From the book SHOW ME THE LOVE! All Kinds of Love for All Kinds of Stories by Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan
Got Love? Got enough Love? Got the right kind of Love?
No matter your genre or style, a good story needs some kind of Love to engage us emotionally.
Too often people think Love is just the romantic or sexual kind. But wait – there’s more.
Love of adventure, land, community, family, friends, warrior bonding, love of pets, love of learning, love of death and destruction, interspecies love, transformative chivalric love….
This series explores the mythical and psychological aspects of different types of love, plus suggestions for the Shining Moment, Cinematic Techniques, and Symbols.
Join us for a journey through many different kinds of love that can enrich your characters, compel your plots, and move your audience. The first four articles were on Love of Adventure, Chivalric Love, Love for Animals, and Interspecies Love.
Let’s look now at BFF – Best Friends Forever.
Platonic love can be defined as a closeness, an affinity, loyalty, and enjoyment of the other person with no tinge of the erotic from either party.
This kind of love can be primary or a very important secondary part of your plot.
The Protagonist can have friends, sure. But unless that friendship itself is integral to the plot or to that character’s development, it doesn’t qualify as a BFF story.
Greek philosopher Aristotle observed that friendship is essential to human thriving. He noted that it comes in three versions, so decide which best fits your characters’ relationship.
1) those based on Utility – such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and other business and social contacts
2) those based on Pleasure – such as dancing or drinking, museums, book and movie buddies
3) those based on a shared Pursuit of Virtue — this often falls into the categories of religions and philosophy.
Aristotle believed that real friends are attracted to the best within each other. They are supportive, even when the friend makes mistakes or does not live up to their potential.
Some people are so desperate for friendship they overlay their desires on an unsuspecting or unworthy person. There’s an adorable greeting card with a picture of a little boy lying on the grass petting his turtle. He gazes at it affectionately and the word bubble says, “You’re my best friend”. The thought bubble above the turtle says, “You’re pathetic”. An example of the unworthy or dangerous projection of BFF is The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Reciprocity. The expectation of payback is certainly a part of the motivation behind taking care of our friends. The opportunity for dramatic conflict lies in a character’s failure to stand by their friend…“After all I’ve done for you!?”
Examples in Myth and Legend
Hercules and Aeolus in Greek myth. Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and Little John in English folklore.
Examples in History and Current Events
Stanley and Livingston, British explorers in Africa.
Sir Edmund Hilary, the first person to successfully climb Mt. Everest, and Tengsin Norge, his Sherpa guide.
Apollo and Space Shuttle mission crews.
Examples in Media
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Master and Commander – Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
In Casablanca, Rick [Humphrey Bogart] and Captain Renault [Claude Rains]. “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Fried Green Tomatoes
Boy friends/Bromance/Buddy movies
Boston Legal – Shatner and Spader
Star Trek – Mister Spock, Captain Kirk, and Doctor McCoy
A Guy and a Girl
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Will & Grace – TV series
Coming of Age
Stand by Me
Young Indiana Jones – TV series – Young Indy and Remy
The clasped hands, the reaching out to each other.
Key Element – The Shining Moment
Two (or a few more) against the rest. The action is based on mutual trust. Butch and Sundance leaping off the cliff and Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff. In The Power of One, the two friends are fighting the police.
Circle the camera around the two of them to make a visual cocoon as they look out at whatever enchants or endangers them.
The qualities of the BFF relationship are love, loyalty, and camaraderie based on total acceptance. It is non-judgmental about each other’s bad behaviours. It is always supportive. It is long-lasting even when separated by time and place.
The BFF is a comfort and an inspiration. In your stories these friends can offer support and can straighten out your heroine when she is getting off track.
Exercise #1 – Awareness
Who are your favourite examples of BFF in history, myth, or current real life?
Exercise #2 – Writing
Write a version of the scene you have chosen with the characters as strangers. Then write it with the same people as long-time Best Friends Forever.
© 2015 Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan
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