Rule 405 requires the person registered within the securities industry to “know your customer”.  By knowing your customer you can make suitable investment recommendations and also protect yourself from money launderers in illegal businesses.

In the writing world you must apply this rule–“know your character”. After all, it is your character making decisions throughout your story. What your character decides carries the plot. You must know what your character would do in certain situations — scream and run, stay and fight, etc.

Sometimes though, you must get your character to act out of character. In Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Donald Maas asks a series of questions and then instructs you apply the answers to your story:

What is the one thing that your protagonist would never, ever say? never do? never think? By adding those things to your story you are certain to add conflict which is a key element in story.

In my story, Absalom’s Beauty, my character has just recovered the horse that was stolen in the violent murder of her father. What is the one thing she’d never do? Give up that horse again. What does she do? She gives  up the horse. Why? Because a little girl is more important to her than the horse.