Novel Girls: Ideas and Sidekicks

2 Oct

This edition of Novel Girls will be slightly different as Nicole and I didn’t come up with anything specific in our writing that we were struggling with, so instead we thought of some good topics to discuss and blog about.

The first is my interpretation of KKs suggestion which was “Empty space is the basis for all good ideas.”  What I want to explore is “Where in our brains do our ideas come from?”

I’ll talk specifically about where my ideas for my WIPs have come from.  For my first WIP, I got the idea from something that bothered me in a book I read (no, this is NOT Fan-fiction and I will explain why).  There were two characters, one a stereotypical good-girl and the other a stereotypical bad-boy, who never interacted in the series for good reasons and were my favorite characters for different reasons.  BUT, this got me thinking and I wondered what could cause two people so drastically different from each other to collaborate and work together.  I created my own stereotypical good girl and bad boy and put them in my own setting.  From there I was able to create a story line that’s all my own and watch my characters come together in the way I imagined.  So, bottom line, I got this idea from trying to read between lines that didn’t exist in a different piece of literature.  I used something that upset me (why the characters couldn’t get along) and created something uniquely my own that I’ve grown to love.  I think things that upset you or make you think in other books/movies/whatever are a good place to start, but a writer has to create their own characters and world.  This is kind of like the movie Finding Forrester where Forrester has Jamal start writing with Forrester’s own words, but then going wherever his own brain took him.  The same words can take people to completely different places.

For my second WIP, I was thinking about the recent trend of YA Dystopian Future novels and how I would write it if it were up to me.  My love of historical fiction kicked in and I thought instead of a Dystopian Past (which I know makes little sense) and how that would play out.  It’s more of an alternative history in a way.  I created a world where there is a social hierarchy that my character is thrust to the top of and has to deal with the consequences of that and also in which there is some serious corruption that she can help unearth and right.  It’s my first foray into Science Fiction at all and has been really enjoyable.

My NaNo story is not YA at all, more of Woman’s Fiction actually.  It’s about a young woman in her 20s who moves to Alaska to take care of her sick grandmother. (There’s a lot more to it, Reader, but I’ll save that for when it’s published and you get to read it.) I got this idea from a prompt I did in my Tuesday Prompt Group which was surprisingly “It tasted blue.”  I’ve gotten almost completely away from the original prompt, but the idea got stuck in my head.

So there are my three current ideas and where I got them; something that bothered me I couldn’t get out of my head, thinking about a genre and how I would tackle it, and a prompt.  Where do you get your ideas for stories?  How did you think of your NaNo plot for this year or in years past? Leave a comment and let me know, maybe you’ll give me another great idea!

The second topic that I’ll explore was something Nicole suggested: sidekicks.  Why do we need sidekicks and what are their various uses?  I can talk about my sidekicks and some of my favorite sidekicks as some examples.  Reader, please chime in with your own and your favorites as well.

My first WIP has two sidekicks, one for each of my protagonists.  My female protagonist has a male best friend who is her sidekick.  His purposes are various, from giving her an outlet for her thoughts that the reader would otherwise not know to being a voice of reason who gets her to realize when she needs to take action and also giving her self confidence that she might not have otherwise.  I really think my story would be incomplete without him.

My male protagonist has a male friend who serves as his sidekick.  His purpose is a little more vague and I’ve considered re-writing him out but ultimately vetoed the idea.  This sidekick serves to make my protagonist more likable.  If the stereotypical bad boy can’t even hold a real friend, why would anyone want to be close to him?  By giving him a friend, who fights for him and gives him a single person he can actually open up to, my protagonist has qualities that would make him the kind of person worth talking to.

My second WIP has one sidekick to my protagonist, Hope.  Her sidekick helps guide her through the world she has been forced into and will be her partner in crime as she searches for answers.  As I haven’t finished yet, I haven’t completely flushed out his role (any suggestions are welcome).

I said I’d talk about my favorite sidekick as well.  Well, being a huge Harry Potter fan, I’m going to talk about the lovely Hermione Granger.  She adds a lot to the series that make it as wonderful and well-rounded as it is.  I think the most obvious is the feminine touch.  Rowling took a lot on to write from a man’s perspective and has admitted that she interjected herself into Hermione.  I think Hermione helps the series appeal to girls from the very beginning when a story about a young male wizard might not have been as tempting.  Also, Hermione’s logic and intelligence allow Harry to be the reckless youth we all love while still behaving in a logical and thoughtful manor.  His recklessness sometimes gets him in trouble and sometimes leads him through to conquer his foes so he couldn’t get by without it.  However, with Hermione, he also behaves logically instead of impulsively when needed.  Think of The Prisoner of Azkaban scenes during the time turner to get an idea of what I mean.

So, Reader, I’ll leave you with a few questions about sidekicks to ponder and leave comments about.  What is the primary purpose of a sidekick?  Tell me about your sidekicks and how they help your protagonist on his/her journey.  Who are your favorite sidekicks and why?  What purpose do they serve?

Thanks for reading and take care!  Please leave a comment so we can start a dialogue.

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2 Responses to “Novel Girls: Ideas and Sidekicks”

  1. mbpastrygal October 2, 2013 at 5:21 PM #

    Where do I get ideas for stories?
    I always come up with a character (or two) first. I walk around with them for a few days and see if I like them. Then I put them into situations and see how they react. The story always flows from there. I do all this mentally before writing anything down.

    Like

    • Sam October 2, 2013 at 6:59 PM #

      That’s so great for some character-based prose! I’m thinking of doing a character-based novel for NaNo this year. I’ll for sure have to try that!

      Like

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