You’ve heard all of the bits and pieces of story structure plenty of times, whether you were sitting in a classroom or banging your head against your keyboard at home, racking your brain for what could possibly be missing from your otherwise flawless work of fiction. Exposition, conflict, climax, relatability; if you’ve heard it, you’ve tried it, and we want to read it.
With Geek & Sundry’s Inkshare Fantasy Contest, we’re giving you the opportunity to share your work for a chance at publication (squee!), and along the way we’re dedicated to helping you fight past the dark lords and giant trolls, often referred to as cases of writer’s block, that aim to stand in your way.
When it comes to putting pen to paper and trudging your way through a cloud of writer’s block, in your story’s supporting characters you can often find the answer to your prayers to Merlin. Often underutilized in modern fantasy fiction, the supporting characters that journey alongside the protagonist can make or break the story as a whole, and inspire the author at every turn.
Sandor Clegane, A Song of Ice and Fire
He’s a tough as nails pseudo-knight who throughout the series is focused on one thing, survival. We see him do some truly despicable things, and then he turns around and defends a Stark girl and for a moment, we like him. We appreciate him not only for his entertainment factor and readability, but for a handful of actions that result in actual character development, a rare occurrence for a minor character, let alone one that the reader is first introduced to as a bloodthirsty hound.
Susan Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia
Susan Pevensie is a gentle soul with a true love for her siblings and a knack for the bow and arrow. Yes, Susan rules the lands of Narnia with Lucy, Edmund, and Peter, but in the grand scheme of C.S. Lewis’ world; many consider her to be more of a supporting character than a protagonist. A far more passive character than her siblings, but nonetheless important to the series in it’s entirety. Susan teaches readers a valuable lesson about opening your mind and not wasting your life on trivial matters when there’s a whole wide world to explore.
Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
Dead set on avenging his father’s murder, Inigo Montoya delivers the most famous line from William Goldman’s classic fantasy tale, and in doing so sets the tone for his character in as little as 12 words. Inigo is extremely goal-oriented, a talented swordsman, and a fierce friend. When he loses sight of his purpose, he spirals downward. Only returns to action, that’s when he’s reminded of why he fights.
Éowyn, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Éowyn of Rohan believes that there must be more to her provincial life as lady of Edoras, niece of the king, and she makes her move the instant opportunity comes knocking. She’s a spirited, brave, and loyal character that would do anything to keep the people she cared about safe, in spite of what others may tell her to do, or how she may be told to behave. One of J.R.R. Tolkien’s more progressive characters, Éowyn cares not for gender roles and responsibilities, and knows the true value of a person at their core. She, alongside her trusty friend Merry, slays the Witch King and it’s fell beast, something that many have tried and failed to do before her.
Neville Longbottom, The Harry Potter Series
He may not be a member of the famous trio, but to many fans, Neville Longbottom is the most important person in the Harry Potter series. If Voldemort would have simply chosen Neville over Harry to pledge his life to destroying, going off of Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy, things could have been very different in both of the boys’ lives, and in the lives of the entire wizarding world. Even setting that fact aside, Neville changes the game entirely when he earns the trio’s respect by standing up to them in their first year of school. He becomes a key player against the dark forces, and in the end destroys the horcrux Voldemort held most dear, Nagini.
Whether your supporting characters are outspoken, timid, heroic, or more on the passive side, they have an effect on the outcome of the story and should be taken advantage of. Use them, abuse them if you must, but just be sure to keep an eye out for even a minor character, because in the end they could change everything.
Haven’t started on your entry yet? Learn more about the Inkshares Fantasy Contest here, and let’s talk supporting characters and plot points in the comments below. Or, find me over on Twitter @bekahbabble!
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