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!

Back to the Basics: Are You Questioning Me?

blog question mark

Questions, questions, questions. We have one too many throughout life. Have you ever sat behind your keyboard staring at your manuscript or essay questioning when to press the key to insert the ‘question mark’? It’s important to know what the squiggly line and the period have to offer you because one simple symbol can mean a whole lot.

Although we did briefly mention this punctuation mark in passing. We’re now going to chat about it in a little more detail. Where does it goes, why does it goes there, and how do you make your text messages sound less like you’re questioning yourself?

  • Direct Questions: Like we talked about before, a direct question uses the question mark. An indirect question may raise wonder, but does not have a question mark to end it.
  • Direct Questions…WITHIN a sentence: Unlike the period, the question mark is not easy to omit. Within a sentence, the direct question uses the question mark. In these cases, the question mark takes place of the comma. This is really helpful to know for writing dialogue in a story.
  • Part of a title of work: Want to get really confused? Try and keep up with this one…

    When a title of work ends with a question mark, the comma comes back into play- especially if mentioned within a sentence. If you’re asking a question about the work, there’s no need for an extra question mark. What if the title appears at the end of a sentence? No need to add that period then.

  • Requests: Just remember, if you want your assistant to do something soon or immediately, don’t end your request with a question mark…DEMAND IT WITH A PERIOD!
  • Expressing uncertainty: In an editorial work, insert a question mark within parentheses and/or brackets to show your uncertainty about the information prior.