Cliche Mentors


I just read this article from last year–Things Fantasy Authors Like to Write About—But Really Shouldn’t–and was struck by this line: “Hark, the gray-haired mentor comes forth with tidings of destiny and fate and the ruin of the world. Also, a pipe and staff and scowly eyes.”

My mentor character has a yellow beard and stormy eyes, but he does arrive mysteriously, wearing Jedi-like robes in the middle of summer (while everyone else is dressed in 1940’s era clothes), and with eerily accurate guesses about what the future holds. XD I’ve been struggling with him for awhile now.

You see, he tells the MC stuff and trains him in ways that the MC wouldn’t get otherwise. I’m not sure how else the MC would learn what he needs to know. The mentor is also the only one who actually believes in my MC, and the MC needs that to keep going. So I’m not sure I can cut the mentor.

But I do think he needs some revision. Maybe they should already know each other at the beginning of the story. Maybe he should actually wear normal clothes. Maybe he shouldn’t be a secret pal. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

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