The Significance of Sidekicks

I’ve written about protagonists and villains. Well, now it’s time to give sidekicks the spotlight.

Sidekicks are what drive your main character to do better… or they can be the ones to destroy him/her. It’s all up to you. Some of my characters help Anastasia Knight, but my protagonist’s care for her friends can sometimes obscure her judgement.

But back to the sidekicks. What makes a sidekick so important?

The thing is, your side characters cannot be bland. Otherwise, your story is boring. The protagonist’s life cannot just be at stake. There must be others who depend on him/her. There must be people who have touched your character’s heart and the reader’s. Sidekicks can be the “meat” of the story because they add so many side stories to the main plot. They add character interactions.

However, one question remains: how do sidekicks affect the hero?

I’m going to refer to the cast of The Reformation Trilogy as an apple. Anastasia Knight is the core, and the sidekicks form the rest of the apple. I’ll start from the outside and make my way in:

  • The peel of the apple represents those who indirectly protect the protagonist. In my series, this would be characters such as Belle Averin, Catherine Dubinov, Joseph Shukhov, Andrew Nevsky, and Luis Ivanov. These characters benefit Anastasia but their influence is not significant necessarily. Catherine Dubinov encourages Anastasia but does not come into contact with her constantly. She remains at a particular location throughout the series and is never put into significant, direct danger. These characters serve as a “cushion.”
  • The flesh of the apple represents the majority of the sidekicks. These characters directly influence the protagonist. They are the ones who the protagonist constantly fears are being put in harm’s way. Roxanne Kosma is an example of a flesh sidekick. She is often with Anastasia and is in many perilous situations with her. Anastasia is strongly linked to her in the sense that, if Roxanne was in danger and she was in power to save her, she wouldn’t hesitate to do so. Not saying your protagonist wouldn’t sacrifice herself for the “peel sidekicks,” but these characters are of even greater importance.
  • Then you have the seed characters. Those few who are the dearest to your protagonist. They could be his/her lover or a family member. For Anastasia, those seed characters would be Felix Ivanov and Draco Rubin, both of whom are love interests. The trio is almost inseparable, and Anastasia’s greatest weakness ends up being her friends. These two are closest to Anastasia, and the bond is as tough as steel.
  • Also, you have your stem characters. All this means is that the stem characters are those people whom your protagonist came from. For Anastasia, they’re her parents. For other characters, those stem sidekicks are their roots. Perhaps, it’s a community of people or a neighborhood where they grew up.
  • Lastly, you have the bruises of the apple, which represent the characters that negatively impact the hero\heroine. For Anastasia, one of those sidekicks would be Adam Lukhov, who is also considered a villain. He is that character whom Anastasia deeply cares about but can never help. Adam negatively impacts her, and his friendship only leads to heartbreak.

Hopefully, this will help you understand the importance of side characters. They’re necessary for a good protagonist, plot, and overall story. Each sidekick needs to have a purpose. How do they affect your¬†protagonist? Do you believe sidekicks are important? How is writing about a side character different than writing about your protagonist?

While coming up with sidekicks to assist or destroy your main character, maybe you’ll find something that will aid you on the Quest for Publishment.

P.S. National Writing Month is almost over! Keep writing! You’re almost there.

Until next time,

S.G.B.

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