A lot of people requested that I do a Part 2 to my writing friendships post, so here it is:
1. Knowing & keeping each other’s secrets
- I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me a secret, you best believe I’m going to tell my best friend. That’s just how it works.
- So, if you have two characters who are supposed to be the best of friends, I suggest having them know each other’s secrets. If your MC suddenly develops magical powers or has a new crush or got into their dream university, they’re probably going to want to share it with their best friend.
- If best friends don’t know something about each other, there has to be a VERY good reason.
- Hand-in-hand with this is the keeping of each other’s secrets. If your MC’s best friend turns into a werewolf every night, they should be able to trust that the MC won’t blurt it out to the press or their peers.
- If you want to write an unhealthy friendship, you can subvert these. Have the one friend keep mountains of secrets/be unable to keep the other’s secrets. OR have there be a secret that is worth telling someone else, but the friends are so blindly loyal that they still keep it under warps i.e. one friend is hurting themselves/someone else/being hurt by someone. These cases warrant sharing a secret in order to protect your friend.
2. Helping each other without being asked
- This doesn’t have to be in every friendship, but it’s a good way to show your readers how much these characters care for each other.
- Maybe one friend has run out of money for the month and the other leaves cash in their bag without saying anything. Maybe one of the characters aren’t feeling well and the other makes them a care package. Maybe your MC’s best friend is struggling at school. It could be a real testament to your MC’s character if they helped that friend with notes/tutoring etc.
- Friends want the best for each other and don’t need to be begged to help each other. This goes along with the point in my Part 1 post that friends can often tell what’s wrong with each other without having to ask.
- If you want to use this for an unhealthy friendship, turn helping into enabling. If one friend has a gambling problem and the other is continually there to bail them out without consequences, that’s not healthy assistance – it’s enabling an unhealthy habit. If one friend is too lazy to do their homework and the other always allows theirs to be copied, the same applies.
3. Becoming like family
- By now, my followers have probably realised that I like Supernatural, so I’m going to reference it once again: Family don’t end with blood.
- Long-term friends become so comfortable around each other that they behave like family members (and oftentimes become close with the real family).
- This means doing domestic things together with ease and already having the division of responsibilities figured out. One friend may cook when they’re together and the other washes the dishes etc. My best friend and I lived together for two years and we had a standard deal that she kills all the insects and I open all the jars/bottles. We didn’t even have to discuss it. We knew.
- This could also take the form of extreme comfort (like not caring about appearances around each other/admitting gross details to each other). Think of close sibling relationships.
- This could also mean security in the relationship, meaning that they feel free to call each other out/bicker without fear of the friendship ending.
- This can be turned around for toxic friendships – where one friend is manipulated to stay in an unhealthy/abusive friendship because the other is “like family”.
4. Freaking out when the other gets hurt
- This is especially useful if you’re writing something with lots of action/battle.
- If one of the friends gets wounded in a fight, the other should be crazy with worry. They should want to be by the other’s side/help with caring for their friend etc.
- If one of the friends are unconscious, even better. This way, their friend can refuse to leave their bedside until they wake up or read to them while they’re in a coma or whatever.
- I’m not saying this is necessarily the healthiest thing in the world, but including it in your book will definitely show the reader how much these friends care about each other.
5. Talking to each other
- This may seem like a very obvious point, but oftentimes friendships are mentioned in literature, but never really shown to the reader.
- It won’t cut it to just tell the reader that these two characters are best friends, you need to show them interacting frequently. They should be in as many scenes together as possible. And they should communicate a lot.
- This is often neglected in stories where romance features heavily. Character A has a best friend, we’re told. We see said best friend, Character B, once in the beginning of the novel. Then A meets heartthrob C and is never seen doing anything with B or talking to B about anything but C. No. I’m not going to believe two characters are the best of friends because you tell me they are. Readers want to see it for themselves.
Alright, that’s all I have on writing friendships. I hope that this can be useful to you guys 🙂
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