Hope you’re back in your comfy chair and ready for another episode of Masterplots Theater! Perhaps you’ve been contemplating a story idea that has two compelling lead characters and can’t decide which is the true hero. Well, I have good news for you — maybe you don’t have to choose! Today we study a masterplot that has two heroes: Buddy Love.
“What “Buddy Love” movies are really all about: My life changed for having met another.” — Blake Snyder, Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies, pg 134.
58 thoughts on “Masterplots Theater: B is for Buddy Love”
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
Ah-ha! I’ve been looking for what this plot was called for a long time! This is exactly the story I’m writing now and its been so hard finding the right plot advice for it because I didn’t know what it was called…so glad I stopped by your blog today! And thanks for your unintentional help 🙂
Yay for serendipitous advice! 🙂
Fabulous post. Love exploring heroes and anti-heroes but never gave much thought to co-heroes. Of course, they’re everywhere know that I think about it. (Interesting book, too…)
Yes, co-heroes are everywhere, especially movies. So I guess I’m not the only one who loves a good Buddy story. Thanks for the comment, Sarah!
The masterplot series is a great concept.
Love your site too!
Writer In Transit
Thanks, Michelle! I love the title of you blog. Perhaps because I’m tired of the old trope “writer’s journey.” Gah! I’m just going to tell everyone I’m “in transit” now. 😉
Lots of information here – will have to come back again 🙂
Thanks, Dahlia! And I’m enjoying your posts too – so many interesting customs surrounding Indian weddings!
I loved Save the Cat and Code Name Verity. 🙂
Thanks, Yvonne! It’s kind of fun to figure out where one’s favourite books fit with various masterplots.
Thanks for the lesson. I’m currently working on a story where I have 2 characters who are attracted, but the way I wrote it isn’t quite buddy love and I’m trying to figure out how I should approach it. Another blog post I read today had me questioning if I had to follow the rules or if I should break them and let the story be a little different.
I wouldn’t consider story structure and masterplots “rules”; they’re more a study of storytelling. I like to spot the patterns and explore why certain stories resonate with people, and seeing those similarities helps me figure that out and often leads to me coming up with a way to strengthen my own story. So masterplots are less of a blueprint and more of a guideline. The important thing is to understand WHY the masterplot appeals to people, and when you make your story a little different, make sure it hasn’t lost that appeal. For example, CODE NAME VERITY doesn’t follow the typical structure of going back and forth between the co-heroes; instead it tells one character’s story for the first half, and the other character’s story for the second half. This was a the author’s choice and done for a very specific reason that doesn’t detract from the story or co-heroes’ relationship. To sum things up, you can totally go off-guideline as long as it makes sense.
Finally, not every relationship story has to be Buddy Love. Lots are told from just one protagonist’s POV.
With that, I’m off to get more caffeine. 😉 Thanks for the early morning brain think! Your comments are always awesome and appreciated, Patricia!
I’m stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge. Love the theme of your challenge and love this post!
I have two blogs in this challenge…my author blog at THE STORY CATCHER (www.donnalmartin.com) and my KICKS Kids Club blog (www.kickskidsclub.blogspot.com) . If you get a chance, check them out and good luck with the challenge!
Donna L Martin
Wow, two blogs in the challenge? I can barely keep up with half of one! But now I know Bat Rays have a six foot wing span. My goodness, life under the sea is wild. Thanks for the comment, Donna!
A very timely blog for me, thank you! Enjoy the challenge.
Thanks, Scarlett! And I enjoyed meeting your character Cole on your blog today. 🙂
I love Elizabeth Wein and I thought that Code Name Verity was a truly masterful novel. Thank you for featuring it!
It’s one of my favourite books ever! 🙂
Double thumbs up! Forty Rules of Love, Elif Shafak – would that qualify as Buddy Love? Story about Rumi and Shams Tabrizi, influenced profoundly by one another. Particularly liked the comment above too about characters ‘floating in literary vacuums.’ Excellent theme and posts, as well as the comments. Much to take away from all. Thanks.
Perhaps! I just looked up the book and started reading the first few pages, but I can’t tell yet. But if two lead characters are influenced profoundly by each other, then it’s probably Buddy Love! Thanks for the recommendation!
What an excellent and helpful theme you have chosen for the Challenge. I recently read a very pacy, short book Cloaked in Secrecy by T.F.Walsh where her two Buddy Love characters told their side of the story taking each chapter in turn which worked really well and showed their equal importance in the story and its conclusion.
A Stormy’s Sidekick
Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace
Yes, usually a Buddy Love book will alternate between the co-heroes’ POVs on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Thanks for the recommendation!
Love the idea of buddy love and how it works. They are separate but tandem, with different internal conflicts but working together on an external one, equally weighted. Given me lots to think about. I think I started heading in this direction, blending in a hero from another story since I left his story unfinished. Hmm. Maybe I am the right track.
I read Code Verity a while ago. I need to go back and reread with this in mind. Thank you!
