Lessons for Life, Writing Tools

SuperStar Sidekicks

Everyone needs a supporting friend. Even the greatest heroes have sidekicks that are crucial to their success. Of course, villains have their “evil henchmen” as well. In real life and fiction, we all have support in some form of a friend. Today, I want to celebrate my superstar supporting friend.

Superstar Support

My best friend has completely altered my life. When I first met her, I thought she was an absolute nut job. In contrast, she thought I was a jerk and she pitied me. We met in middle school, so that may explain the first impressions. Despite our not-shining moments, we became friends because of her kindness. I became interested in doing well in school and working hard towards my dreams and goals because of her influence. I always hope that I have helped her in some way comparable to the amount she has helped me. But if nothing else, I’ve been someone to talk to for hours about anything.

People move in and out of our lives in seasons. Sometimes we only need certain friends for a school year in math class. Other times we need a particular person in our lives until we die. My sidekick friend has been one that I haven’t always had close contact with. In fact I think we’ve only been in the same state for two out of the fifteen years of our friendship. But whenever we talk or get together, it’s like we were never apart. She is a friend that I will have for the rest of my life.

Sidekick is not Sidelined

One of my favorite rules of writing is remembering that every character is the hero of their own story. Every supporting character is just as important as the protagonist, we just don’t know about the details. The narrative perspective is the only thing that sets characters apart in their roles of the story. When writing the friend or sidekick, they need as much depth as the main character. A few simple tips in doing that can be found here.

The supporting characters of a story do a lot more than just offer comic relief or add interest. Even the damsel in distress should contribute more to the main character than serving as the motivation. A great example of this is in Star Wars, where the jedi are the heroes. And yet, they aren’t the only ones who solve problems in the stories. My favorite clip in Attack of the Clones, though cheesy, is when Anakin and Padme go to rescue Obi-Wan. They all end up in an execution arena, and Anakin is concerned about Padme, but Obi-Wan points out that she doesn’t need a knight at the moment, jedi or otherwise.

Playing the Role and Earning the Ending

Often, the “sidekick” is actually an essential character that offers support and advice that leads to the success of the hero. In fact, I think many times the supporting characters have to rescue the main character at least once, likely more in a number of ways. Then the main character has the strength and confidence to save the day. But once again, in the end, none of it would mean anything if the friends weren’t there in the victory and celebration.

Without the support of friends, no one has the advice, confidence, admonition, or empowerment to beat the odds. The happily ever after is always earned, even by the side characters. An immense amount of effort and sacrifice is put in to support someone else. In reality, the friends are even more incredible than the hero because not only are they humble, but they recognize the strengths of others. A superstar sidekick is one that empowers someone to become the best they can be.

Let your side characters shine in all of their glory! And remember to express your gratitude to the superstar friends in your life. And strive to be a supporting sidekick to the stories of others.

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