I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Best Friends

Photo by Kara Sherwood of her cats, Midnight Jane and Albus

Names of these duos roll off your tongue in clichés like salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. Popcorn and M&M’s. (Okay, maybe the last one’s just a pair in the Sherwood-Gray home. But you should try it!)
Jonathan and David. Thelma and Louise. Laverne and Shirley. Lucy and Ethel. Harry and Sally. Kirk and Spock. The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. Turner and Hooch. (Come on. Hooch, really? Well, some say dogs are a man’s best friend.)
The list of best friends in movies, books, history, and your life could go on and on. We need people. Even castaway Chuck Nolan needed Wilson.
My first best friends.
I started school in a magical place called Camp Lejeune, N.C. in the late 1960’s. I don’t think our cul-de-sac of eight houses on the Marine Corps Base was special to anyone but my friends and me. In fact, I think our parents hated the neighborhood parking lot far from our individual houses, but it gave us a safe field in the center to play baseball, "Red Rover," "Mother, May I?," and any other game of our imagination. Back then bigger families meant more children were your age in the neighborhood. So, out of those eight houses, four little girls started first grade with me. My first four best friends. After three years, we moved to Florida, where I made a new best friend. As my sister grew older, she became a best friend too.
Even when I married Jack, I still had girl friends in my life, who showed me how to become a better wife, a better mother, who laughed with me or cried with me, whichever I needed at the moment. I've had friends celebrate victories. And I’ve had friends talk me down from the ledge. I’ve had precious friends who’ve prayed for me and with me when I lost my husband and felt so alone. I’ve had writer friends who embraced me and helped keep my dream alive when I couldn’t on my own.
Face it. We all need friends. I am so thankful for mine. (You know who you are!)
Our heroes and heroines need friends too. 
A book without characters just isn’t much of a story. Beyond being a side kick or providing comic relief, secondary characters can play important roles as the voice of truth or the voice of passion. They can be mentors. They can be a sounding board. Their journeys can mirror the hero’s journey in some way. Don’t waste your secondary characters. Make them as rich, as well-developed, as possible.
If you’re a writer, are you making full use of the secondary characters in your story?
If you’re a reader, who's your best friend? How does that person enrich your life? 
Roxanne and Steve Gray

Today, I want to wish a happy anniversary to my best friend and husband, Steve. I love you and appreciate you more than I can say. You still make me laugh every day. You give the best hugs and kisses on the planet. And no matter what jam I’m in, you’ve always got my back. I savor the romantic words you whisper, yet want to give them to my heroes. Thank you for a wonderful year. I’m counting on many, many more to come.


  1. One of my favorite series of all time is Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. One of the reasons I love this series is because Betsy and Tacy are best friends and they were characters based on the lives of the author and her best friend growing up. Maud wrote that people said their names together, Betsy-Tacy, like they were one person. :)

    Thank you for the reminder that I need to amp up the relationship between my main characters and secondary characters in my WIP! And happy anniversary!

  2. Happy Anniversary, Roxanne and Steve!
    And thank you for the reminded that we all need best friends -- both in real life and in fictional life.

  3. Happy anniversary, Roxanne and Steve!!

    I have different circles of friends, and within those circles, I have my besties!! Those are the ones who laugh and cry with me.

    Because of my close friends, I've always wanted to include strong secondary characters in my novels. They can be solid voices of truth for the main character and add another element of fun to the book.

    Thanks for a great post, Roxanne!!

  4. Awww, happy anniversary, Roxanne and Steve!!

    I love giving my characters great friends. A) It's an easy opp to add fun and humor into the story. B) Like Lisa said, good friends make for great "Voices of Truth" for the POVs.

    I've been blessed with truly wonderful friends--from my siblings, who I would honestly call best friends, to childhood friends I grew up with, to new friends along the way. I'm thankful!

  5. Gabrielle,
    I missed reading the Betsy-Tracy series, but I love how their first names were said together as one.

    Beth and Lisa,
    Both of you have given me such tremendous support and encouragement.
    Your friendship blesses me.

    Thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  6. Thanks, Melissa!

    When you talk about your family, the closeness and warmth radiates through your words. I'm glad to count you as a friend too!

  7. Happy anniversary, Roxanne and Steve! Hope it's a beautiful day for you!

    My heroine's best friend is a secondary character and a voice of truth.I have part of her story in my head, but it hasn't all come out on paper yet. Hopefully I can develop her a little more in the re-writes. :)

    In real life I have wonderful friends--writing friends and non-writing. Each deepen my life and add such joy to it!

  8. Hi, Jeanne!

    If you spend some time with your secondary character and really get to know her, her voice will come out in the scenes, sometimes even saying things you didn't expect. She'll become a real character. Good luck on those re-writes!

    Thanks for your best wishes!

  9. Popcorn and M&MS - wonderful memories! I miss those great times we had - sleep deprivation, stomach viruses,
    Jeffrey getting his head stuck in the spiral staircase, hearts, spades, and, of course, popcorn and M&Ms. Can't believe it's been a whole year. Happy Anniversary!

  10. It's hard to believe our friendship spans decades. I'm thankful for you! I hope you get to know Steve. He plays spades and eats popcorn and M&M's too! :-)

  11. Happy Anniversary! I'm so thankful that we Ponderers have been able to walk with you in some of your paths and lift you and your family up in our prayers.

    I have a best friend who was close to me when I was a little girl and now lives just a few blocks away. We often take walks together in the evening. Neither of us had a sister, so we've just claimed each other as the sister we've never had.

  12. Teri, I love that you've got a sister, though not by blood. Thanks for holding my hand during this journey!

  13. Happy Anniversary, Steve and Roxanne!! It's hard to believe it's already been a year.

    Like Lisa, I have circles of friends and best friends within those circles. And sometimes they inter loop. (Tried to write that as one word) Thanks for reminding me to stop and pray for my best friends!

  14. Pat, Isn't it amazing how fast a year passes by? Blink, and another year's gone. I'm thankful to be one of those friends you pray for!

  15. Can't believe I didn't catch this this morning, glad I didn'rt miss entirely. I think your romance is still my favorite story. Best hugs, makes you laugh daily, and whispers love notes? Yes, put him in a book to educate the masses.
    Congratulations and love to you both.

  16. Thanks, Dee! I'm "pondering" how to best share our story. :-)

  17. Happy Anniversary and many happy returns of the day. I remember when!!!