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Stormcat
August 5th, 2020, 02:12 PM
It's almost time to introduce my MC to their mentor!

But I haven't actually fleshed out this mentor in my notes yet. All I've got is that he's a grandfather who loves his children and grandchildren very much, He can't keep secrets and he's known to get really, really excited when his special interests are brought up.

How should I better flesh out this Mentor? What are some tips?

Joker
August 5th, 2020, 02:45 PM
Maybe there's a generation gap? Neither side willing to understand the other's perspective on things.

Stormcat
August 5th, 2020, 04:00 PM
Maybe there's a generation gap? Neither side willing to understand the other's perspective on things.

Not necessarily the relationship between MC and Mentor, but the Mentor himself. He feels underdeveloped as a character to me.

Taylor
August 5th, 2020, 06:19 PM
It's almost time to introduce my MC to their mentor!

But I haven't actually fleshed out this mentor in my notes yet. All I've got is that he's a grandfather who loves his children and grandchildren very much, He can't keep secrets and he's known to get really, really excited when his special interests are brought up.

How should I better flesh out this Mentor? What are some tips?

Can you give us a bit more...like what are his special interests?

Stormcat
August 5th, 2020, 06:37 PM
Can you give us a bit more...like what are his special interests?

Anthropology. Specifically, anthropology of this humanoids species I made for the Story, the Chimerids. They look almost identical to normal humans, but they can use magic and have a bunch of other traits common with classical monsters of lore (IE; Vampires, Werewolves)

Also, Humans, as he is a Chimerid and Humans are something of a rarity in this world. Human cultures, human biology, Human anything. When he's introduced he's going to ask my (formerly human) MC a bunch of invasive questions about stuff, but I don't yet know what those questions will be.

And Not relating to special interests, but he has a son and grandson that live with him. But they are another matter entirely. He used to have a wife as well, but she's dead.

Taylor
August 5th, 2020, 06:59 PM
Anthropology. Specifically, anthropology of this humanoids species I made for the Story, the Chimerids. They look almost identical to normal humans, but they can use magic and have a bunch of other traits common with classical monsters of lore (IE; Vampires, Werewolves)

Also, Humans, as he is a Chimerid and Humans are something of a rarity in this world. Human cultures, human biology, Human anything. When he's introduced he's going to ask my (formerly human) MC a bunch of invasive questions about stuff, but I don't yet know what those questions will be.

And Not relating to special interests, but he has a son and grandson that live with him. But they are another matter entirely. He used to have a wife as well, but she's dead.

Sounds like you already have a lot to work with there...this character sounds very interesting!

I think I would start with the special interests. How and why he is interested, what types of activities he does to participate in the study of Anthropology.

Then I would craft a number of scenes with with the son and grandson, and think about what type of relationship you want him to have with each. There must also be a story about the grandson's mother. I would think about his relationship to her and what role he played in the fact that she doesn't live with them as well.

And then you could write a background, to his marriage whether you include it the story or not. It would be helpful to build your character and his motivations.

For me, when I develop main characters, I always do a rough background from birth, outside of the story I am writing. That helps with motivations.

Cephus
August 5th, 2020, 09:39 PM
It honestly sounds like you have an archetype, not a character. What are their goals? What is their arc? Why do they do what they do? What is their motivation in the story? What makes them interesting? Any worthwhile character has four major components: motivation, conflict, strengths and weaknesses. There has to be a reason for them to exist beyond "I need a mentor character". Why are they acting as a mentor? What is their purpose in the story? Once you start to figure out those things, you'll start to fill in the details naturally and organically.

luckyscars
August 6th, 2020, 12:25 AM
So your mentor is an old man?

I mean, it's not a problem, but it's been done before hasn't it?

This is a pretty ancient trope. Everything from Greek myths to Gandalf to Ben Kenobi to the Karate Kid.

Have you considered subverting the trope a bit? A new spin? Why not make the mentor somebody young and perhaps not male? I think a lot of people will hear about this kindly old man mentor. At least make him a cantankerous asshole.

