Writing Believable Characters (via @YAFantasyGuide and @ZenaShapter)

These tips on how to write believable characters come via Stacey O'Neale's blog and Zena Shapter's blog. I like bad writing examples, so the painful sample at the end of Stacey's post raised a smile:

Henry said, "Carla, I know you are feeling this way because six months ago you lost your father in a car accident and feel personally responsible."

These tips aren't particular to Young Adult Fantasy, of course.

In a separate article, Zena discusses writing female characters. She summarises the 'When genres attack 2' discussion she attended:

P M Newton kicked off the discussion by admitting that her female detective in “The Old School”, Nhu ‘Ned’ Kelly, had been criticised because she had flaws, such as getting stomach upsets when distressed. Apparently, readers didn’t want a woman in a difficult job to have flaws, they just wanted her to be strong.

It feels to me like a lose-lose scenario. As Zena points out, having characters with no flaws isn't a particularly realistic expectation.

After listening to what these four vibrant authors had to say about both their own female characters and those of others, what became clear to me was that there will always be someone out there ready and happy to criticise the characters we write – whether they’re male or female, whether we’re male or female.

Read the rest of Stacey's article here: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/writing-believable-characters.htm and check out Zena's discussion about what several authors had to say about female characterisation here:  http://www.zenashapter.com/blog/?p=1958