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  1. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Convincing a Reluctant Mentor

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gammer, Dec 18, 2009.

    So I've hit a real snag in my story. I have the middle and end planned out smoothly it's just the beginning that's kicking my ass. And it all centers on the MC finding a way to convince the "retired" old mentor guy to take him as his student which kick starts everything.

    The mentor sealed away the evil 100 years ago, but has broken free. (something sealed evil overlords are prone to...). But the mentor has become a bitter, old, disillusioned man who just wants to stay out of the new crisis. So what can the MC do to leave his hermit-tude and become involved, and find his old heroism side again?

    I find this really difficult because in most stories the mentor actually WANTS to train the MC. So I'm really not sure what the MC can do here, since he's not a Chosen One or anything like that.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. TheAsylum
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    TheAsylum New Member

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    You could use the old:

    Mentor won't help
    MC goes it alone
    Wins
    Realizes that the Mentor was the one that put him on the path.

    Something like Forbidden Kingdom?
     
  3. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    To me that works more as a final test from the mentor. In my situation the MC is starting off where most MCs start just discovering his ablities, having no idea about the more magical aspects of his world, village in peril, etc...

    Which is why this is so difficult. The MC really has nothing to work with. I really don't want to reduce him to being a Chosen One cause that's been done to death.
     
  4. Bongo Mongo
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    Bongo Mongo Member

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    Why don't you just change the story so that the old man is willing to train him. Whenever I plot an idea I try not to let everything get set in stone in my mind so I can easily change it if there is a problem with it. It seems to me like you think that your story has to have the old man being reluctant, but it's your story so you can easily change it.
     
  5. TheAsylum
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    TheAsylum New Member

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    Well, how about this:

    MC asks for training
    Mentor says you're not worthy
    MC says I don't need you
    Mentor happens upon MC trying to use his ability for good, is convinced to train

    Would that work?
     
  6. Bongo Mongo
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    Bongo Mongo Member

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    How about figure out a unique way of doing it that ties specifically to your world and character. It will be much stronger than the all the cliche ones that people have posted (no offense)
     
  7. TheAsylum
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    TheAsylum New Member

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    Yeah, they are knid of cliche. But...we are authors! We turn cliche into fresh everyday!
     
  8. hszmv
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    hszmv Member

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    I guess the first question you have to ask is "Why is the mentor disillusioned? What's his problem with the world?" If you have a reason he's so gruff, maybe the kid goes against the cultural norms.

    Your Mentor/Student relationship sounds to me like that of Bruce Wayne/ Terry McGinnies in Batman Beyond. Bruce, in his elderly age, wants nothing to do with Batman and doesn't want anyone else drawn into his lonely depressing life. But Terry wants to avenge his father's death. Intially, Bruce is reluctant, even going so far as to leave Terry to die for doing what Bruce would have applauded back in the good ol' days, and learns that the world still needs Batman.

    Now, Bruce's disillusion wasn't with one thing, but multi-layered (origninally given as him needing to pull a gun on a punk, but later it was fleshed out, and revealed Bruce could never let go of Batman and the rest of his friends left him, and then his very team was torn apart in front of his eyes, even sometimes, he was just glum about being to old) and this still allowed some depth into his own perspective. He was reluctant about bringing someone new into the thankless task, but knew if he didn't, his work was all for nothing.
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    This could just as well be an opportunity to show that your MC isn't a fast quitter. Once the mentor turns him down, your MC could refuse to accept it, and "set camp" right next to where the mentor lives. Then he could be in the mentor's face 24/7 until the old man's will is bent. You could make this part humourous if that's your style. The old man might start talking, giving well-founded reasons for why he won't pick up his trade again, but the MC comes out straight and accuses the old man of being a quitter, and the only thing the MC has learned from him is how to quit things. Then the MC turns to leave for good, but now the old mentor stops him and takes him in as a pupil.

    The mentor was convinced to change his mind because the MC made him realize what he had become, himself.
     
  10. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Have the mc go it alone, kill the mc, mentor fells responsible and goes out to redeem himself
     
  11. rikithasta
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    rikithasta Member

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    Does the mentor need to leave his isolation? Maybe the MC could go to the mentor get a little bit of information/ show him the basics of controlling his magic, and then the MC is left to figure a lot of it out on his own instead of having all/ most of the answers.

    Take a look at how other stories/ movies do this. In Star Wars. Obi Wan helps - but then dies so he can't help Luke too much. And then he goes to Yoda to get some help in training, but Luke still has to figure out a good amount on his own.

    Or Gandalf in Lord of the Rings who dies really early in Frodo's plot line. Frodo is left to figure out everything on his own with a gardener and eventually a lunatic to help him.
     
