Tuesday, March 31, 2009

YA Spring Break Week: Guest Blogger Shannon Greenland

NEW UPDATE: Sara has yet to claim her prize!! You have until April 30th to do so or another winner will be chosen. Give us a holler at Contests @ knightagency.net (remove the spaces before emailing) by the deadline, and we will pass your info along to Shannon! Thanks!

UPDATE: The winner of this contest is Sara! Thanks to everyone who participated :).

How Great Are Sidekicks?



What’s a Batman without a Robin? Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson? Shrek without the Donkey? Harry Potter without Ron and Hermione?

Sidekicks play a very important role. They are the best companion for the hero and the person the hero talks to the most. Sidekicks can usually do something the lead character cannot, making them an asset to the lead and the story. They make the hero think through things and many times offer wonderful comic relief. They bring something out in the lead character that the reader would not necessarily see if it weren’t for the sidekick’s question, comment, or reaction. They help us like the hero, which is what we’re supposed to do as a reader.

If an author’s not careful, though, sidekicks can easily take over a story! In fact, many subsequent novels are spun off of reader enthusiasm over a supporting character.

I was thinking back to high school the other day and remembered this guy (we’ll call him X), who drove a corvette and was the ooh-la-la of the place. X had a trusty sidekick (we’ll call him Y). Y was everything X was not: shorter, chubbier, smarter. X was everything Y was not: athletic, tall, handsome. My friends used to kid that X was friends with Y only because it made him look good. Truth be told, they had a fantastic relationship. They were everything the other was not. And, in fact, just a few weeks ago I got a Facebook message with a picture of X and Y still together with their wives and children. Too funny!





Switching to me and THE SPECIALISTS. My lead character, GiGi, is the brain of the spy group. But she couldn’t function without her sidekicks, who are everything she is not. There’s Wirenut, the goofy electronics specialist. Beaker, the Goth chemist. Parrot, the shy linguist. Mystic, the touchy-feely clairvoyant. And Bruiser, the spunky martial artist.
I’m giving away one complete, autographed set of this series. Just comment on this blog and I’ll enter you to win. That’s it. Very easy! I’m going to draw a winner on Tuesday, April 7th and announce it here and at my site over at www.shannongreenland.com

Cheers!

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42 Comments:

OpenID selestial-owg said...

I read this thinking about my current project: first in a YA urban fantasy series. After reading, I'm not sure if I HAVE a sidekick. The first book is narrated by character A, her foster sister (B) fits the "everything A isn't", but I fully planned on B narrating the second book. They both have important roles, but the different plots make one character more prominent than the other. So, in that situation, would A & B simply be each other's sidekicks?

Thanks!

Julie (selestialaurora@hotmail.com)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:47:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Natalie Hart said...

Great post. I'm loving this Spring Break YA theme (although my own YAs don't have Spring Break until next week). And I love a novel with a tight-knit group of people who play to each other's strengths -- it's what I want in life, too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Shelle said...

I like that idea of the sidekick being able to do things the hero cannot - it's not as clear in duos like Batman and Robin, where Robin only gets to save the day if Batman is momentarily incapacitated, but with Shrek and the Donkey (and the Dragon!), it's very important - and great for the story.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 9:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Research - Teacher Evaluation said...

I love writing the sidekick! They are the confidant and sounding board for the main character. This is a really great spring break treat! Great work on the part of all the guest bloggers!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lexie said...

Oh sidekicks--I remember thinking it would be so cool to be a sidekick if I could be a sidekick like the Scooby Gang in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I've been reading a lot of fantasy though lately where the sidekick if a talking animal of some sort. I kind of like that :D

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:18:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Great examples. I love fun spy stories with a cool cast of characters.

:)Lindsey S

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger tetewa said...

I enjoy reading about sidekicks in books! The post was fun!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cursing Mama said...

I'm now convinced that I need a real-life sidekick or side-kicks. Maybe they'll help me get going on some stuff I'm pretending doesn't really exist.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cat Schield said...

After reading your post, I think my character needs a sidekick. It should be fun to brainstorm one. My favorite take over the story sidekick is from the movie Sahara. Matthew McConaughy is Dirk Pitt, the ultimate cool guy, but in the movie, he's totally upstaged by Steve Zahn playing his buddy Al Giordino.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Liz S said...

Great post! It got me thinking about the historical fiction novel I'm writing; history disputes whether one of my main characters had a "sidekick," and some biographers think he was added into her story just to function as a sounding board for her radical & revolutionary ideas. Your post made some sense out of that idea - so thank you!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:21:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

Hi Everyone!

I'm so glad you're all enjoying YA Spring Break week! At least we still get to have a little fun, even if we don't get those leisurely breaks like the kiddes. Ah, those were days! Thanks for a great post Shannon :).

Best,

Jia

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:32:00 AM EDT  
OpenID nightdweller20 said...

Yeah, I had to think about my book I got an idea for, it doesn't really have a sidekick lol. Now I should think about adding one in...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger bridget3420 said...

I want in! These books look amazing!

bridget3420(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:47:00 AM EDT  
OpenID deannachase said...

