My current WIP (work in progress – I’m learning the lingo!) has a strong buddy element to it. The story starts off with a loner, separated from his family by global nuclear holocaust-type stuff. He has been alone so long he is kind of used to his own company.
The second character appears by surprise and latches on to the loner, refusing to leave, claiming there to be a strong relationship between the two of them. Loner disagrees, but is unable (for reasons I can’t go into without #spoilers) to divest himself of said ‘buddy’.
The ‘unintentional buddy’ concept has been around since the dawn of time (Dreamworks’ ‘Ice Age’ anyone? OK, poor joke!), think ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘The Road’, ‘Midnight Run’, ‘Lethal Weapon’…hmmm…this is a blog about writing, not movies – OK, how about John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ for a more literary reference then? Ignore the Malkovich movie by the same name!
The buddy concept allows for easy exposition; “What’s that over there, buddy #1?”, “Why do you think that, buddy #2?”, and allows for oodles of dialogue, be it dramatic (‘Midnight Cowboy’) or rib-tickling (’48hrs’). I’m pushing my own boundaries with my buddy dialogue, and am finding it a challenge, but a fun one. My buddies are opposites in so many ways – like all the best buddy movies (‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, ‘White Men Can’t Jump’), and I am revelling in poking them both; antagonising, teasing and playing with their differences. I have just reached a point where buddy #1 realises that buddy #2 had significant involvement in his separation from his family, and he is now trying to deal with this enormous revelation, while still stuck with buddy #2 (for reasons you will need to read about when it’s finished…patience!)
Dialogue writing is a skill I am picking up; keeping it on point without making it contrived is a neat balancing act that I am working hard to master.
Dialogue in my first book, “The Jracon’s Burden” (another shameless plug!), was more of a “needs must” scenario; it got the job done, got the point across, without slowing the story pace down too much (I hope!). My new novel, as I mentioned in earlier blatherings, I mean blogs, is a more thoughtful write, and so I am trying to savour the moment a little more, chewing on the words to get all the flavour out. I’m thoroughly enjoying both styles of writing, so:
Vive la difference!