Writing

#BookReview 8 Steps to Side Characters by @sacha_black #WritingTips #WritingCraft

Title: 8 Steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power

Author: Sacha Black

Category: Non-Fiction/Writing Resource

My Rating: 5 Star

Book Blurb:

In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover: 

  • A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
  • The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
  • The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
  • How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
  • Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization 
  • Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
  • Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters 
  • Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader 
  • Character archetypes and functions
  • The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid 

8 Steps to Side Characters is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create the side characters your story needs. This book is packed with tips and tricks for polishing characters for writers at any level.   If you want to power up your characters, eliminate dull and lifeless archetypes, and perfect your characterization, this is the book for you. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your characters to give your story, prose and plot the extra something special it needs to capture a readers and fans for life.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create better side characters, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting supporting roles with intention, purpose, and power. Read 8 Steps to Side Characters today and start creating kick-ass stories.

My Review:

Another cracking book in a series every writer should have on their bookshelf!

As with all the books in this series, I find myself skimming back over my published novels and analysing what I could have done better. Not in a (excuse the cliché), ‘head in my hands’ kind of way, but to grow as a writer and develop my craft.

Black has helped us decipher the anatomy of prose and held our hand as we took multiple steps towards understanding our heroes and villains. It was, therefore, a logical choice to include a book devoted to our side characters.

Side characters are mechanisms for exploring the plot, obstacles, and themes from a different angle than your protagonist.’

As writers, we may prefer to concentrate our time and effort on developing the main characters, but secondary roles are vital to our theme. Seeing the breakdown of major, minor, and cameo roles was helpful, and Black uses well-known books, movies, and TV shows to show the reader how her tips can be adapted to fit your idea.

There are exercises throughout the book to help you reinforce the learning as well as summary sections.

My favourite chapter (three) talks about your side characters’ impact on your protagonist and plot. This section has helped enormously as I’m in the process of outlining my next young adult novel. Taking time to ask your side characters why they’re so important was a great tip, and it gave me a few pages of helpful notes and dialogue to use.

Sprinkled within the insightful advice and exercises, you’ll find Black’s usual ‘isms’ and dark humour that mark this as unique in the writing guide genre. Her distinctive voice is witty, sarcastic, yet passionate.

“…your reader doesn’t need to know the exact number of toe hairs your protagonist’s BFF has.”

Having met the author at multiple book-related events and listening to her Podcast, it was refreshing to see her usual potty mouth in full flow. In some books, especially how-to/self-help books, you wouldn’t expect foul language and reference to penis turrets. Still, the author refuses to deny her authenticity, meaning there are quite a few laugh out loud moments in this book.

A highly recommended resource for writers’ everywhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.