Relationships in YA—they don’t all have to be romantic! How I crafted the best friends Cannon and Raine in SURRENDER
Okay, so it’s no secret that I like a little kissing in books. All books. If there’s no kissing, I want there to at least be the kindling of a flame. The hint of future kissing. Ha!
But, I will say that not every relationship needs to be romantic. Because how unrealistic would that be?
I’ll admit that non-romantic relationships are hard for me to write. They take much more control, and careful planning, and a whole heckuva lot of backstory that probably won’t even make it into the novel. Enough history has to be established, but not too much.
So when I was working on SURRENDER, I needed to insert bits of history, years worth of best friend relationship between Raine Hightower and her match, Cannon Lichen, without bogging the reader down too much.
This can be a tricksy thing to do. I think one of the keys is to make their relationship feel like home. For Raine, the narrating character in SURRENDER, Cannon is the only person in the world to soothe her fears. He’s the only one who knows her secrets. He’s the one who’s always been there.
A platonic, best friend relationship that isn’t going to develop into something else has to feel authentic. Moments have to be inserted in the right places. Sometimes words have to go unsaid, because after all, these people have been friends for a long time. They know each other well enough to know when to speak and when not to.
So crafting a best friend relationship has to mostly happen off the page, inside the author’s own head. They have to know a lot more about the relationship than the reader sees on the page. Otherwise, it can come off feeling shallow and cheap, and we don’t want to read books like that.
What books have you read with perfectly developed best friends? One of my favorite examples is Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. I also loved the relationship between a girl and boy best friends in Tera Elan McVoy’s BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS, a fabulous YA contemporary novel.
Share some of your favorites!
This week’s giveaway has everything to do with characters. Participate in any of the blog discussions this week and you could win one of three books with complex characters I loved. VARIANT by Rob Wells. THE LIMIT by Kristen Landon. THE DROWNED CITIES by Paolo Bacigalupi. All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win.
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Enjoy your reading!