Maybe you are! Good luck with your story. And CODE NAME VERITY is always worth a re-read. I’ve read it twice, something I rarely ever do with books, no matter how much I love them.
Love “Save the Cat.” It’s a go to for me.
Me too! Such a fantastic resource for writers.
As I was reading your post, Lethal Weapon and Thelma and Louise immediately jumped into my mind and then wham bam, you named them. I’m going to love visitng your blog daily. The book you mentioned Code Name Verity, I have it on my TBR list. I couldn’t remember why, but now I think I do. Are these two narrators from the “Buddy Love Plot,” are they possibly unreliable narrators?
What’s in store for letter C?
CODE NAME VERITY is one of my favourite books ever! And to answer your question… a little bit of both. Thanks so much for reading. And for Letter C, Robin is doing “The Chosen One”
Really like this post, because I really like this masterplot. The most intersting part of a story, for me, is always the character’s journey, especially when it brings to discovry one’s true self.
I believe my trilogy falls into this masterplot. My shorter story? Uhm… not sure.
What else do you offer? 🙂
The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz
Well, coming up this month we have The Chosen One, Dystopia, The Fool Triumphant, Institutionalized, Love Story, Monster In The House… a whole bunch of masterplots! Hopefully we’ll figure out what your shorter story is. 🙂
You opened my eyes with this post! Gives me food for thought!
Oh good! Writing tips is what we do most here at WriteOnSisters, and we’re always happy to hear we’ve made readers think. Thanks for the comment!
Loved learning new info. Thank you so much for this post. Wishing you a great journey on the A to Z Challenge!
Thanks, Donna! Wishing you well with A to Z too!
I’ve never heard that term before but I like it. Thanks for the explanation–good topic!
Blogging the #AtoZchallenge: http://www.kathleenvalentineblog.com/
Thanks, Kathleen. I can’t take credit for the term, but it does describe a lot of my favourite stories.
I love writing co-heroes. They save the day or at least a good part of it when the hero cannot. Lots of opportunity for character arc with these .
I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings during the #AtoZChallenge at Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs
Yep, it’s always great to have a buddy that has your back. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
As my writing has grown, so has my appreciation for characters who exist within relationships vs. floating in their own literary vacuum where their lives would be the same regardless of how other people interact with them. This seems the micro version of this concept. Great topic!
Thanks, Colleen! Such an interesting observation: “floating in a literary vacuum…” When this happens in books, I always stop reading. I began my career in television, where ALL stories are about relationships between characters, so perhaps that’s why I have a low tolerance for protagonists who aren’t changed by those around them.
I hadn’t really thought about the buddy love plot. I don’t think that I’ve read too many books with two heroes in it. Seems to be something I see more in movies.
Cheers – Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/2016/04/b-is-for-boatyard-nancy-drew.html
It’s definitely a plot that’s used more in movies! Thanks for the comment, Ellen!
I really like how you broke this down. Thanks for a great post. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles
Thanks, Sheila! Buddy Love is one of my favourite masterplots, so it was fun to start with this one. Some of the other letters in the challenge, though, are feeling like a bit of a stretch. Guess we’ll see how “H” and “X” go. ;-/
I feel your pain! But so far, your posts are wonderful!.
I must admit I cannot think of a “buddy love” novel that I have read recently. Your post does lead me to think about stories where two characters come together in other ways, however. I suppose there is an element of buddy love in many stories, but it is told in different forms. Thanks for sharing 🙂 http://spookymrsgreen.com/2016/04/02/atozchallenge-b-is-for-booklover/
True. I think the Buddy Love plot is seen more often in movies. I’m writing a story with two POV characters, but it’s not Buddy Love because they’re already friends. But maybe my next story… 🙂
Lots of useful information here. Thanks for the distinction about different forms of buddy love stories.
Thanks, Sharon! Good thing I clarified the different buddy love stories; that was a last minute addition to the post. 😉
Thanks for this wonderful post. I am in the middle of writing a book which could do with more slanting this way, to show that they are better together. He is a medieval prince and she is a modern-day girl. He comes forward in time to find her; she throws him back in time in dislike; then she is filled with remorse and searches for him in genealogical records – then goes back in time to find him…ends with a Happy Ever After.
Giving both love interests equal weight in a story is always interesting, I believe. Good luck with your story! And funnily enough, Happily-Ever-After is the masterplot we’re doing for the Letter H. Stay tuned! 🙂
I like that they’re called co-heroes and not sidekicks. In general, I’m less enthusiastic about pairings where it seems that one character is there mainly to serve and assist the other. So I like your point about how co-heroes should have inner conflicts separate from the other person.
I agree co-heroes are so much more interesting than a one-sided story. Thanks for dropping by!
I had never given much thought to the concept of Buddy Love before. After reading this, I can see the validity of it. Excellent topic for the challenge.
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Thanks, Mary! Buddy Love is one of my favourite genres, because I love best friend stories so much.