• Member Since 30th Jan, 2013
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Viking ZX

Author of Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels! Oh, and some fanfiction from time to time.

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Being a Better Writer: Writing a Mentor · 9:04pm Jun 28th, 2016


So the slightly raspy throat that I worked through my shift with yesterday (hence no Being a Better Writer post on Monday) has erupted into something a bit more substantial, and I'm sitting here nursing a headache and a throat that feels like someone poured concrete down it ... which is a weird image, but honestly feels pretty sport on. Anyway, I'm hoping that that's all I'm feeling so that this post still stays up to par. Music is on, my finger are striking keys ... let's get this done.

So, writing about mentors. This is once again a fan-requested topic (of which I only have a few left), submitted in response to my last topic call. But, thankfully, it wasn't just a call for "what is a mentor character" but for a slightly more in-depth question: how do I use a mentor character?

You can read the rest of this post at Unusual Things

Comments ( 4 )

Well, thank you for that. You've made me realize that a character I'm writing is a mentor figure, and now I know what I must do:
I'm going to pretend to kill him (to play on the audience expectation of that) but have him survive (to subvert the trope, and also because he's the 2nd most important character in the story, and the protagonist needs somebody to talk to). This is going to be fun.

Always glad to hear something I wrote has been helpful! Thank you!


Ooooh, something highly relevant!

I admit, the first thing that came to mind when you mentioned an old woman was Toph beating up Korra, which also amused me because she was also a mentor back in the original series. That brought up an interesting point where being a mentor was just an aspect of the character, much like the rest of the GAang, instead of it being the only purpose.

Another interesting point you brought up was excuses the mentor has for not doing the job of the main character. Reminded me of what happened in the Kung Fu Panda movies, where a lot of emphasis was placed on destiny. At some points, like beginning of the third film, I was really annoyed at how little resistance some characters put up just because it is not their destiny to beat the villain (Oogway plz). It does work with the narrative flow, but as characters it does bother me a bit when this happens.

So sorting them out, I can come up with at least two broad types of mentoring styles. The first is the nurture type, where they are generally supportive of the main character. They are the ones usually relegated to the archetypal mentor figure. The latter is the adversarial type that provides a challenge for the hero to overcome and learn from. These can vary from the trickster types to outright being an antagonist. Of course, a good mentor can often use both styles depending on the situation, but I generally find the latter to be a more interesting character, unless the former has some kind of ulterior motive or what not.

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