Hi, kids! Our writer friend from across the pond, UK-based Stevie Carroll, is here with part 2 to her previous post, “Female Friendships in Fiction” (you can find part 1 HERE).
So have a read, and chime in with your thoughts on this topic and suggestions about fiction that includes female friendships.
Female Friendships in Fiction (Part One)
By Stevie Carroll
In my previous post on this topic, I asked where I could find the female friendships in fiction, especially in text-based media. Since then I’ve been given a few recommendations, which have joined my To Read pile or my WishList. This time, though, I want to talk more about the friendships I’ve written about as well as coming up with some more observations about different ways I see friendships working in and around my own little sphere.
One story in my upcoming collection, “A Series of Ordinary Adventures”, is all about friendship. In ‘Hawks and Dragon’, Annie, a Glaswegian of Korean descent makes friends with Rose, a Hong Kong ex-pat, when the pair of them are working on the same business park in London.
Annie, a city girl through and through, is initially nervous about the Harris hawk that Rose brings with her to scare off the wild birds that are plaguing the office buildings, but the women still strike up a conversation and arrange to go out on the town together at the end of their working week. I decided to write about Harris hawks rather than any of the native British falconry birds, because they hunt in groups or unmated pairs, which fits well with Annie and Rose working together later in the story. I also wrote a couple of scenes in which Annie goes investigating on her own, and thinks excitedly about how she’d going to describe her experiences to Rose: something I see happening in romance as a sign that two characters are meant to be together, but not so much in adult fiction with regard to friends, even though there are some experiences I’d personally rather gossip about with a friend than with a partner.
The entirety of ‘Hawks and Dragon’ is also available via BookBuzzr as a free sample story here.
Other stories in my collection involve friendship between women as an important subplot. In ‘The Woman Who Hatched a Fairy’s Egg’, Cynthia is starting over in a new town after the death of her partner. She’s setting up in business as an artisan weaver, and hopes to convert the rambling old house she inherited into a B&B for other artistic types. So her friendships with the owners of one of the local craft shops, and with the members of a local women’s building collective, are very important to her in terms of both practical and psychological support.
Meanwhile, there’s a less supportive type of friendship in ‘Mr Singh Confronts the Minotaur’, when two widows are thrown together by the marriage of their children. Angela Braithwaite thinks herself to be much more sophisticated than Doreen Ball, but still insists that they holiday together. They rub along together uneasily, but I hope by the end of the story it’s clear that they do like each other more than either will admit, while still planning to go their separate ways for the time being.
But I was going to talk about friendships away from the printed page, too. I have a diverse bunch of female friends who will phone or email me whenever one of them is planning an adventure they think that I might enjoy, and I do the same for them. Two other local authors and I meet up every other month or so to eat lunch and talk about writing; one of them also roped in her daughter to go shopping with me when I needed a new suit and knew I’d never be able to decide on one by myself. Two nights ago, a colleague and I went to a charity designer and vintage clothing sale and spent a couple of hours trying on far more than we were ever likely to buy. All of these fairly mundane activities could be a great start to a story, because there’s plenty of scope for one of the friends to notice something out of the ordinary, and then for the pair or three of them to investigate together.
On a more exciting note, I’ve been invited to a charity women’s driving day in aid of a firefighters’ charity by yet another pair of friends. We’re planning to spend the day playing with trucks, diggers, agricultural vehicles and emergency services transport. The link is here and if it works out I’ll have lots of stories to tell you about it at a later date (not to mention all the novel research I can notch up). But wouldn’t any one of those vehicles make a great basis for a female friendship story? Two women driving big powerful vehicles, and saving the innocent, or making sure the mail gets through no matter what. I would want to read that, anyway.
As I said before, it seems that female buddy-cop (or buddy-firefighter) stories seem all too rare in text-based media, even though they’ve always been there on the small screen (not quite so much in films) and there’s quite a crop of them out there right now (on British TV anyway). So I’m still after recs. Tell me what other female friendships I could be investigating in print. Are there any non-UK shows that I might not have seen yet, and which I need to track down on DVD? How about films? Are any coming out that I absolutely have to see?
My short story collection comes out very soon. You can support its release by pre-ordering via Kickstarter here and next time I may waffle more about my adventures in publishing. Or about big trucks. Or maybe about my new little equine friend.
So stay tuned, readers!
And you can find Stevie at her LiveJournal HERE, if you’d like more info about her and her work.
Thanks, Stevie. Much appreciated!
Happy reading, all, and happy writing.