JUDGE MY BOOK: The Bad Sidekick

I drafted this story up a few years ago because black characters always seem to be two-dimensional side characters present for comic relief and/or a dramatic death. In light of these recent developments, I feel the need to finally start releasing chapters.

Here’s the premise. Please give feedback on what you think!

In Syrot, Stories mean everything. At the age of 8, every child is Cast into their role and trained for their Adventure. The Inciting Incident begins a series of events that has been carefully planned by the Writers and always ends with the defeat of a Villain, the loss of a Sidekick, and a Happily Ever After of for the Hero.

Afra grew up knowing that she was unjustly Cast as a Sidekick. She knew that the system was rigged and that because of the color of her skin—the same as her father’s—she would never be anything more than a Sidekick. Then, after ten years of miserable training, Afra gets the notice that she is about to be a part of the next Epic—a grand Adventure that occurs only once every decade. Her friends and family are ecstatic for her, but Afra struggles to find the honor in her “destiny” when she’s Cast as Comedic Relief Sidekick for Nazarius: the greatest (and her least favorite) of all the Heroes. When she realizes that she’s supposed to die saving Nazarius, Afra knows she can’t do it.

Then, Serena, the Damsel, goes missing along with one of the Writing Quills, and Afra must step up. With the help of her horse called Thing, a Hero, the Villian’s Sidekick, two Old Hermits, and a map that may or may not be heading them in the right direction, Afra will Write herself as Hero of the story. Or end up dead along the way. Either way, she done being the Sidekick.

Genre: Fantasy/Humor
Target Audience: 17-21 (there is some mild cursing)
Working Title: The Bad Sidekick

Opinions? Thoughts? Comments? Anything in particular that I should address or avoid during this tumultuous time in our lives?


I really like this concept! I feel like there isn’t a better time to address these issues. How exactly does the Writer system work?


I’m still trying to hammer that out, but essentially Adventures are a rite of passage for each member of Syrotian society. The Writers are the government officials which oversee the entire thing.

At the age of 8, each person is Cast into a role (which is decided by a symbolic exam). Then they get to choose their weapon at the age of 12, and they continue their training up to the point that they receive their “notice” of their approaching Inciting Incident. Then they go down to the courthouse and get their paperwork on what exactly they are supposed to do for the duration of the adventure. It’s not a script, but more of an overview. Like, for Afra, before her Inciting Incident she only knew that she was a Jester. When she gets her character summary, she finds out she has officially been Cast for the role of Comedic Relief Sidekick for Nazarius Klein, the Hero, and is expected to “act as human shield for Nazarius in final act”. Also, there’s a note in her files that she needs to “accept the bald man’s advice”.

Throughout the tale, the Writers have set up the Epic to work exactly as they plan (using characters and well-planned events). However, the problem is the Villains get a hold of Writing Quills. Writers used to use Writing Quills long ago, but people didn’t like that they were imbued with magic and could influence (but not completely control) free will. Therefore, for the last five decades, Writers have relied on their careful planning. If the Villains can procure the proper ink, they can Write the ending to their benefit. Does that make sense?

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