Mark Spragg reminded us to take the time, in editing and revising, to ensure that our characters stay true to themselves. Not to the action we, as writers, think they will take or want them to take, but to remain within the boundaries of who they really are. “I already know how I hold them in my mind,” he said. “I do not know how they will present themselves on the page.”
If the writer fails to do this and allows dialogue or action into the story that goes against a character’s nature, even if it decidedly moves the story forward, it jolts the reader out of the “dream” and they lose faith in both the character and the writer.
This is particularly important when pulling research into a work of fiction. The characters “need to live it, not report it” as we writers would.