So, a confession: I’m on my eighth manuscript (or so) and I’m, for the very first time, writing a true friendship.
It’s funny, because writing friendship is something I totally did not realize I didn’t do until I made the conscious decision to include it.
The second I decided it belonged in this manuscript, the fact that I hadn’t really done it before slapped me right in the face.
That said, I don’t believe my previous main characters were friendless losers.
Nor were they loners.
Not even close.
Every single one of them had friends and family and people they talked to to make the story go round (duh). I mean, this is obvious. Even infamous loner Jack Reacher has people he can talk to. (Though, “Reacher said nothing,” might be one of the series’ most famous lines.)
But, as is the case with many mysteries, the friendships I examined in the past were that of coworkers. You know, people working together on a case, or who join forces to catch a killer. A coworker relationship is a level of friendship, of course, but it’s completely distinct when compared to people who are simply friends.
Plus, in my manuscripts as in many others, there’s often an element of romantic tension coloring the main friendship/working relationship. And that, whether it’s between coworkers or true friends, changes everything about the friendship you’re examining.
But this time around, my main character has a true best friend.
The kind who’d have matching half-heart necklaces if they were a bit younger.
They’re just a couple of girlfriends, who do things girlfriends do.
They call each other. They shop. They dish on boys.
Heck, I have an entire scene where they’re at a pizza joint on a Saturday night. It’s integral to the story, but the scene is really about their friendship (and demonstrating the nature of it) as much as it is about moving the main plot forward.
For some reason, the chance to write this sort of relationship feels liberating. It’s so different from writing boss-underling, coworker-coworker, worker-new worker, will-they-or-won’t-they-get-together “friends.” It’s fun. It’s fresh. And it reminds me of the girls I love and feel grateful to call friends.
How do you approach friendship in your manuscripts? Is there room for it, or does it hang out on the sidelines?