The Importance of Friends – Thursday’s Children

Thursday’s Children – A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.

Walking into town on Tuesday to meet a friend for lunch I started thinking about how important friends are not only in real life but in fiction too. There are all kinds of friends, from the ones that stick by you through the good times and bad; the friends you don’t speak to very often but when you do it feels like no time at all has passed; the friends who have drifted apart; and the friends that you’ve known since you were a kid. In fiction the main character’s friends can play a vital role to the story. The role of friend is a great fictional device – they can be someone the main character can talk to, argue with, confide in, go on an adventure with, be divided from or even fall in love with.

Meeting up with my friend after six months and catching up on all that’s happened in that time got me thinking about my new WIP and the fact that I’ve not yet figured in a friend for my main character, someone she can confide in when she suddenly finds herself on her own and out of her depth in a country she doesn’t yet know. (My new WIP is going to be set in Tanzania and Zanzibar.)

In my novel The Butterfly Storm my main character, Sophie, has a best friend who, although divided by physical distance, is someone she trusts and can confide in when there’s no one else to talk to. Friends (and enemies) play an even more important role in my children’s novel, Time Shifters, where my main character, Maisie, goes off on an adventure in search of her best friend who is caught up with an army. The only trouble is Maisie has to share her adventure with Lizzie, the school bully and someone who she considers to be far from a friend.

Whatever genre of novel, whether fantasy, children’s or chick-lit, fiction is filled with characters whose role is that of friend and confidant. In Lord of the Rings it’s Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee that accompanies Frodo on his quest to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom. Ron and Hermione are as integral to the story as Harry himself is in the Harry Potter books, while contemporary women’s fiction wouldn’t be the same without its carefully crafted friendships where characters can share their hopes, dreams and innermost thoughts with a best mate.

Just as in real life friendships in fiction can be complicated affairs with relationships between friends falling apart over the smallest of things or managing to survive the worst of times. Friends can impart invaluable advice or set your main character on the wrong path. So, this coming week my quest will be to decide on the friendships my main character in my new WIP is going to discover and the impact they will have on her during her time in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

How about you, do friends and friendships play an important part in your writing?

Inspire and be inspired by clicking on this linky and joining in with the Thursday’s Children blog hop. Big thanks go to hosts Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

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  1. Oh yes :) Unless you are purposely writing about a hermit. Even then, most generally have something to talk to. Well said!

  2. I’m with you. Friends are important in fiction and in real life. Thanks for the reminder. Think I’ll text my BFF and share your post. :)

  3. My MCs tend to be loners. In three cases friendship eventually becomes romantic love (maybe because my hubs was my best friend before he became anything else, and he still is my best friend). But I agree friendships can be important in fiction and useful in terms of character and plot development.

    • Friendship is definitely a good grounding for a romantic relationship whether in real life or fiction. So lovely that you consider your hubby to be your best friend – I feel the same way about my hubby too. :-)

  4. Friendships are central to my stories. In my YA historical, it’s a new friend who leads my MC into the exciting world of the upper class. For young people especially, peer relationships both affirm and test who you are. In my cozy series, the ongoing characters are friends…this genre specializes in creating warm relationships that hopefully the readers will enjoy returning to.

    • Friends are so important when you’re growing up so I’m not surprised that friendships are central to the stories you write.

  5. Not only is having a friend/confidante vital to our (and our characters’) sanity, the lack of such a person in our lives tells many stories of its own. Not only do friends inspire and strengthen us, they also add conflicts and new experiences to our table.

    What a sweet and poignant topic for a Thursday’s Child, Kate. :-)

    • Ah thanks Eden – and I totally agree with you about friends adding conflicts and new experiences to our lives, which is a great thing when writing fiction.

  6. Friends are important. Thanks for sharing, Kate:)

  7. Kate, Sam Gamgee is probably my favorite character in all of literature. So glad you mentioned him! And Tanzania and Zanzibar?! How exotic and fun! Does this mean you’ll be taking a “working vacation” there sometime soon??

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  9. Friends are us. Friends are an extension of ourselves.
    I hold every friend I’ve ever made close to my heart, and brought elements of friends I’ve had from elementary years into my ms. Wish we hadn’t lost touch. (phone glitching -ugh, sorry)

    • It is sad losing touch with friends you’ve known from when you were a kid or a teenager – I love the fact that you bring elements of friends you’ve known in to your stories.

  10. christineallenriley

    My most recent story centers on the loss of a friend and how deeply that affects the MC’s life. Tanzania and Zanzibar sound amazing! How wonderful that you’ve gotten to travel there!

    • Thanks Christine. I spent two weeks in Tanzania and Zanzibar (on our honeymoon) a few years back and they’re truly amazing and inspiring places. Seemed the perfect choice for my next novel!

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