How about a mentor who is an eight year old girl?

Stormcat
August 6th, 2020, 01:07 AM
So your mentor is an old man?

I mean, it's not a problem, but it's been done before hasn't it?

This is a pretty ancient trope. Everything from Greek myths to Gandalf to Ben Kenobi to the Karate Kid.

Have you considered subverting the trope a bit? A new spin? Why not make the mentor somebody young and perhaps not male? I think a lot of people will hear about this kindly old man mentor. At least make him a cantankerous asshole.

How about a mentor who is an eight year old girl?

He's not going to be the ONLY Mentor.

Stormcat
August 6th, 2020, 01:25 AM
Any worthwhile character has four major components: motivation, conflict, strengths and weaknesses.

Hmm... Maybe writing this out would help.

Motivation: Wants to gain the "lost knowledge" of humankind, and help his son recover from "The Incident"

Conflict: Presently on the run from a dangerous theocracy who wants him dead and to suppress all he's worked for. Son refuses to speak of/write about "The Incident" so he has no idea what "The Incident" even is.

Strengths: Insatiable thirst for knowledge, good with kids, Intelligent enough to educate K-12 kids on just about everything,

Weaknesses: can't keep secrets, blathers quite a lot, aforementioned insatiable thirst for knowledge, Son hasn't spoken since "The incident" and wants to figure out how to help him but isn't sure how,


This enough to start?

Olly Buckle
August 6th, 2020, 09:57 AM
Three males living together? The social dynamics of that allows for some character development. Who washes up, who cleans the bog, and why? Who makes sure they do their bit, and how? Does he sometimes meet a lady friend, and what do the others think of it? The domestic arrangements would provide another side of the character.

Cephus
August 6th, 2020, 03:40 PM
Hmm... Maybe writing this out would help.

Motivation: Wants to gain the "lost knowledge" of humankind, and help his son recover from "The Incident"

Conflict: Presently on the run from a dangerous theocracy who wants him dead and to suppress all he's worked for. Son refuses to speak of/write about "The Incident" so he has no idea what "The Incident" even is.

Strengths: Insatiable thirst for knowledge, good with kids, Intelligent enough to educate K-12 kids on just about everything,

Weaknesses: can't keep secrets, blathers quite a lot, aforementioned insatiable thirst for knowledge, Son hasn't spoken since "The incident" and wants to figure out how to help him but isn't sure how,


This enough to start?

If it helps you, yes. If not, no.

Stormcat
August 6th, 2020, 05:32 PM
Three males living together? The social dynamics of that allows for some character development. Who washes up, who cleans the bog, and why? Who makes sure they do their bit, and how? Does he sometimes meet a lady friend, and what do the others think of it? The domestic arrangements would provide another side of the character.

Hmm. I guess the Majority of the chores are done by the Mentor Character and his son, as the grandson is a six years old and can't do too many chores, but he helps where he can. Sure Grandpa and the son have full-time jobs, but there's nobody else to manage this. Because of both adults working full time, the house is still very messy, but there's food on the table every night.

There are no Lady friends in the picture right now because A) Grandpa is too busy taking care of everyone B) The son has severe mental issues right now, and he's still mourning his son's mother, and C) the Grandson is six years old, as stated before. Sure he's got friends who are girls, but he's too young for romance.

As for the daughter-in-law/ mother of the grandson, She died in childbirth, so she never knew her child, and the grandson doesn't seem to miss her. The Son however, doesn't say anything about her but visits her grave often to clear it of debris or leave flowers.

Lee Messer
August 18th, 2020, 04:37 AM
Weakness? Make him crazy in some way. Sounds like he's had an unusual life. Make him quirky, odd. Give him some character flaws that make him unique, awkward, and yet insightful. Might be mannerisms, OCD, or even worse 'Rudely-Autistic'. Made that word up. Don't make it silly though, unless your book is meant to be silly. Silly characters can easily ruin a serious book. Some examples: Yoda (Seemed to have dyslexia when he spoke), Sherlock Holmes (Autistic?), Hannibal Lecter (OCD?), Frank Langella's Dracula (slight epilepsy when seeing blood?), or just plain mean like from Mommy Dearest. Hope this helps.

