I couldn’t even say the easy part, even though the timing seemed perfect. We seemed to be having a moment. It might never happen again. Mom, I like boys. I just took another spoonful of ice cream.
Everyone has a certain group of people in their lives that they're relatively close to, who they probably see every day. This group is usually made up of family and friends. If you're writing about a fictional character, chances are he or she will come across these people every now and again throughout the story. How do you fit in these characters? How do the relationships enhance the story?
The family aspect has always been an interesting one when it comes to my book. Jordan has exactly one family member: his mother. He never comes close to mentioning any other family member because they don't exist for him. I wonder if that will be strange for the reader. I just figure at this point in his life any questions he may have had are way in the past and he just doesn't care. Why would he take the time to explain something to the reader if he doesn't care about it?
At the same time, the relationship with his mother is a huge factor in the book. With this story, there are obviously a lot of issues regarding a person's age and maturity, and her character highlights these as well. She was actually a teenager when Jordan was born, so that helps to show this idea of having to grow up too soon. But their relationship is also very dysfunctional. She's basically never around (making Jordan's secret relationship with Tom much easier) and even does a few things that help advance the main plot. So is she a vital character? I'd say so. But there are still some things I struggle with.
I guess, like most things that happen in the last third of the book, it's something I still haven't figured out yet. I know Jordan's mom is flawed, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm just trying to figure out how to make that realistic and yet interesting at the same time. I know I'm going to end the book with their relationship incredibly fractured, possibly beyond repair. I wonder if that's something readers will be ok with. While this plot line will have an ending, it definitely is not wrapped up in a pretty bow. It's messy and open-ended. Things could change in the future or they could stay the same. There's really no way of knowing (unless I write a sequel...).
And then there are friends, of course. Jordan's friends are more part of their own subplot than the main plot. Sometimes I wonder if I need them at all, because I'm afraid their scenes seem forced. At the same time, it would feel strange without them. Doesn't everyone have friends, particularly someone in high school who also claims to be popular? Even if he doesn't like them, they should still exist. I also worry that the end of this particular subplot is too over the top. Jordan has two close friends throughout the book, one of which he becomes even closer to by the end, the other he completely destroys, all while furthering his own agenda. I guess it shows his evil side, which is an important part to his character.
So I guess family and friends are especially important when they're showing different aspects to your main character. How does he act differently when he's with them? How do they move the story forward? As long as they're serving a purpose, then they're important characters.
Do you show family and friends in your stories? Do they help show different sides to the main character?