began to realize that the external world of a story is, somehow, superfluous without a "character with a story", and "a character with a story" is, in my opinion, some sort of an "emergent structure" which emerges from the deep layers of the psyche of a particular character, after some event (possibly); that's the main point of this question.
I think that there's two things happening in the process of creating a character for a novel: the "construction of the character" and "the author's history". By "author's history" I mean: the particular experiences of (real) life that he or she have had; the "construction of the character" I mean: tools and faculties (like semiotics, psychology etc...) that helps the writer to perform a yelding between primitive concepts like "happiness" and the "first layer"("deep reason that drives the character"/"the innermost conflict"/"the reason that even the character doesn't knows that exists") of the character psique. Furthermore, I don't know if is paramount that to write about the happiness of a character the author must have lived this feeling; for instance, can the author construct the deep layers of the character using just theoretical descriptions of happiness?
Beyond all that digression up above, I would like to ask: which "technical tools" (for instance, the study of semiotics, psychology, etc...) could help the author to explore, create and define the inner layers of the psyche of a character? In other words, how can I construct a whole psyche of a character out from just a barely, raw and nebulous idea of his primitive feelings?