...and cpolk just cracked him wide open for me. Leading me to a Major Writing Revelation. It's not enough to understand a character, or his motivations, or his role in the story. It's not enough to keep him consistent, with enough inconsistency to seem real. It's not enough to know what he wants and what he needs, and how he can't have both.
A character in fiction, to be convincing, has to be a person, and not a purpose. He can't just live his role. The writer has to know his damage, even if he doesn't know it himself. The writer has to know why. Otherwise, the reader will be able to tell that that character is only a role.
I can see I have some fixing to do on this book, and on Stratford Man, because I have two other characters in this one and one character in SM who are just that--roles.
Drat. Plateaus suck, but going back and fixing things you did poorly in the past by using the things you learn when you break the plateau sucks more.