Narratives so often focus on their main characters, that the supporting ones can be afterthoughts, one-dimensional & cliche. These characters are sidekicks, second fiddles, and third-wheels who provide muscle, sex appeal, comic relief, a surprising insight—whatever is needed to complement the more pressing concerns of the hero and his (rarely her) particular journey.
This structure is so common, I find myself more drawn to the side characters, especially when they steal the scene they're supposed to support. When a narrative frame is dictated by a protagonist's point-of-view, there can be something especially satisfying, poignant, devastating, or hilarious about how characters either support, undermine, complicate or are blithely unaware of the drama around them. I feel like this movement more closely resembles the way we weave in and out of each other's lives, the hero in just one story, but a side character in so many more.
Goodnight, Sweet Prince is a digital literary zine dedicated to this movement. Each week this spring, a friend of mine will write about a side character who they think has something to say. Something we might've missed in our own attempts to be more than just a bit part.
-Nick Greer, 3/21/17