Who Needs Obi Wan Kenobi?

Posted: October 30, 2014 by writingsprint in My two cents
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ve begun to map the plot arc for my story, and in the story that I’m using as a template, the hero almost immediately meets a mentor: a wise, experienced man who can help him become the hero that he wants to be. Some famous mentors in film and literature include Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid), Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars), Abbe Busoni (The Count of Monte Cristo), and Merlin (Arthurian legend). I hadn’t imagined one for Risha when I conceived the story. In my mind she’s smart, capable, though raw, and about to take some advanced classes at the college of hard knocks. A mentor would add a motherly or fatherly dimension to the story to help her through that.

Would it help?

More to the point, what would it add to the story?

Mentors can act as a source of wisdom, give their heroes tools they need to succeed, and act as moral compasses as they find their way. They also spur the hero into action and help him or her overcome their fears. Mentors can be internal, like a heroine haunted by the memory of her parents. Finally, mentors can have their own agendas, passing on knowledge and wisdom and manipulating people to their own ends. (“Archetypes in the Hero’s Journey,” Melinda Goodin)

Risha certainly needs guidance. Her parents are dead and she has a troubled relationship with her guardian. She may turn to her peers, who at this stage of her life are smugglers and hired guns in the galactic underworld. It isn’t a path her guardian wants her to follow, but it’s the natural way she would want to go. Is there anyone she would listen to, other than herself?

Other than a trusted ally – a bodyguard, a family doctor – I have three possibilities on this one.

Until now she’s been acting in the underworld under the wing of her guardian. She may listen to an experienced criminal who can show her how to move on her own. Because she was noble born, she may listen to nobility, if that person were someone who had a clue and could help her get the revenge she wants. She’s sufficiently bitter that she may listen to a skilled assassin, but she’s so suspicious it’s pretty doubtful that she’d let someone like that get close to her. At least with her knowing.

I even considered a dark stranger who leads her to an ancient temple that’s been secretly watching the events surrounding her exile.

Do I want her to be lost and wandering, needing a mentor’s guidance? No. She’s already learned to kill, to steal, and how to operate a ship. She’s learned how to survive… but not how to live. Being a princess isn’t even on her radar yet.

At this point I’m going to say… I’m not adding a mentor to the story. Not right now, or at least, not a new parent figure. She’s going to have friends who have become her guides, which is something that her guardian doesn’t like, but it’s a product of the life she’s been forced to live. I do have a character in mind who will become her mentor, but now wasn’t the time for them to appear.

I’m going to keep this tacked up on my wall of sticky notes. We all need to learn from someone. Risha’s smart enough to know that she doesn’t know it all.

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