I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Importance of Sidekicks


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Lisa JordanLaVerne & Shirley. Lucy & Ethel. Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson. Batman & Robin. Shaggy & Scooby. Spongebob & Patrick. Shrek & Donkey. Frodo & Sam.

Depending on your age, these names may sound familiar, but what do they have in common?

They’re all fictional main characters with their sidekicks.

Just as real people have sidekicks—friendships with others—fictional characters need them too.

Sidekicks act as Voices of Truth/Reason, provide information to the main character or just plain watch the other’s back.

In addition to being a Voice of Truth, a good sidekick can act as comic relief. Nothing like a dose of laughter to lighten the mood. Sidekicks also bring out strong qualities in main characters, even if that main character doesn’t feel so strong at a specific moment. Sidekicks also help the main characters stay grounded…going back to that Voice of Reason role.

In my newest release, Lakeside Family**, Josie’s closest friend is Agnes, a sassy transplanted Texan with a heart the size of Dallas and an attitude that rivals Flo’s minus the “Kiss my grits!” expression.

Agnes uses her wit and wisdom to offer gentle truth to Josie. And being the independent woman she is, Josie doesn’t always like what Agnes has to say, but she trusts her friend and listens.

Having a sidekick means investing in a relationship and building trust so when the sidekick becomes a Voice of Truth, it’s a little easier to hear. 

Think about your characters. Who does your main character pal around with most? What does this sidekick contribute to the relationship? A true sidekick knows her unspoken duties—check to make sure there isn’t any toilet paper stuck to the other person’s shoe…or worse, tell the truth about that new outfit, be honest (in love, of course) about that possible dream guy or even share truth (again in love) about negative choices when hearing it could cause a rift in the relationship.

Sidekick relationships are essential to complement the main character. So when you create character sidekicks, remember the main traits of a sidekick--truth, loyalty and trust. 

Your Turn: If you write fiction, who is your character's sidekick? What qualities does the sidekick bring out in the character?

**Shameless self-promotion--Lakeside Family is now available in stores and through your favorite online retailer!

14 comments:

  1. Lakeside Family came to my Kindle today!!! Can't wait to read it. My hero and his sidekick have been friends since childhood. Their friendship has survived a lot of things, even the hero breaking up with the sidekick's little sister in college.

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  2. Pat, thank you for buying Lakeside Family. I hope you enjoy it! I love your characters' friendship. So that would be a good conflict--what is the one thing that would break them apart?

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  3. Sidekicks are soooo important, especially in women's fiction/romance. Women need friends and our characters do too. I've read novels where the author has failed to develop a friendship for the heroine. It's hard to admire a heroine who hasn't gone the extra mine to be a friend to anyone. A large chunk of her personality was never developed.

    Great post, Lisa. And everyone should buy Lakeside Family. It's a wonderful read!

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  4. Roxanne, I love what you said about it being hard to admire a heroine who hasn't gone the extra mile to be a friend to anyone. Friendships in fiction bring out essential qualities for the reader to see about the characters. Thanks for your sweet words about Lakeside Family.

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  5. Their friendship is tested to the max when the hero breaks his bf's sister's heart again.

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  6. LISA!!!! Thank you! This post just inspired a brainstorm that resolves a small issue in my WIP. It's not really about a sidekick, but I was thinking about a sidekick, and thinking about another book I loved and pondering why I loved it and the two thoughts merged somewhere in the ethos and VOILA! I have my solution.

    And to top that, Lakeside Family IS available. Off to B&N online.

    So glad I stopped by here today.

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  7. Mary, I'm so glad my post inspired a brainstorm for your WIP issue. I'm so glad you stopped by too! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm.

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  8. Yaaaayyyy for your new book! I'm devouring it. :)

    In my novel, From the Ground Up, Miranda's sidekick is her best girlfriend Liv and her manager, Brad. They're a fun group. Liv brings out Miranda's honest side--forcing her to admit the truth. Brad gets her to "woman up" and fight for herself.

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  9. Aside from all those wonderful things you listed off, my sidekick can also WATCH bad things happen without the reader experiencing what the heroine experiences in certain scenes. This comes in handy when you just can't let the reader into the heroine's "real time" situation in Inspiration Romance.

    Had a critiquer tell me one time that she was glad I used my side kick for those scenes as they would have been too much to read inside the heroine's head.

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  10. So many great thoughts here, Lisa. And I'm so glad today is the day! I'll be looking for your book.

    Still figuring out how to use the side kick for my heroine. Kate is Anya's best friend, and voice of truth. I probably need to show them just having fun too. Gotta work that in.

    Thanks for reminding me the value of the side kick. :)

    Congratulations again on the release of your second book!

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  11. Just landed in Atlanta, ate at Chick-filA, and gained LOTS of important thots I needed here. Great idea, a foil for protagonist, like straight man in a comedy team--I will do this. Thanks, Lisa, and many blessings to Pat too starting new good situation.

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  12. I love these thoughts on side kicks. In my newest brainstorm, my side kick was so fun and quirky that she took over my story and became the heroine.

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  13. I would have posted this earlier, but started reading "Lakeside Family" and didn't want to put it down.:)
    Totally agree about sidekicks, Lisa. The unsung heroes of good fiction. A while back, I wrote about dogs and cats as sidekicks. Interaction with an animal can also reveal much about-- and to the protagonist.
    Now, back to Nick and Josie.

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  14. Lisa!

    Thanks for this post. I'm making changes in my wip. I'm adding a cheeky girlfriend as a side-kick and voice of truth character.

    Thanks!

    Alena T.

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