Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Best Friends

Every story could stand to have a good Best Friend character. They're the spice to the main character's main course. Sure, spaghetti in tomato sauce can taste good with just pasta and tomato sauce, but add in some garlic and salt and BAM. That's what your character's best friend is; they're the BAM.

(Don't sue me, Emeril.)

Just imagine Luke Skywalker without Han Solo. Harry without Ron. Steve without Bucky. They're the balance to the MC. Where Luke is a whiny but obedient nephew who doesn't really take risks, Han's the world-weary traveler who lives by his own rules. Where Harry's the famous kid who has no idea what's going on, Ron's the "just another Weasley" who knows everything about the magic world. They contradict each other and help each other survive through those contradictions. And usually, in my own opinion, the best friends are more fun. The hero has to save the world, the day, or whatever it is that needs saving. The best friend, though, they're not required to be the one with the weight on their shoulders, and as a result, they tend to be more vibrant, quirky characters. They're the comedy relief, the voice of reason, and the hero's motivation in one package.

In The Business of Being Dead, I've got Shelley. Where the MC, Hannah, doesn't have any idea what's going on and tends towards being a mature almost-adult, Shelley's an experienced, knowledgeable, permanent kid-at-heart. Hannah doesn't have time for frivolities. I don't really even know what her hobbies were when she was alive. She didn't have time for them, and she doesn't discuss them. Shelley, though, was a thrill-seeker, habitual storyteller, and is obsessed with glitter. She was the adventurer where Hannah's the homebody. She's the squealing giggles in the quiet, the shine in the darkness, the weirder in the already-weird, and I get the feeling she's going to be a lot of people's favorite character.

So what about you, dear readers? Do you have a best friend for your MC, and if so, who are they and what do they bring to the table?

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