1. Ommonite
    Offline

    Ommonite Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0

    The Mentor

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ommonite, Aug 25, 2008.

    As a staple in many stories, especially fantasy and sci fi, one character, usually the young main character, is tutored, trained, instructed, and/or taught by somone. That is the Mentor.

    (On a side note, watching the movies I realized Gandalf is a crappy wizard. I doesn't know how to get into Moria, he gets lost once FRODO figures out a way in, and then what, he dies. [not really his fault])

    Anyway, with rising literature from the success of LOTR and Harry Potter (which is essentially filled with mentors) it would seem that the concept of a mentor is taboo, a forbidden concept that new writers have ruined, and thus new new writers avoid.

    I for one have only just recently found a way around my own 'mentor' by giving him more qualities/roles that make him more of an Aragorn and less of a Gandalf.

    Though my ultimate goal is not to go the way of a certain Mr. Paolini, I still have some kinks I'd like to work out.

    In the first chapter, which has gone unwritten for many reasons, the hero meets this Mentor/ally. The two are both residents of this big city and have not met in several years. I can't seem to come up with a good way for them to bump into eachother.

    Later, as the hero is already a talented swordsman, the Mentor goes on to train another character, a female. I have a few ideas of my own, but I need a good idea as to how to not make this sound weird. Man in his fifties explorers the plains and forests with teenage girl.

    Thanks in advance, and sorry if my questions didn't seem clear.
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It's just a story element, and therefore not vulnerable to taboo.
    The mentor is a time honored litaerary character. Arthur's Merlin, Luke Skywalker's Obi-Wan Kenobi (and Yoda), Dane Thorson's Van Rycke, David Dunn's Elijah Price, many, many others.

    Very often, the mentor becomes the protagonist's nemesis.
     
  3. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    There's nothing wrong with using a mentor since not everyone can invent something of their own. Also, mentors don't always have to teach a skill, they can teach a value or idea.
     
  4. Ungood
    Offline

    Ungood Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    6
    This is your story.

    It sounds to me that you are trying to make a "Product" as opposed to creating a piece of literature.

    So far you have been asking us questions that only you should be answering.

    I know this sounds like a broken record, but this is the first step and you need to take it. and that is: Write what you feel inspired to write.
     
  5. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    There's nothing wrong with the mentor figure. It might come across as somewhat cliched, but you already seem to be working on trying to avoid the more cliched aspects of this type of character so that probably won't be a major problem for you. Understanding how something has been (over)done in the past is the first step to not overdoing something yourself.

    I'm afraid I haven't any suggestions for how the two characters meet; the most likely way (short of just randomly bumping into each other, which might seem too coincidental) is to have them meet at a place where they both share common interests. For example, if they both liked reading, they could run into each other at a library or some such. It happens.

    There's nothing inherently weird in this as long as you write it right. My teenage female MC is constantly in the company of almost exclusively older men. Barely any other females or teenagers to be seen. And she only realizes this well through the second story in the series! (She looks around herself and suddenly thinks, "I'm surrounded by guys!" :D ) Since none of them are making passes at her (she does get occasional attention but not of the leering creepy old man type), it doesn't come across as unnatural. She's just a character, hanging out with other characters. If your teenage female character sees no issue in hanging out with an older man, and if he sees no issue in hanging out with her, then the reader should see no issue either. They're just two characters hanging out. Like I said, it happens.
     
  6. BillyxRansom
    Offline

    BillyxRansom Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    1
    The weirdness can be solved by somehow connecting the mentor figure to someone in the girl's family. Just a suggestion.

    I've run into the mentor cliche problem problem myself. But I did figure out how to solve it (sort of -- almost).
     
  7. Ommonite
    Offline

    Ommonite Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've already fixed the problem, was gonna say something before you posted, Bill.

    anyway not only is he more of a Aragorn and less of a gandalf, the adventure with him and the girl begins right away with them meeting a dude, ahving entered a place they shouldn't. The two really don't spend much time together as originally planned, and her training takes place after the novel's completion, so I guess he is no longer a mentor in any way!

    Mission solved, no more replies.
     
  8. Heather Louise
    Offline

    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    32
    I always have a mentor of some sorts, just someone my charector can look up, because I think a lot of people have one anyways, someone who they look up to, someone who they don't mind talking to. I am not on about an unbreakable bond where both are always together and the mentor teaches them everything sort of thing, but where the mentee looks up to this person. Sterio-typically, my metors always seem to be older males, lmao. I look up to older people though, I always have and have no reason why but all the people in my life I have looked up to, have been older men.

    The thing to remeber about a mentor, is why they have become interested in this person. They cannot just randomly pick up a person from the street and want to teach or train them, there should be motive.
     
  9. penhobby
    Offline

    penhobby Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    354
    Likes Received:
    3
    Start writing your story and as the character develops his/her personality, let them tell you if they need a mentor or not. In a recent story I wrote, I had one of the character’s story line all worked out in my head, unfortunately he didn’t agree with me. I kept trying to push his character where I wanted him to go and he kept pushing back…well he won, as he should have, because it was his story… not mine. Once again this is not something we can really answer for you, but consider that in the end, the answer your character gives you is truly the best one there is.:)
     
  10. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    I know this thread is dead, but one of the coolist mentors was the guy from the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer.
     

Share This Page