Writing Your Antagonist’s Evil Sidekick

© 2020 Arabella K. Federico All Rights Reserved

Writing an Evil Sidekick

Writing Your Antagonist's Evil Sidekick

We’re all familiar with the hero’s sidekick, with the Protagonist’s valiant partner in crime who’s always standing by their side through adventure and danger alike. But what about your villain’s sidekick? What happens to your story when you take all the elements of a traditional sidekick and wrap them in evil intentions and spring them out upon your world?

Everyone needs a friend, even the most evil of Antagonists.

To begin, lets start with the obvious by stressing the importance of giving this evil minion a sure purpose. Your Evil-Sidekick isn’t there to stand next to your Antagonist in a red bikini eating out of a jar of pickles looking sexy…I mean, unless you’re into that sorta thing. Regardless, if your bad guy’s sidekick is simply there for show, your readers will see right through it. People love the bad guys so much because their stories, reasoning, and pasts are compelling. How did this person become this way? Why did they choose this path to walk down and dedicate their lives to? The good villains at least, force us to ask these questions. So take the best parts of a sidekick, which I’ll get to further in this article, but also the great parts of a villain; and we’re on the route of creating a vicious Evil-Sidekick.

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The Antagonist's Evil-Sidekick Is The Perfect Archetype For...

Now that we’ve solidified the Evil-Sidekick’s purpose/backstory for your novel’s story, I wanted to mention a lesser known archetype. The Contagonist. I wrote all the details about the Contagonist in an earlier blog post here, and I highly encourage you to go and read it. But basically, the Contagonist is like the Red-Haring for the Antagonist. The Contagonist looks and acts like the Antagonist, but may be slightly different motivations, desires, goals, and is ultimately not the story’s driving antagonistic force that’s pushing against the Protagonist. The Contagonist is an archetype, meaning this character must be positioned with purpose in your story by adding tension, betrayal, and conflict. 

The Evil Sidekick

What Makes A Good Evil-Sidekick?

I’ve compiled a list of unique characteristic that make for a good Evil-Sidekick. Let’s explore.

  • A “Yes-Man”. This simply means that they’re followers. That’ll go along with what your Antagonist wants to do. Now, this can be used in one of two ways. For example, let’s say you got yourself an Evil-Sidekick who’s a loyal “Yes-Man” all the way through your story, but then, begins to question the Antagonist. What if they bring up their concerns, and the Antagonist blows them off, making them feel insecure and minuscule. What if…what if this Evil-Sidekick then begins questioning their loyalty all together? Do you see where I’m going with this? Consequently, this scenario blooms an entire new lane for conflict because an Evil-Sidekick-turned-ally for the Protagonist. It could be the one thing to change the tide of the main story conflict. Use this wisely. 
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Being an asshole is always a good thing for an Evil-Sidekick

Secondly, the other way to use this “Yes-man” characteristic of the Evil-Sidekick is to simply allow them to go along with all the evil, sadistic, twisted vision of their Antagonist. They’re willing to be second in command and not number one. They don’t care about what their master does because their so aligned with their views. This isn’t just some mindless cookie-cutter minion character-this is a motivated person who so believes in their cause that they’re willing to do ANYTHING for it. That type of loyalty is dangerous for your Protagonist, which is precisely why we’re talking about it now. 

True Yes-Man Evil Sidekick

Who is your Evil-Sidekick for? Your Antagonist or your Protagonist?

How can this character be written to benefit and hinder the bigger players? By being either a driving changing force FOR your Antagonist-or-FOR your Protagonist. We talked about having this character serve a purpose and how their own backstory and motivations are crucial to the overall storyline-and this is one reason why. You can craft this character to be the ultimate foil for your Protagonist. To force them to see something essential within that’ll help them overcome their fatal flaw or lie they believe about themselves. Contrarily, the Evil-Sidekick could be a direct mirror for your Protagonist, reflecting back to them all the things they hate about themselves in order to push them towards true change. Same goes for the Antagonist. WHO is this character meant to change? Regardless of who you choose, the impact is what matters most. I recommend this BLOG on writing characters arcs by K.M. Weiland.