Zlodesk
November 20th, 2020, 09:48 PM
I'm curious, are you trying to craft an inherent flaw with him or simply flesh him out more. OR is it both?
There are a lot of tropes to navigate, and it does matter whether you want to subvert them. It's not necessary but can certainly be fun.
You could always make him very good at what he does, but still full of self-doubt because of events with his son. Like his failure has marked him in his own mind even if the world sees him as a proper success and a wonderful figure.
On the trope end of things, you could always add a vice like alcohol. You could make him sick and further require him to be medicated periodically, impeding his usefulness in some vital situations, then pushing the responsibility onto the MC.
Sorry to have joined the convo late, just looking to help out where i can. I'm happy to keep checking in in case i can help.

Olly Buckle
November 21st, 2020, 12:44 AM
Do you have a physical image? Age, hair colour/cut, height, weight, hands and feet, skin colour, wrinkles, scars? Any special facial expressions or habits? Fast or slow moving, clumsy or competent? Any stock phrases or sayings, shared family stories or jokes?

You can build things like that in as you go, personally I don't go for it when you get half a page of physical description for a new character, though on the other hand it pays not to let people build their own picture and then contradict it. Something like 'Short, dark and humourless' on the other hand is only three words, but gives you things to build on later.

Stormcat
November 21st, 2020, 01:28 AM
Do you have a physical image? Age, hair colour/cut, height, weight, hands and feet, skin colour, wrinkles, scars? Any special facial expressions or habits? Fast or slow moving, clumsy or competent? Any stock phrases or sayings, shared family stories or jokes?

Here's my introduction of him from my work:


An older man followed the mechano-maid, his age made obvious by his grey hair and kind, grandfatherly face. He wore a pair of spectacles and a thick wool greatcoat with several patches in it. After taking off his coat and handing it to the Mechano-maid, He greeted David warmly. "David my boy, It's been so long!"


Should I add anything to that sentence, or let it grow more organically during the story?

indianroads
November 21st, 2020, 07:36 AM
I'm not getting what makes this mentor imperfect. We're all askew at some level or regarding some aspect of our lives, that's normal.

A friend often says that we can learn something from everyone, but more often than not, what we learn is patience.

Some mentors can have sizable imperfections. My Shaolin Kenpo martial art instructor was brilliant at his art - and was the most deadly person I've ever met. He was an awesome teacher, and (as I mentioned) his skills were incredible. HOWEVER, he was married with a son and daughter, but also a lady's man - and would often sleep with female students or the mother of the kids that he trained. After I moved away and took on another martial art style, he was arrested and convicted of sleeping with a minor - a 17 year old girl. He was later released on one of those California early release programs, and opened another karate studio - and guess what, he was still sleeping around.

I learned a lot from this instructor; patience certainly, but also gained martial art skills that served me well.

Yes, he was a flawed human being, but was also an incredible instructor that gave me a lot of knowledge.

Olly Buckle
November 21st, 2020, 10:20 AM
Here's my introduction of him from my work:




Should I add anything to that sentence, or let it grow more organically during the story?

Generally I would be in favour of letting it grow during the story, but taking off his coat does beg the question of what he wore beneath it. It is a pretty natural follow on, i am already imagining equally worn corduroy trousers and a thick shirt such as a farmer might wear. There is no 'should' about it though, it is up to you, I was merely suggesting topics so your own picture got more specific and allowed you to crystallise what sort of man he was.

v_krelig
November 29th, 2020, 05:07 AM
I think mentors work well in stories when they have a sense of urgency. They know the clock is ticking for them to be able to pass on their knowledge, or maybe a complete transfer of knowledge is out of the question and they have to settle. Then the student has to complete the quest (or whatever the plot is), while overcoming their doubt.

One way to look at it would be to see how his character traits would get exaggerated with that sense of urgency and if that presents a barrier of its own for the mentor to overcome.