I absolutely need my friends.
But right now I’m thinking about literary friendships – and I gotta have those, too. Friends are so handy when trying to make a character come to life.
A few ways friends can help tell a story:
- A good friend shows your character is likable – even when they are going through a rough and potentially unlikable time.
- Friends can provide backstory and history for your main character.
- They can be good for measurement. How does your main character compare to his/her best friend? In what ways are they different? Who’s changing and how?
- They can motivate your main character.
- They can cause tension and stress.
- They can raise the stakes.
- They are something to lose or gain.
- A friend – new or old – can be the catalyst to start the action.
Here are some of my favorite friendships in middle grade and young adult novels – eliminating the romance factor (which seriously shortens the list). (Dogs provide another kind of friendship!)
- Max and Kevin, from Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, become a new and improved version of themselves when they combine Kevin’s brains with Max’s brawn.
- Curt changes and saves Troy’s life in Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going – and then Troy returns the favor.
- When Sal tells her grandparents stories about her friend Phoebe, she is able to unwrap her own story at the same time in Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.
- Stanley and Zero make everything right by joining together in Holes by Louis Sachar.
- Colin and Hassan are hilarious in John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines – John Green, a master storyteller in so many ways, writes superb friendships in all of his books.
Hmmmm… I just noticed Sal and Phoebe make up the only female friendship here! I better add the girls (Tibby, Carmen, Lena and Bridget) from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares and also Cassie, Lydia and Emily from The Year of Secret Assignments.
Who have I forgotten? Who are your favorite (and platonic) friendships?
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK