Which offers more to the plot?

Poll closed Jun 23, 2018.
  1. A master who DOESN'T want to train our main character (but does anyway)

  2. a master who DOES want to train our main character?

    0 vote(s)
  1. SuperGabe323

    SuperGabe323 New Member

    Jun 16, 2018
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    Kansas City

    The Master and Protégé

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by SuperGabe323, Jun 16, 2018.

    I'm currently writing the first draft of a Middle-Grade action/adventure novel about superheroes and there's a huge decision I have to make that could change the course of the whole story.

    The main character, Daniel, just gained his superpowers. He doesn't know how to control them, so he seeks out help from a more experienced group of superheroes. The leader of that group, Kat, has to make a decision as to whether or not she should train Daniel to become a superhero. But which is more interesting plot-wise?

    A master who DOESN'T want to train our main character (but does anyway)? OR a master who DOES want to train our main character?

    The former unlocks some major conflict, allowing Kat to act as the perfect antithesis for our determined main character. But I don't want her to come off as a jerk, or she'd have to have a very strong reason or motivation to do so. Of course, as she trains Daniel she slowly begins to accept the task. (sidenote: it's very similar to the way Master Shifu treats Po in the first Kung Fu Panda movie).

    The latter on the other hand still can show Kat's unrelenting determination to train this new superhero which will still test our main character with how difficult the training can be and having to trust his master (think The Karate Kid). But from what I can see it really doesn't give a whole lot of room for conflict.

    So which one offers more to the plot? Should I be worried about writing a plot that's too similar to another? And what motivations could Kat have that would allow her decisions to make sense?
  2. SolZephyr

    SolZephyr Member Supporter

    Jun 4, 2018
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    First: I would say that the more conflict route is usually the better route. Unless it conflicts with Kat's personality or backstory, I would recommend the reluctant master, but you can definitely make conflict with the willing master route, too. If you go that route, the conflict can come from Daniel taking issues with Kat's training methods.

    Second: I don't think you necessarily have to go all in towards either direction. You said you plan on having her slowly begin to accept the task. If you want her to appear to be less of a jerk, you could just have her be cautiously against putting in the effort to train him, perhaps because of personal issues that the reader could sympathize with. She won't seem like a jerk (or at least not as much of one) if the reader understands her reasoning. She can then grow to accept and embrace her new role quickly and you can switch over more towards the willing master route.

    As for your worry of a plot being too similar to other plots, it's often more how the plot is presented than the plot itself that makes a story good. Pretty much any story can be made compelling with the right spin.

    Lastly, Kat's motivations could be:

    for being reluctant -- she's busy with some ongoing crisis; she's had a bad experience training others before; personal problems outside of superheroing that make her really not in the mood for anything else right now

    for deciding to train him -- his powers make him dangerous if no one teaches him; villains have been known to swoop in on new superheroes to get them on their side? (if it doesn't mess with the plot); you can always just make it part of the superhero code of conduct

    for becoming more accepting of the task -- just good old fashioned bonding; she sees what he can really do and decides the training (perhaps shifting focus to responsible usage) is more important than she originally thought; he does something she appreciates at some point (something important, either superhero-related or on a personal level)

    In the end, though, it boils down to what story you would find most interesting. If the story isn't interesting to you, then you're going to have a hard time finishing it. Trust me on that one.

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