What a great post. I hadn't thought about sidekicks in that way before. Thanks

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger LuAnn said...

They do say "opposites attract." That could definitely explain differences in sidekicks, especially the two boys you refer to from high school.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 12:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Hi Shannon. Great post. Your series sounds good.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 12:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I adore sidekicks, and because I love romance to be at the core of most of what I read and write, I especially love when sidekicks (eventually) become more (when suitable). Ron Stoppable and Kim Possible come to mind. :)

My daughter reads your books, Shannon, but I haven't gotten my hands on them yet. I have to remember to go dig them out of her room, if I'm not lucky enough to win my own copies. :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 12:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marty said...

This made me wonder about the origin of the word "sidekick". So, I looked it up...

The origin of the term comes from pickpocket slang of the late 19th and early 20th century. The "kick" is the front side pocket of a pair of trousers, and was found to be the pocket safest from theft. Thus the "side-kick" became an inseparable companion.

Interesting.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 1:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Erika Lynn said...

i love sidekicks! since I started actually writing reviews of books and not just reading them I find myself saying a lot that I like the sidekick way more than the main character. The last book I read that this was true of was Audrey, Wait. Audrey's bff Victoria is amazing in that book! I have a super awesome best friend and I can't tell which one of us is the sidekick and which is the lead.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LJCohen said...

Interesting. . . I don't think any of my stories have traditional 'sidekicks'. My protagonists do often have secondary protagonist 'foils', someone to keep the main character honest, so maybe that *is* as sidekick of sorts.

Interesting post and your stories look most cool.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:09:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lisa N. said...

This sounds like an interesting series! I like reading about sidekicks and it's nice to know that there are some things the hero can't do alone. I'd love to read these books!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Windsong said...

I've never really thought about sidekicks that much, but you're right. When done well, they round out the story and add a texture the MC couldn't have alone.

Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing. :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ehadams23 said...

Nice post. I will have to check out that series, it looks cool!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 2:51:00 PM EDT  
OpenID elfmama said...

This may not be on topic, but don't ya just love Facebook? Its so wondeful to be able to see how the people from your past doing.

And your books sound wonderful too. Hope I win the drawing- my real name is susan james and you can find me on FB.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 3:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LER said...

In my writing, I often struggle with keeping my sidekick AS a sidekick. Sneaky sidekicks. :) There is clearly something appealing to us as readers and writers about them! Thanks for sharing.
Laura

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 4:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Isabel said...

I'm loving YA Spring Break Week!
Great post, makes me think about my YA WIP's secondary characters. :)

I.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 4:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Meredith said...

I love this series. And that is very true about the role that sidekicks play.

~Meredith

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jessica said...

Great blog! I love YA week!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Iris Black said...

You make an excellent point, Shannon. I just sold my first story- and its focus is the relationship between the main character and her "gang". Each character brings something else to the table- it's what makes them such great friends!

Personally, I find minor characters fascinating- their quirks are always SO unique!

Iris
http://irisblack-author.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 6:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Shannon Greenland said...

Wow, this is awesome! I haven't been online in about 12 hours and lookee here--lots of great feedback on my blog. Thanks, everyone, for participating. I can't wait to draw a winner. Keep commenting. I'm not going to draw until next Tuesday.

Smiles!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 7:17:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the contest, it sounds great!

Thanks!
Sara
(sararulz@msn.com)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Debby said...

What a great post. I enjoyed reading it all. thanks

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger whateverfor said...

Sidekicks are very important! I know they can often be foils or puckish characters, but they certainly help to no only fill out a story, but to give a better understanding of the main character(s) in the story.

I always wanted to be a sidekick.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Brandy W said...

I think the sidekick helps to make the main character. How bad would it be if the main character didn't have great friends beside them?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 10:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lori T said...

I enjoyed reading about your ideas about sidekicks and I agree that they are important to not only the main character but also the story. I do think that if the sidekick is well written then the readers are going to want to learn and hear more about them in upcoming novels.

Your books sound great and I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 1:11:00 AM EDT  
OpenID redqueen1 said...

I love sidekicks! I think they make or break a story.

Love YA Spring Break Week! Keep it up!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 1:35:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Janice said...

My side kicks always start out with a full personlaity, and come to think about it most of my secondary characters do too.

Janice~

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 2:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Llehn said...

Thanks for the post!! I love sidekicks! I think they're underrated!

Lesley
lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 10:13:00 AM EDT  
OpenID Jessica said...

great post! its really good!! i looooooove the specialists!

Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 9:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nora said...

Great post. You're right, side kicks do tend to play an important role, but I have to admit that reading an underdeveloped sidekick is one of my pet peeves. If this is the person a main character chooses to complement themselves, I want to know all about them!

Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 9:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger katie said...

I always love the sidekicks in the stories. Donkey was definitely my favorite character in Shrek. He always added a little humor to the plot. I love this Spring Break theme. It is making me look forward to my own next week!

Great post!

Katie
katieb206@gmail.com

Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 9:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Medens G. said...

So far I've read the first two books in the series and I ABSOLUTELY adore them!

I totally want in on this contest!

Medens G. (medens_g@yahoo.com)

Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 6:46:00 PM EDT  

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