Sherlock Holmes and his worthy sidekick, Dr. John Watson
Here are the archetypes for Sidekicks:
1. The Cheerleader
This is the character, maybe with humor, but certainly with kindness lifts up the spirits of the lead character and keeps that person focused on the goal of the conquest. It’s wonderful to have someone who gives encouragement when things seem dark, the guy who says, “You can do this. Don’t give up. I believe in you.”
2. The Class Clown
The clown has a way with words or actions that make the other characters laugh. They may seem a little annoying in some cases if they are socially inept or clueless, but that’s a good thing if it draws attention away from some miserable circumstances. Laughter really is good medicine. It’s such a relief to have someone with a sense of humor divert attention from the darkness of a situation.
3. The Muscle
Although the lead character is willing to fight to the death for the sake of the goal, the muscle sidekick, fights to the death for the hero without concern for the goal. They may have knowledge of or contacts in the underworld or superior skills with weapons or magic to protect the protagonist.
4. The Heart
Where cheerleaders uplift the protagonist with optimism, the sidekick with heart encourages the hero to keep going for the sake of the goal. These sidekicks have their eyes set on the endgame and will do what they must to get the lead character to that victory. They would speak encouragement such as, “You can’t give up; our people are counting on you to end the horror they suffer at the hands of the witch.” Or perhaps this character would say, “Get up! Move even if you don’t think you can. You can’t allow the wicked demons to breech the wall into the city.”
5. The Skeptic
Sometimes the protagonist needs a sidekick for a reality check. I’m not talking about the negative nay-sayers. I’m talking about the kind of character who believes in practicality, numbers, real science, and methodical calculations before jumping into the fray. The skeptics can keep the overly bold, emotionally driven protagonist from their wild speculations. They contribute to the quest by keeping the hero or heroine from making mistakes by going off path onto some unproductive tangent.
6. The Fish Out of Water
This sidekick often has a backstory of loneliness, lost or funny who may have a history of time travel, supernatural abilities, or cultural settings which have changed including a reversal of fortune. The fish-out-of-water sidekick can give the protagonist someone to protect while also learning something about themselves. Care must be given not to allow the fish-out-of-water to remain in a victim roll too long. Eventually this sidekick must learn to deal with his new environment. For this very reason, the writer would be taking a huge risk to include this sidekick in a series.
7. The Non-humans
The non-human sidekick can be a friend, counselor, and/or protector of the protagonist. These sidekicks include paranormal beings, space aliens, animals, robots, ghosts, and so on with human-like characteristics. In some cases, only the protagonist can hear or see this sidekick. They may do their own thing, but they will always come to the aid and support of the protagonist. Mr. Big, Tinker Bell, and Chewbacca are examples of this type of sidekick.
Whatever sidekick you choose for your story, you must make certain he or she is a contrasting character to your protagonist, but with similar goals. Remember to give the sidekick his or her own needs, values, and ideas. It’s important to remember to keep the balance between the protagonist and sidekick for the sake of purpose in your story.
Legends of Winatuke trilogy includes the novels, Dark Isle, Lake of Sorrows, and The Light of Valmora.
DARK ISLE, Book 1
The legend begins when love and evil collide.
LAKE OF SORROWS, Book 2
The legend continues with a curse, a quest and undying love.
THE LIGHT OF VALMORA, Book 3
A quest for an enchanted light...a Gypsy’s love...and a warrior’s sacrifice to save Valmora.
THE BOXED SET OF LEGENDS OF WINATUKE BOOKS FOR ONLY 99 CENTS!
My favorite sidekick is the Gypsy, Pennytook, whom I included in every book of the Legends of Winatuke trilogy. He befriends the Nimway of Valmora and the humans from another dimension. Often he is the person who loves to have feasts for the warriors serving them good food, excellent entertainment, and “peculiar tobacco” to lift their spirits. But he is also a person who knows the magic objects and esoteric ways in which to fight against the evil of the Dark Isle and the monsters who obey the wicked queen. Pennytook may seem jolly, but he has a heavy burden of sorrow in his backstory and a perceptive wisdom of others and their secrets. Accustomed to leading his own tribe through the pits and perils of Winatuke, Pennytook has become a fierce warrior and has earned the respect of the other characters in the trilogy.
I wanted to make things right for Pennytook. A steadfast friend and warrior, he deserved his own story, his own happy ending. But like all the other adventures in Winatuke, he will have to overcome great obstacles to get that happy ending.
“Pennytook” is included in the fall anthology, Myths, Legends, and Midnight Kisses.
Myths are supposed to be false…but some are terrifying and true.
Pennytook is a war weary Gypsy who longs for peace from the past and wants something meaningful in his life.
Esmeralda, a Gypsy trick rider, has harbored a deep affection for the chieftain, Pennytook, for many years. But her dark secret will never allow him into her life.
A mythological creature is about to unleash its horror and change the destinies of Esmeralda and Pennytook.
"What are you going to do?" Sabo whispered as he knelt beside Pennytook and placed an arrow in his bow ready to strike.
"I'm going to kill that monster."
The heavy footsteps of the Niamso shook the ground as it made its way toward Pennytook and Sabo. Sabo launched an arrow that found its mark in the creature's arm. The beast roared. Maddened with the pain, the beast picked up its speed as it barreled toward them.
Sabo crossed himself. "God's bones, I hope you have a plan."
With his legs wide to give him leverage and his sword drawn, Pennytook smiled. "Is no need for plan, my friend; we kill the beast, or it kills us. Let me deal with the Niamso. While I distract it, get Esmeralda away from here. Take her to Valmora and find the Healer."
The beast was almost upon them, his red eyes glowing in the darkening twilight.
"It will kill you, Pennytook." Sabo stood, placed his bow over his shoulder and drew his sword.
"Go now, Sabo. Go!"
Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media: