WFMAD Day 18 – Getting By With a Little Help

In my humble opinion, Joe Cocker’s version of this song is way better than the Beatles.

What does Joe Cocker have to do with your writing?

Your character needs some friends. We are often so focused on developing our main character and The Forces Of Evil Who Rally Against Her, that we neglect to use the vast potential that a friend can bring to our story. You can tell a lot about a person by the friends they keep, can’t you?’

Ready… Your character is not the only person who needs friends. If you don’t have someone you can trust (and to whom you are NOT related by blood or marriage) enough to share your writing with, now is the time to figure out how you are going to find that person. (If you are writing for children or teens, your best bet is to join SCBWI. If you’re writing for adults, I don’t have a clue. Sorry.) Once you figure out who that person is, schedule some meetings over coffee, or Skype, or on the phone so the two of you can commiserate and cheer each other on as you push forward on the writing path.

Set… “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Ernest Hemingway

Today’s prompt: Develop a friend for your main character. Make sure that she’s not a cliche; no “trusty side-kicks” please. How are they different? What irritates them about each other? Why are they loyal to each other? What secret do they know? How did they meet? Don’t worry about how this friend is going to fit into your plot. The answer to that problem will come to you as soon as you’ve developed the character well enough.


Write about the person who was your closest friend in elementary school. Open up the floodgates and let the memories flow.

Scribble…. Scribble… Scribble…

5 Replies to “WFMAD Day 18 – Getting By With a Little Help”

  1. I’ve been blest with finding writing buddies in our local Writers Guild.

    Oh, and I read “The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher” tonight to my kids and they were all over me to hear it and see the pictures. (Is the last page illustration honoring Anne of Green Gables?)

  2. Agreed. There is no better version of this song than Joe Cocker’s. He made it holy as far as I’m concerned.

  3. This is just what I was thinking about; friendship and my stories. It’s going to take a special person or group to handle the way I need to think stories out loud, hear them evolve. Not easy to find as a writer/artist. And I’m not sure how to ask either. Just keep swimming, right? And have a boat load of hope. I’m glad to have you to read. It’s most marvelous and what I needed just at the right time.

    My character doesn’t want to be alone, either. Who does to any extreme? She’s going to need a friend and to be a friend to get through her path. 🙂


  4. I know this isn’t the point of this post, but I also wanted to point out that Joe Cocker’s “Bye Bye Blackbird” is the definitive version of that song too… I think he was put on this earth to reinvent songs and make them heart-wrenching and more amazing.

    Good post though, and something I’ve been thinking about a lot in terms of honoring my characters and making sure that everyone in a group of friends that I’m writing is equally developed.

    And I am fortunate to have my “family” be a ragtag group of artists, writers, musicians and all around freaks. Great for helping me along!

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