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.


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.


Characters Have Friends

Just as in real life, our characters do not walk alone. At least interesting ones don’t. They must have someone they care about, someone to share ideas with, someone to go places with.

Friendships are developed over time, and if well-founded, can survive illness, an argument, and even separations caused by time and place.

Some people believe that you are who you are with, so choose friends for appearance, for stature, for success. For example, a teen who wants to be popular will seek out popular kids and attempt to befriend them. A business woman who wants a job in the tech field, will associate with other techies.

Your character’s world must be populated with friends as well as potential friends. A story in which interpersonal interactions are casual meetings, is an in-your-head story and might not be too appealing. The pace would be slow and tedious.

We must have conflict. Not punches and beatings, but words that force characters out of their shells and to face the situations that arise. Friends help to accomplish this.

For example, a middle grade student hates his teacher and so talks back and disrupts class. He ends up hanging with the tough kids, those that regularly defy authority. Imagine the trouble that ensues as the student finds himself more and more enmeshed in this group.

Your task is to take one of your stories and add in a close friendship. First decide the purpose of the relationship. Is it to become a love interest? A daring-do combative contest? A study partner with equal interests in college?

Once you’ve defined the purpose, then think about how the relationship factors into the story. Does the friend push the protagonist to new heights or drag him down? Does the friend want something out of the relationship that maybe the protagonist isn’t interested in at this time?

Rework your story, adding in the friend. Something has to happen. They have a fight or fall in love. They design new apps for cell phones or open an antique business. They go on a vacation together or rent an apartment.

Make things happen that drive the story along and add interest.

When you are finished, think about what has happened. Does the friendship enrich the story? Why or why not? If not, then go back and rewrite until it does.

Just remember that friendships count in the fiction world as well as in real life.

Have fun with this one.