What I like – The witty (or slutty) best friend

Secondary characters are a gamble. Some are inspired, some are terrible, and some are only good in theory. One of my favorites though is a well crafted best friend. Now there are too many examples to count of great best friends in current literature. Fictional BFFs are pretty much standard in most romances so let me whittle this down a bit.

The best friend theme I love the absolute most is the witty and usually slutty humorous best friend. If he or she is a boozy, pill popping absolute mess for comic relief, all the better. I especially love when the bf is not a know-it-all but instead flawed and confused. I love it when the best friends don’t always the answer. This of course makes the moments when they do offer some rare insight, all the more meaningful and genius-like.

I like my essential secondary characters to be flawed, just as much as the main characters if not more so. In fact there is more room to play with a best friend, make them more extreme since they’re not the ones you have to sell to the reader. I like when they don’t preach and try to “steer” the characters in the right direction. I don’t see why we can’t have a bf just as equally clueless in romance and suggest the worst possible advice.

A nice responsible voice of reason is a good plot device and usually a necessity. I do get that, but I can’t help loving the absolute train wrecks all the more. I find them far more entertaining then smarter, more insightful best friend that offers that sage advice about following his heart.

Some examples of truly entertaining (and likely insane) best friends that come to mind are Rob Rosen’s Hot Lava.

What about you? Do you like or hate the best friend theme and which type gets you going?

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “What I like – The witty (or slutty) best friend

  1. I hate hate hate the female (usually) best friend who acts more like a parent, scaring off the love interest, treating the hero like she knows better than he does what kind of guy he should be with, being rude and doing it “because I love you”. No, controlling someone to do what YOU think is best is not love, that’s some kind of freaky control fetish. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. Did I mention that I hate it? Even worse, when the guy gives in to said pushy chick and lets her make his choices for him. Arrrgghh. I may hate it, not sure I mentioned that.

    The crazy best friend is lots of fun or the one who is just “normal”. Who is there to listen, might give advice if you ask but they don’t call up the potential boyfriend to warn him off, they let you figure it out and if it crashes and burns they show up with vodka and Ben & Jerry’s and tell you what an ass the guy was. 🙂

    I also like my heros to have a mind of their own. The friend might offer advice but they don’t feel compelled to take it or to do something they don’t want to because “they’ve been my best friend forever when no one else loved me”. That’s called manipulation best friend, not nice. So I like when the hero can go, thanks, but no thanks, I’m going home with this vampire tonight I don’t care if you think it’s a bad idea. Even if it really is. 🙂

    • Well considering I just mentioned this on twitter can I say I agree with you? Ugh. I hate the dominating woman bff that takes over and insists on doing things her way. Why do so many men allow this in books? Why is it always the female best friend? I want to stab books with female secondary characters lately because they tend to be horrible rather than entertaining.

      What I love is the funny best friend. I really liked the female friend in Cooper Davis’ latest (name escapes me) but she seemed a supportive, pro-gay friend without being overwhelming or pathetic. A little wimpy but better than being domineering.

      The crazy best friend is lots of fun or the one who is just “normal”. Who is there to listen, might give advice if you ask but they don’t call up the potential boyfriend to warn him off, they let you figure it out and if it crashes and burns they show up with vodka and Ben & Jerry’s and tell you what an ass the guy was.

      Well said! I love those secondary characters the most. They say “you’re probably making a mistake but its your life and I’ll pick up the pieces.”

      Best friends can make a book even better, if done right.

  2. Ooooh, great post! I’m with Tam on finding that motherly type of best friend to be totally irritating. And I can see why the messed-up best friend is a much better choice in the story.

    If he or she is too wise and insightful, it gets a little boring and can sound like the author preaching to the readers at worse.

    Now, the messed-up best friend on the other hand can give bad advice and complicate the plot in a good way or cause so much inadvertent trouble that he can bring on some character growth for the hero. At very least, he’s someone for the main character to talk to so the author can get across thoughts in dialog or create conflict in the friends’ interaction and not just have everything happen in the main character’s head as he’s angsting about, “Does he love me, does he not?”

    Like you point out, the best friend can be totally slutty or a complete lunatic or whatever and it’s not going to alienate the reader because we still have the main character to relate to. And it can be very comical. The only risk the author runs is the best friend might end up stealing every scene!

    • Great insight Val and all very true! I think crazy best friends can be much more exaggerated and take more chances. You’re not trying to sell them as realistic, wonderful, loving people. They’re the ones you can play off of and get arrested for streaking naked on st. patrick’s day with a green painted dick. I mean that could be perfect if one of the heroes is a cop!

      I also don’t mind a scene stealing best friend. I’ve read a couple books like that and still enjoy it even if I like the supporting characters more. I’d rather a scene stealing best friend than an annoying one that turns me off any scenes they’re in. :s

      • Tam says:

        I wonder if it’s kind of to have a moment of “I told you so” when there is a lovely HEA with 2.5 kids and a picket fence at the end. “See bitch? You didn’t know shit.” I love Ally Blue’s stuff, but man she can write a bitchy over-protective female friend. It’s like they are jealous that their gay might get a life that doesn’t include them.

        What’s rather sad is when it DOESN’T show up I feel compelled to note it in the review. It’s so unusual that it’s like “Wow, guess what, nice female friend.” That’s rather disheartening.

        • Val has done an exceptional job of reminding reviewers not to “damn by faint praise.” I always remember her when I want to say “this was surprisingly good!” Which of course speaks of low expectations and why are you picking up a book with low expectations?

          I do think it’s sad we note a good thing (such as a great female) only in relation to something we hate. I do it all the time and it is sad.

  3. I have to agree with the others. XD

    While I’ve written the overbearing female best friend, I tried to give her a bit of depth. When the main character she wants to protect has been physically abused in the past, she does have reason to worry. On the flip-side, though, we had the main character make up his own mind on the matter. ^^

    I like the best friend characters that are comical. It’s nice to have a bit of comic relief to take a break from the main character’s relationship angst. I like it when they’re a bit all over the place and try to distract the main character in any number of silly ways. (On the other hand, I hate it when the best friend character ends up doing the whole “Oh yeah? Well let me tell you how shitty things are for me right now!”)

    I love it when the best friend appears to be kind of shallow in that fun-loving, perhaps slutty, way, and then is able to turn it around and have that moment of brilliance where they say just the right thing at the right time to make the difference for the main character in some way.

    • I think women have a role in books, especially gay fiction/romance. I don’t want them to go away. Instead I just want more diversity. I could appreciate the nuanced dominating female more if wasn’t so common and overused. Not to say your character is bad at all but the over saturation of such characters works against books too. Readers become inundated with tropes that set up preconceived notions. Such as any female is a bitch and unwelcome in fiction.

      I love it when the best friend appears to be kind of shallow in that fun-loving, perhaps slutty, way, and then is able to turn it around and have that moment of brilliance where they say just the right thing at the right time to make the difference for the main character in some way.

      YES! YES! YES! Like when the drunk friend is lying on the floor after partying and looks up, slurring, offering the best advice anyone could ever get. So incongruous, yet perfect. I love that.

  4. I love it when the best friend appears to be kind of shallow in that fun-loving, perhaps slutty, way, and then is able to turn it around and have that moment of brilliance where they say just the right thing at the right time to make the difference for the main character in some way.

    “YES! YES! YES! Like when the drunk friend is lying on the floor after partying and looks up, slurring, offering the best advice anyone could ever get. So incongruous, yet perfect. I love that.”

    Me too. I also love the response you get from the main character when this happens. It’s awesome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s