I'm Your #1 Fanguuurl

Your Evil-Sidekick needs to feel the love towards your Antagonist. The fact remains, they’re a sidekick for a reason! Just like your Protagonist’s sidekick, the Antagonist’s sidekick must be their sick sound of disturbing reason. They’ve got their own motives, yes, but their ideals, goals, and end-desires need to match up with the Antagonist. If the Antagonist likes torturing bunnies, their sidekick probably does too. (Nobody better ever torture bunnies!) Let them be as cruel, as incredulous, and as nasty. Their not-so-good shoulder to cry on. An tragically poisonous sounding board. Yes? Yes. Make them nasty, make them hateful, and make them encourage your Antagonist to do some awfully pernicious shit. Because, well, it’s more interesting that way. 

It's Time To Make A Protagonist A Little Bit Naughty...Or At Least, You-The Author should be. Even if just a wee-bit.

We see the Antagonist sometimes trying to turn one of the Protagonist’s allies over to their side. This makes sense. It could lead to information that was previous kept secret, plans and weaknesses; a total mind-fuck for your hero. So, why not backup, flip-it, and reverse it? 😄 Why not have your Protagonist work this Evil-Sidekick? Manipulate, and steer their loyalties to their side? That’s a sure-fire way to piss off their big-baddy, who probably takes them for granted and has for a loooong while now. Or, perhaps your Protagonist is just THAT inspiring, that world-shattering to turn this character? Decide if this bait and switch technique is a fresh and unique way to screw over your own Antagonist, and possibly swing the tide for your Protagonist in a dramatic, nail-biting way. But be careful-don’t do this out of nowhere. This must be planned out long before loyalties change.
 
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Use This Character-Use Them Over & Over Again

Typically, being a user is bad. I feel ya there, but this is fiction. And in fiction, it’s our job to use character in our giant evil plan. A great way, and the way that I will conclude this article, is to do just that with your Evil-Sidekick. A great minion, one who’s loyalty and who’s scheming can only be matched by that of the Antagonist, is such a ripe fruit waiting to be picked. For example, place this sidekick in the good guy’s camp as a Red Haring. Or, put them somewhere on the game-board as a mere distraction from your Antagonist’s real dirty dead. Be creative with this. I’m simply throwing around suggestions, but I know how creative people are, and how a well-written Evil-Sidekick can turn a novel from average, to bad-ass. 

The Evil-Sidekick

Conclusions

 
    1.
An Evil-Sidekick absolutely no-excuses about it, should be there for other reasons besides being an evil sidekick. Backstory, motivation, drive.
    2.
Dive into the Contagonist Archetype and how an Evil-Sidekick is the perfect character for this archetype.
    3.
A “Yes-Man”. A loyal follower, cool with being #2 and down for all the shady shit that’s going down on the dark side. A “Yes-Man” can stay that way, or eventually switch sides.
    4.
An Evil-Sidekick is there to drive change and conflict for either the Protagonist or Antagonist. 
    5.
Make them your Antagonist’s biggest fangurl. At least for the time that they’re loyal.
    6.
Have your protagonist be the one to flip the script and turn that minion to THEIR sidekick. Or at least to their side.
    7.
Instead of having the same old character doing the same old trick, use this character to spice things up in the plot.
 

It's Time we give this characters some daylight

In conclusion, I believe it’s time for this character to be utilized. To be a great, unexpected side character that leaves your readers shooketh. I’d wanna read a character like this, therefore, I believe we should wanna write a character like this. I hope this blog helped you narrow down your own version of an Evil-Sidekick, and that you’ve got some schemes and plots a brewin! Please like, share, tweet, and Pin this article for all your writer friends to read. Your supports allows me to continue sharing the love. Join the army! #ArabellasArmy 

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