Dr. Watson, I Presume? The Importance of Killer Sidekicks

A brilliant post by author Susan Spann on the importance of secondary characters.

Writers In The Storm Blog

by Susan Spann, @SusanSpann

Sherlock Holmes, mystery, writingWhether you write detective fiction, romance, historical novels or fantasy epics, a lone protagonist never receives as great a reaction as one with a well-developed supporting cast.

Foils serve to reinforce and highlight the hero’s good (and bad) characteristics, and also give the protagonist a chance to shine outside the primary narrative.

Although a “sidekick” isn’t mandatory, a strong secondary character improves many stories in several important ways:

1. Introducing an Alternate Point of View.

Sidekicks rarely agree with everything the protagonist does, and often have a radically different worldview. This gives the author a chance to present alternative theories, new opinions, and thoughts that the protagonist or hero might not propose on his (or her) own.

A sidekick proves especially effective where the sidekick has a different gender, religion, or race than the protagonist. In addition to adding great diversity to your fiction (and forcing…

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Which publishers publish fantasy novels?  

Looking to bypass the agent route and head straight to a publisher? Or just interested in discovering who the major players are in the fantasy publishing game? This fantastic list compiled by A J Dalton outlines publishers who publish fantasy, as well as giving links to their sites and whether they accept direct submissions from writers. Definitely worth a look!

Source: 8. Listing of fantasy publishers

Fabulously Creative Workshop with Walter Mason

 

Walter Mason

 

Today, I had the pleasure to attend a 3-hour workshop with Walter Mason, aptly named ‘Fabulously Creative.’ Part writing workshop and part inspiration session, Walter and his course were both, indeed, fabulous!

I’m generally wary of free classes, mostly because I’m not sure how much I’ll get out of them, and I hate to waste the time I could have spent writing. I’d heard a lot of great things about Walter though and was looking forward to getting a few kernels or ideas that I could take with me into my current projects. I was really impressed just how much I got out of this short workshop – definitely more than just a few ideas!

Walter is a dynamic teacher and his enthusiasm for writing is infectious. After introductions, he began with his own list of inspirational historical writers (writers who were often scandalous, but always noteworthy), and asked participants to come up with their own list of 5 living inspirational figures. It was hard. I’m still working on mine.

Mindset and attitude were also addressed; turning your fears of failure around, and never being afraid to dream big. Walter espoused the idea that there is an energy to being fabulous; by pushing yourself to do amazing, noteworthy things, and to take chances (or as I’ve heard another of my favourite authors, Kate Forsyth say – be brave!)

He lauded the value of immersing yourself in your writing – to keep a notebook and a diary, to capture ideas in words, and to snatch writing time whenever you find it. He talked about knowing your genre and what international writing prizes you might want to put on your wish-list (dream big, remember!)

All in all it was a great workshop and if you see a course Walter is teaching I’d highly recommend it. My main takeaway:

Fabulousness is doing what you love, and not giving a damn what strangers think.

 

Don’t just take my word for how enjoyable to workshop was. Here’s what Robin at Write or Wrong had to say about the day:

https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/fabulously-creative-with-walter-mason-walterm/

You can check out Walter’s blog and books here: http://www.waltermason.com/ or follow him on twitter at: @walterm

If you need some inspiration, it is well worth catching Walter at his next event. He’s running another Fabulously Creative workshop at Sutherland Library May 7th 2016. Walter is also running a course at the NSW Writers’ Centre starting 20th March called Creative Groove.

Open Submissions: Last Call!

January is a good month if you’ve got an unsolicited SF/F manuscript you’d like to get in front of a publisher, with two major publishing houses opening their doors to unsolicited manuscripts this month:

Submissions are open for a brief period at the following publishers:

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Angry Robot Books

Seeking: Complete manuscripts between 70-150,000k in the genres of science fiction or fantasy (incl. steampunk, dark fantasy, alternate history, military SF, modern fantasy, horror, space opera, dieselpunk, cyberpunk)

Electronic submissions only

Submissions close 31st January 2016

You can read all about how to apply here.

 

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Gollancz 

Seeking: Complete manuscripts over 80,000 words in the genres of SF, Fantasy, Horror and YA Crossover.

Hard copies only

Submissions close 22nd January 2016 (so throw you m/s in a courier bag today!)

You can read all about how to apply here. 

7 Ways To Create Memorable Minor Characters

Great article on easy ways to bring minor characters to life:

You Write Fiction

Believe it or not, minor characters can be some of the most memorable. That being said, they don’t get a lot of exposure, so it can be tricky to flesh them out to be vibrant and fun. Here are seven practical strategies to accomplish just that:

Name minor characters

Don’t settle for ‘the rich lady in heels.’ Give minor characters a name to automatically bring their identity to the next level.

Caricaturize minor characters

Minor characters won’t be super developed, so it’s okay to caricaturize one or two of their traits to enhance their stage presence.

Give minor characters recognizable physical traits

Unique physical distinctions are an easy way of making minor characters a little more memorable, and can provide for humor, intrigue, curiosity, etc.

Showcase minor characters multiple times

If you introduce a minor character in chapter three, why not have her make a second appearance in chapter fourteen? She’s a…

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