As a bit of a starter, the idea for this thread came from a fic I read quite a while ago. It raised what I thought was a good topic for discussion, but given the critical nature of what I wanted to ask I left it alone at the time so that there'd be no chance that the author of the fic in question could deduce I was referring to his/her story. The question I had after reading the story was "How do fanficcers write believable characters of the opposite sex?" This question arose after having read a story in which Obi-Wan had been so entirely feminized (and not intentionally) that he almost couldn't be considered a male character, but a female character with a hairy chest and beard (and other assorted accoutrements). My initial thought was simply "bad characterization," but over the next several days the subject got stuck in my head and kept raising questions about writing in general, and I hoped that after waiting for a period of time so that there'd be no possibility that this person could deduce "Hey, that's my story he's talking about!" I could bring it up for a general discussion. Essentially, how to male writers create believable female characters and how do female writers create believable male characters? Now obviously with canon characters the groundwork has already been established for someone like Leia, Padme, Luke, Han, Anakin, or Obi-Wan. With the exception of AU scenarios, there is an established pattern to follow when writing these characters. Plus, there's enough common ground between how men and women behave that it's quite possible that even if one goofs on a few gender-specific reactions that a character would at least appear to be androgynous if not properly masculine or feminine. However, that's not to say that it still all can't be done entirely wrong, as I mentioned above. Also, with original characters, where there aren't established guidelines to follow, is it more difficult to believably write a character of the opposite sex? (This part comes from having an old fic of mine recently beta read and it was pointed out that a female OC of mine was "stereotypically" too female in places.) So, when you women are writing a male character, are there any tricks to putting yourself into a male-perspective mindset so that the character's actions are more true to his gender? Same question but reversed for the men out there. It should go without saying, but please do not identify the fanficcer or the story or cite specific examples if making any critical assessments (unless critiquing one of your own fics, of course). If you want to give examples of how someone really got it right, obviously that'd be perfectly fine, but try to keep the discussion more theoretical than specific.