Heavenly Gifts Archives | Sheryl Steines

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The Sidekick

Superman, Arrow, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, literary heroes with something in common, yeah they all fight evil, stand up for the common man, they act on the belief that justice will be served.  

With all that said, I’m really thinking of the sidekick. You know, that person who hangs around the hero, the character you can far more easily relate to because they’re more like us, the one’s we think we can be like. They hold many roles, these sidekicks do. Oftentimes they act as the comic relief, or the straight man all with the purpose to better the hero, make them more likeable. The character of the sidekick gives the hero a friend, someone to talk to, and someone to assist them in bringing about justice for the victim. They are the confidante, understand and know the character better than he knows himself and offer the hero a mirror which reveals their true selves.  

I know of Batman and Robin, Of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Superman and Jimmy Olsen. But I really know of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak, at least through the eyes of Arrow the television show that I discovered in the middle of last season. As much as I love Urban Fantasy, I’ve never been much of a fan of the comic book. I find them confusing in that the story is mostly told through the drawings. I far more prefer prose, and all that words bring to the story, but now I digress. What I really think about is the role of those sidekicks and what they offer to the hero, to the story.

Oliver Queen the billionaire playboy. Portrayed as the most unlikable character that cheated on his girlfriend with her sister, before getting shipwrecked on a deserted island where he survived for five years. Flashbacks, reveal a glimpse of the irresponsible, selfish man he once was. We compare his past to the man he’s become and the mission that his father left for him before he died in the boat disaster. He becomes the Hood in order to save his beloved city and take it back from those who wish to harm it. While in the process of protecting his secret, he chooses to let those who once knew him believe that he was still that man.

But through Felicity Smoak, the computer genius sidekick, we catch a glimpse of his other self, for she defends him and the choices he makes. She spends her time assisting him catch the villains with her computer as well as coming up with quick snippets of wit, in the middle of an intense storyline, offering that touch of comic relief.

I often wonder who in The Day of First Sun, is Annie’s sidekick. It occurs to me that maybe the role belongs to Sturtagaard the vampire who offers comic relief or the character to play off us. But that’s not really it. Maybe it’s Cham, her best friend who takes a back seat to Annie. But he’s not the sidekick either. It’s not until I started writing Heavenly Gifts where I really think Annie has found her sidekick. A young Wizard Guard named Emerson, the one who worships the more experienced Guard, the one who’s not quite a full-fledged Wizard Guard, who needs just a little help, who might be able to humanize Annie. It’s something I hadn’t really thought about until just recently. Who will be Annie’s comic relief, who will offer her assistance and who will defend her above all others?

We all need our champions.

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Third to First

I’ve written all my books in the third person, with complete control of the story as the narrator. It’s hard because I really want to share what’s going on in the characters head, but that’s not necessarily the job of a narrator. Besides, what I really want to do is drag you inside my head and show you the story. It's the difference between me telling you what is happening and me letting you the reader experience the story as it happens.

First person allows the reader to know the main character and interpret events and actions similarly to that characters. You will either learn to love them or despise them depending on what actions they take in the framework of the story. Annie’s been living in my head for almost four years, and I desperately want people to love her as much as I do. Some have, others want more and still others just don’t care. That inspires me as a writer to find a new way to get inside the character's head so that you can, if anything, like them. So as I re-write the books, I’ve made one major change. Annie’s going first person. I haven’t made the adjustment to The Day of First Sun or She Wulf yet, because the work involved is a little scary. There's is so much that would need to come out and then re-written back in because it's important to the story. I'm still not sure I'm ready to tackle that project they. But in Heavenly Gifts, I’ve already started, and yes it’s a re-write with twenty-five chapters finished.

The surprising thing for me is how effortless it is to tell the story from Annie’s perspective. It’s almost as if I’m possessed by her as she speaks. And I can let you know from the start how she’s feeling and what’s going on in the chaotic, warm, daring brain of hers. So when it's finally finished, I hope you like her and I hope you like the new view.

 

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