Character Issues!So how important is it to keep characters consistent while writing your book or novel? It's pretty important if you want to maintain a sense of believability throughout your story. For example, if you've created a character who tends to be excitable, talkative, or annoying most of the time, that character should maintain those traits during the majority of your story. That isn't to say that they can't have an experience where they become withdrawn temporarily, but overall they should stick to what the reader has come to expect from them. On the same token, if you have a character who tends to be smart and reliable most of the time, but they begin to act in ways that makes them appear foolish or clumsy, you better have a good reason for putting it in.
The main reason for this is to keep a sense of believability to your reader. Yes it's your world and you get to say what happens while writing it, but readers overall want to have a story they can buy into. Crafting it that way is something they will appreciate.
The best way to avoid character discrepancies is to have a strong sense of who your characters are before you start writing. In a lot of ways, writing is a close cousin to acting. You have to be able put yourself in your characters' shoes so you can have them respond appropriately. It's also a good idea to get feedback from another, who is willing to give you the truth about your writing. Avoid a person who's quick to give you a pat on the back for a job well done. You need real constructive criticism so you can fix the problems that may not be apparent to you. Your story is your baby after all and it's hard to find fault in your own baby. To you, it just looks cute and cuddly from all possible angles.
After working with a good editor a few times, you'll find that you make less mistakes. As you write, you'll remember their feedback and you'll fix it yourself during your rewrites.
This applies to fiction of course. When you're talking about nonfiction, just tell it like it is. Don't make things up. If you do, somebody is going to know, trust me.
So happy writing or rewriting as the case may be. Figure those characters out, get a second opinion, and get that story done. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can start on the next one. Everyone is waiting to read it. You know they are.