Good Friends

            Some people are lucky to have met and kept a good friend throughout their lives. They grew up together, shared countless experiences and even when distance separated them, they maintained their relationship. Having a good friend is truly special.

            Other people are not so lucky. Perhaps it’s because they moved around so much as children, or that their families discouraged making friends outside of the family, but these individuals grow up not knowing the kind of bond that can last forever.

            There are also independent individuals who prefer living in isolation. They like being on their own, not owing allegiance or time to anyone else. They work best on solitary projects, going on vacations to isolated places and avoiding crowds of any kind.

            Your task is to write a story in which friendship plays a major role. Your character can be the kind who gathers friends like collecting rocks, the kind who has difficulty making friends, or the one who enjoys his own company. Maybe, if you are feeling adventurous, you could have all three types of characters in your story.

            At the beginning readers will need to know what type of character the protagonist is. Show his personality through dialogue and interactions with others. Action and scene are also critical. All can be sweet and smooth or there can be a little conflict when differing personalities interact.

            Have fun with this one.

Friendship

Friends are important. Let’s face it, without friends, our lives would be pretty boring.

Think of all the things we do with friends. It’s not just about talking, but helping in times of joy and sadness, being there in times of need, offering support to clean out the garage, take rubbish to the dump, or even washing the car.

We rely on our friends to give us rides when our car is in the shop or when we are going to the airport. We offer our thoughts and prayers when they are hurting and they do the same for us.

There are fun things we do together that span from luxurious vacations to a simple lunch out at a fast food restaurant.

Because we need friends, so do our characters.

Your task is to create a few profiles of potential friends for your protagonist. Make a list of five different character types. Make another list of things the two have in common. Match up one character type with one commonality.

Take something you’ve been working on and write a scene in which the friends interact. Be sure to include dialogue, because one thing that friends do is talk.

Have them walk about, see things, do things, eat things. Have them share ideas or secrets or concerns.

Most importantly is that they spend quality time together.

Have fun with this one.

 

Companions

The vast majority of us do not walk through life alone. We have best friends who listen to us, support us, advise us when we need it the most. They go places with us, visit when we are ill, bring us happiness and stand by us when we are afraid.

Sometimes our friends come to see us, sometimes we go see them, and often we meet somewhere in between. We go out for lunch, dinner or drinks. We go to movies or the theater. We walk in parks, sit on benches, sip coffee in a coffee house.

What about your characters? Do they have best friends? If not, is there a reason why they don’t?

For example, some mentally ill people see conspirators wherever they go, so they hide alone, in some cramped room, terrified to live.

But most of us do meet with others. So must your characters. Reread one of your stories or a scene from your novel. Is there a substantial friend? Not just a convenient conversationalist, but someone to whom the character leans?

Add in a good friend. Give them meaningful dialogue. Have them walk together, go someplace together, meet up regularly. Make this acquaintance not just a one-time occurrence, but something that happens with regularity.

After you’ve done this, go back and reread. How is the story now? Does it have a more natural flow? Is your protagonist more interesting? Does she have more depth? Do we get to see inside her and understand her better?

Hopefully this is so.

Have fun with this one.