|Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. |
We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.
Friendship, I think it's safe to say, is an issue in most if not all children's books. Now that my MG mystery is finished and in the hands of editors, I realize a subconscious exploration of friendship had been going on during the writing, some good, some bad.
Friendships are important - if not crucial - for our well-being.
An Aha Moment
The book was done. Fini. Caput. Honest. Time away, in its wisdom, has continued to fine-tune unexpected areas that felt complete only days ago. The questions began to rise like the broth in vegetable soup: Did I cover enough ground in my portrayals of my characters' interactions? Can I make their growing friendships more meaningful?
There are four major friendships-in-the-making:
mc + sidekick
mc + grandpa
mc + dog
mc + cat and her kittens
The antagonist isn't having it:
antag - bullies mc
antag - is jealous of mc
antag - is mean and cruel - a bully
antag - her egotism blocks any hope of friendship unless she changes
The antagonist's problem? The eleven-year-old mc and her sidekick compliment each other. Friendship blooms. She doesn't know how to be friends.
Nothing can replace the value of a close friendship.
Example of a friendship-in-the-making:
not in tune with subtleties of others empathetic to the extreme
athletic not athletic at first
cautious, not wanting to get in trouble is willing to take chances, curious, adventuresome
entrenched in her immediate surroundings thinks outside of the box
outdoors type artistic, prone to indoor activities
By the end of the book, the characters learn from each other and share their qualities. The master plan is to expand this book into a series. The characters will grow. Their friendships will deepen. That's the goal.
Develop Positive Traits of Friendship
As I wade through this partial list of how my characters can become better at being friends, think of the portrayal of your characters' friendships. Do they need fine tuning?
Making and retaining friendships isn't easy.
Choose your friends wisely.
Believe in yourself.
Be careful not to be hurtful.
Be a good listener.
Be confident but not egotistical.
Have the shoulder a friend can cry on.
Keep in touch.
Make eye contact and smile.
Remember birthdays and special occasions.
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Photo: By Linda Wilson