Tuesday, June 7

I Need A Friend!

Friendship is so important in real life.

I consider my daughter Brandi my closest friend. My best friend outside of family is Kim. We've been through thick and thin, and we'll be friends forever.

But what I'm interested in here is books, yours and mine. And friendship in them. Do your characters have friends? Do they need friends?

In real life, most people need friendship. But in novels, it's not so important. Or is it?

Friends in books tend to be sounding boards (as in real life), but there's rarely any depth beyond the chat about the hero or heroine's love life. Not much bonding over silly stuff. Not much one on one time doing anything other than bemoaning how much the hero or heroine doesn't need love.

I would like to see a book where a real freindship was included. I realize there's not a lot of time or words to explore a friendship in a romance, and it's not the main focus. But it would be fun to see a book in which the Main Character had a real friend.


  1. Since "real life" involves a number of people in different relationship capacities, I try to include several variations of friends and family in my stories. I may not go into HUGE detail and don't usually give a back story unless it's connected, but my secondary characters are some of my best effort.

  2. Awesome!

    That makes me happy to hear!

  3. Yep, you're right--most friends in novels are simply sounding boards for the main characters. But since the main focus should be on the hero and heroine it's hard to explore a deeper, more profound friendship between the main characters and their friends.

  4. Hi, D'Ann, great blog! I think friends are very important in real life and in books. Especially if it's the hero's friend. I think it shows another side to character-a softer side, a more vulnerable side, a more human side sometimes.
    P.S. My husband is one of my best friends :)

  5. I've pretty much been the rogue loner in life, had a good friend here and there. My husband is my #1 and now I have a couple really close online friends. In the stories I write, I try to include a friend in the background, but it's hard to write them in depth. Just like Brenda explained - and she did so perfectly.

  6. My bestfriend is also my oldest daughter's aunt. We've been friends since sixth grade. Even though things didn't work out between her brother and I, it didn't affect our friendship. I like reading about friendship in books. It gives a character more depth.

  7. Friends are imperative in books! Love the secondary characters, who often now have plots of their own. I gobble up the friend scenes as much as the romantic ones.

  8. Yes. I love seeing strong bonds in movies and in books. I think it adds character. You really become part of the friendship.

    BTW Love your picture.

  9. That's how some of our work leans toward women's fiction. Not that we always think it does, but editors do.

    I remember on the Mary Tyler Moore show (dating myself) when Mary wanted to spend the weekend with Rhoda because she just needed a friend fix. Rhoda's husband Joe had gotten the weekend off specially and he wanted to spend it with Rhoda, too. Rhoda chose to spend the time with Mary and I thought it was very realistic. Friendships *are* important.

    Sorry, didn't mean to write a book...slinking away now...but a good subject, D'Ann!

  10. I think we assume our characters have friends. And to draw those friends into the story, unless artfully done, could lose the tension between hero and heroine.And if overdone, you'd have a secondary relationship going on.

  11. I needed a friend in one of my novels. My didn't have all the facets that a conversation with a friend includes. Great post.

  12. In my three romantic mysteries,
    Kim Reynolds, reluctant, paranormal librarian sleuth is a loner. But she does have some friends. In THE INFERNO COLLECTION,
    her friend from grad school asks her for help and she tries to provide it. In THE DROWNING POOL,
    Kim befriends her boy friend's police partner, Bert St. Croix.
    That friendship holds through the latest romantic mystery, THE TRUTH SLEUTH. The theme of friendship is an important part of each novel.

  13. Your overall blog and comments are insightful. I enjoyed reading thru several!

    Regarding friendships - I think we can imply deeper relationships than we show, simply by the way the characters talk to one another or interact. In Surrender Love, I had Izzorah (one of the two heroes) interact with his cousin and the two had a rough and tumble chase-me, grab-you playful fight scene where a lamp got knocked over and the leader of the band Izzorah's in showed up and told them to pipe down and go to bed. LOL Izzorah's childlike, playful manner came across because of it. It also helps to show that he's a cat-human hybrid and full of energy and whimsy.

    His human lover-to-be is shown as a button-down-shirt and tie, all business entrepreneur who takes time to meet with two friends for a predawn breakfast, and then drops off a donation for a school for half-human children.

    In both cases, the friendships show character. Throughout the book, friendships come into play, as mentors, advisors, protectors, and one is even a doctor. I think having richly developed secondary characters provides depth to the story and the interaction of the hero/ine with the friend *can* be key to understanding the main characters.

    Just an all around terrific post, D'Ann. Really enjoyed reading it and the various comments!

  14. Great post, D'Ann...

    I agree with you and the others about friendships in novels. As many mentioned it's hard to show the friendship outside sounding board mode, but it can be done.

    I think the best friendship I've ever written (ironically was in my first book). In A Hunter's Angel Grace and Ben are police partners and best friends since childhood (of course--there is a hint of romantic intention on Ben's part for the first half of the book) but I think his loyalty to her and hers to him showed what kind of friendship they had. There was never any question about how she felt about Ben or the vampire hero. She risked her life for Ben and he risked his for her when they encountered the evil vampire.

    However, Ben also played the part of sidekick in the story so maybe that's why it was so easy to develop his and Grace's relationship more...She's the Chief of Police, and he's her lieutenant.

    I also think I do a decent job at developing the friendship between Dylan and Zack in Butterfly. At first Dylan sees Zack as a PIA sheriff who throws him in jail for his binge drinking. But as events unfold in the main plot, they become friends. Zack isn't just a sounding board for Dylan, but as a fellow veteran, he helps Dylan with getting through his PTSD. Besides helping get enough evidence to convict the wealthy oil baron next door before he can hurt the heroine.

    I think showing or developing friendships depends on the story you're telling and how much subplot you have room for. In my categories, there's barely much room for friendship. My characters may have friends, but a lot of the relationship has to be implied.

    That's my 2 cents.

  15. Even though I've tended to be a loner in real life, I've tried in my longer works to create bonds of friendship. Because people (and characters are people too) need those close relationships. In my current WIP the heroine, Kat, is befriended by the hero's sister. And she likes her a whole lot more than the hero for quite a while!

    But her very best friend is her brother and that relationship is set up early and is a constant. Sibling friendships are different, but just as important, both in life and in print!

    Awesome post, by the way!

  16. It's one of my pet-peeves - the depth of friendship/non-romantic-interest relationships...and it's across the board - romance, mystery, literary ... at least in my experience. It's also one of my weaknesses because, with 50,000 words, there just isn't a lot of 'friend time' in my books...but I do try to fit it in.

  17. You're reading the wrong genre ;) YA is full of friendship. LOL Of course, they might be vampires, fairies, or werewolves, but they're still friends.

    Seriously, I think it does depend on the genre. For teenagers, friends are as important and sometimes more important than the love interest. And often times, more important than the parental figures.

    And I think a lot of women's fiction spotlights the female friendship. Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin is more about the effect of infidelity on the friendship more than the romantic relationship.

  18. Thank you, everyone, for coming by!

    I appreciate the insight and thoughts on friendships in books.

    I meant to reply to each of you individually, but the day got away.

    I'm lucky to have so many awesome writer friends!