You’re My Sidekick

Building your characters is crucial to storytelling. If your character isn’t growing, it’s likely that your plot isn’t thickening in way in needs to either.

One of the most important characters in your story is your protagonist’s sidekick. No matter the genre you are planning to write, a sidekick serves greater importance than people realize. When your main character is missing something, their sidekick could fill in the blank. They can also often add drama to the plot. To make your story even stronger, creating a sidekick with depth can build a bond between the reader and character.

But a sidekick can’t just stand there to fill in extra space on your page. They need to have growth almost as much as your main character. They need the emotional growth, to have their own motivations pertaining to the story- to have a moment to shine.

It’s often a good idea to make these two characters have a conversation to set up their backstory that would otherwise be a word dump elsewhere or an internal monologue that would drive the reader to close your book (and force you to cringe). Your main character shouldn’t be good at everything, therefore their sidekick can fill in what they lack.

Beware of making your sidekick too sidekick-y. Some tropes which can turn a reader off for good, and some traits that are overused are:

  • More trouble than their worth.
  • Too naïve or too worldly.
  • Aren’t their own person (no personal interests, lives outside of the main character’s or the plot sequence, or have no personal reasons for sticking with the main character).
  • The overbearing always-enthusiastic apprentice, or the ward and the cool character who becomes a mentor.
  • They’re mini-me’s of the main character – as if one wasn’t enough.
  • The one who makes no sense in being where they are in the story.
  • Clash heavily with the rest of the work.
  • Get away with things typically others would get punished for.
  • Being involved with subplots that serve the plot no purpose.
  • Those who are exempted from character development (which shouldn’t exist!)

Create a kick-butt sidekick so your main character doesn’t have to run around and wreck havoc alone!

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