Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shhh. It's Confidential.

A main character's confidant can be a best friend, kindly neighbor, grandparent, or business partner. This character listens to the hero as he ticks off reasons why he has to shoulder the blame and go on alone. The confident can supply information or try (unsuccessfully) to stop the headstrong hero.

A confidant offers advice even when it's not wanted. When the heroine proclaims she could never love that awful hero, the confidant helps the her talk though her feelings. The confidant always helps the heroine achieve her goal.

For a writer, a confidant is an ideal tool. With the interaction between a lead and his or her confidant, active dialogue replaces what otherwise could be long passages of introspection.

Donald Maas says, "The best kind of confidant is a character who is already part of the lead's life and would naturally play [the role of sounding board,] but who has reason to exist in her own right."


  1. I've used friends of the hero and heroine often for just the reason you say. Dialogue instead of internal introspection make the scenes feel more real and participatory.

  2. I agree - the confidante character is such a useful thing. I also like the way the 'best mate' can say things the other characaters would never dream of saying, so helping the h/or/h from making mistakes, or sometimes, taking themselves too seriously!
    Great post, Ana. :)

    Jane x

  3. Good post, Ana. The confidant can also help to show the reader why the hero or heroine is doing what they do (or thinking what they think). It's a great way of explaining things, without boring explanations.

  4. Agree with you, and with all the other comments, that a best friend confidante is useful for a variety of reasons - avoiding introspection, helping heroine to look at things from a different perspective, a shoulder to cry on etc. My heroines tend to have best friends, but I've realised that my heroes don't. Is that because men don't usually talk about their inner feelings like women do?

  5. What about a beta hero? Would he be the kind to talk out his feelings to some degree?

  6. Not sure even about a beta hero, Ana. Maybe they'd be prepared to open up with the heroine, but not to a male 'best friend'. I have mixed feelings about this - definitely food for thought!