When you make friends with someone, at first a lot of the bond goes to the "Me too!" moments. But as the friendship deepens, you get to know their differences. Some are surprising, some are fascinating. Many, you can learn a lot from.
I have such a friendship with fellow authors, Bonnie R. Paulson and Shelley Martin. We are all romance writers, mothers, and wives. But we are of different faiths, listen to different music, and have different interests. Bonnie's passion is dirt biking, Shelley's is Japanimation/ Manga, and mine is heavy metal & horror movies.
We also have different strengths with our writing.
Shelley's is definitely VOICE! One of the most difficult aspects of the craft to master, Shelley lends voice to her characters like a natural.
Bonnie's skill with visceral descriptions and heart-wrenching emotion is just as inspiring as it makes one seethe with envy.
As for me, I *think* my strength lies with creating unique & memorable characters. I don't think I've ever had a "normal" protagonist in my work.
As for weaknesses, I think I'll leave that for our critique sessions, editors, and book reviewers.
Anyway, what inspired this post are two things:
1.) One can learn a lot from the strengths of her friends in real life.
2.) In fiction, the best stories are where the characters learn and grow from each other's unique gifts. Stephen King's IT is a wonderful example. Yeah...like I'm going to miss an opportunity to plug my favorite novel. :)
What about you? What strengths do your friends have? What gifts of yours enhance the lives of others? If you're a writer, how do your characters' differences enhance your story? If you're a reader, what novels have done best with variety in characters?