When Sidekicks Take Centre Stage

In any fictional universe, the world revolves around the protagonist. Any "extras", sidekicks or love interests are very much subservient to the hero - though, if they are well-realised, they all think they're looking out for their own interests. It's only the writer who is leading them on to serve the hero and the narrative. Over at the Crime Readers' Association website, I wrote about Supporting Cast: Breathing Life into Secondary Characters. I even made reference to my favourite Hark, a vagrant webcomic. I mentioned Cerys Carr, who started life as nothing more than a gobby teenage sister to one of my protagonists and ended up playing a major part in Code Runner. She's also prominent in Book #3, and shows no sign of fading away. The beauty of a well-developed supporting cast of "sidekicks" to your hero is that they can leap to the fore at any moment. In television, this may even progress to them gaining their own show - for...
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Writing Battles: Making Death Personal

What do war films, comic books, high fantasy and epic poetry have in common? Their writers must hold our interest through long battle scenes. I love a good explosion, mech fight or horde of screaming orcs as much as the next geek. But I struggle with large-scale senseless violence if it doesn't make a point. Do I care about the giant who just swept aside fifty nameless, faceless barbarians? Of course not. It looks cool for five seconds, makes a nice trailer shot, but leaves no impact on me. SPOILER WARNING: This post uses examples from Edge of Tomorrow, Game of Thrones Season 4, Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire series), Avengers Assemble, Man of Steel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Iliad. These spoilers include major character death. You have been warned! So, how do you write an exciting, enthralling battle sequence, while marking the tragedy of death and ensuring...
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