  12. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    You've mentioned that your mentor is bitter, how about make him selfish aswell? Have him have some completely selfish goal which can only be achieved if your MC completes said adventure/trial. Then you could also have some good tension between the two characters seeing as they have two different goals but also rely on each other =]

    x
     
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  13. TragicJuliet
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    TragicJuliet Senior Member

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    I would make a list and try and expand on the Mentor some, your his creator, you will better than anyone else what would get this mentor to get involved. Take some time and get to know the Mentor. then get to know his relationship with the MC, maybe it will come to you that way- that's what I do when I can't figure out a plot point, i work at all the parts around it, the characters and such and ask myself 'well why would this happen"
     
  14. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every "mentor" had, or has, his own "mentor". Maybe your MC can be rejected by the person he sees as his potential teacher and during the visit where he is rejected, some obscure reference tips him off to the location of the mentor's mentor. Kind of like being rejected for training by Obi Wan, only to discover Yoda. After your MC approaches the older mentor, old jealousies or resentments arise and the MC finds himself in the middle of a deeper, life-long struggle between the two. From a subplot point like this, there are unlimited possibilities, dependent only on your imagination and writing skill.
     
  15. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    "Sir, I need your help."
    An old, hermit-looking man comes out of a cave (I don't know-- your words, not mine) and raises his voice. "Go away. You are not wanted here."
    "Sir, I need your help. I must insist that there are some wars and I need--"
    "You. Are. Not. Welcomed. Here."
    "Sir, if I may please just have a moment of your time..."

    Soon persistance will wear him down. Hopefully this helped...
     
  16. deltaquid
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    deltaquid Member

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    Maybe have a third character, like the mentor's mentor, convince him. "Were you not like him when you were young?" might give him insight. Or perhaps some rival of the mentor who boasts about his own pupil, and the mentor remembers the MC and realises the potential in him.
     
  17. lyteside
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    the mentor needs a motivation. That's what's lacking. He's obviously been blocked from gaining what he wants, but we don't know what he wanted in the first place... that's why you are unsure of how to motivate him, because its unclear (and currently uninteresting) why he was motivated to lock up evil in the first place.

    Once you find out why he did it way back then, AND make it interesting to the reader, you'll be able to figure out how to draw it out again.

    Is your mentor "good"? Does he have a sense that if he doesn't act, all will go to hell and be lost, and thus be willing to deal with the pain and discomfort he'll endure? Or does he not even care? If he could care less, you're going to have to manipulate or trick him into it, or have the hero go it alone.
     
  18. Cacaw
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    Cacaw Member

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    Maybe the mentor has some personal relationship with the character that neither of them knew about (like he was friends with the character's dead father or something; the specifics are your job), then the mentor discovers the relationship somehow (an heirloom or common trait, perhaps?), and agrees to train the character without telling him why. Eventually, the character finds out.
     
  19. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    Maybe staying at home stops being an option for the mentor. After all, if I was the dark lord just getting free I'd have some of the boys heading down to my old nemesis' place to dish out some payback.

    Hero: now that we're both on the run anyway maybe you could show me something.
    Mentor: Grumblegrumble If you bloody insist grumble.
     
  20. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    MC gets shot down.
    MC decides to go after bad guys anyways and gets his arse handed to him
    Mentor saves MC's life, and decides that the MC needs training in order to survive
     
  21. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    There is a movie out called "Kong Fu Panda" that has a really good mentor-mentor-student relationship set up. The first mentor does not realize the potential in the student until his old mentor teaches him a thing or two about how to be an awesome mentor.
     
  22. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    You have to consider the reason that the mentor is reluctant in the first place.

    Doesn't believe in student? Kung Fu Panda. Student proves himself - inadvertently.
    Doesn't believe in self? Happy Feet. Student reminds mentor of life purpose.
    Too weak? Zelda series. Student embarks on quest to restore mentor's strength.
    Too selfish? Once Upon a Forest (I think? years since I saw it). Students go it alone despite the danger, proving their worth and the importance of their cause.

    It's not always as simple of problem QED solution, but if you think about it there are plenty of ways to get the old girl moving.
     
  23. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Mentor: What are you doing here, kid? Get lost, I'm trying to be socially withdrawn.

    MC: The ancient evil you sealed away has broken free.

    Mentor: Good for him.

    MC: He's going to destroy the world as we know it.

    Mentor: I don't care.

    MC: Well, I do. Teach me how to stop him.

    Mentor: Look, I've already saved the world once, and I don't want anything to do with that mess again.

    MC: If you teach me how to save the world, you won't have to.

    Mentor: ...You've got a point there.

    MC: Or I could just tell everyone where you live. I'm sure a lot of people would like to stop by and ask the legendary hero to save them again.

    Mentor: *groan* Okay, okay, you win.
     
  24. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Persistence: keeps at it and at it, following the old man around, helping him whether he likes it or not until he gets so fed up with it, he gives the MC the help he needs, just so he goes away and stops bothering him.

    Sympathy: Suddenly the mentor sees something in the MC that reminds him of how he used to be himself, or how his son or whatever was...

    Reward: The mentor has become particularly greedy these days and can be paid to help (might not be that committed to the cause in this case, which could be interesting too.)

    Confidence: Something happened later that made the mentor doubt his abilities to succeed. A new event (maybe somehow engineered by the MC) shows him that he really does know what is needed to make a difference.

    Or maybe the evil directly threatens something the old man really does care about...

    BTW, why are these wise mentors never female?
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Because you're reading the wrong books?
     

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