You will note that none of the next 7 Elements are "the main character." This is because every main character is more than just the position they occupy in the story, and they're almost never alone. So while any of the next few character types might be your protagonist, they're more likely to make up your supporting cast.

Today's Element is the Mentor. You've probably seen this character in a number of films, TV shows, video games, and novels.

All Mentors have something in common - they all teach or guide the main character or group through a set of new skills relevant to the character's life at that point or the character's future. Whether the subject being taught is physical prowess, mental acuity, history, or morality, the Mentor's guidance usually plays a relatively major role in the main character's personal development.

When the Mentor's teaching has to do specifically with the future, they're often maddeningly vague, either speaking in frustrating poems or avoiding talking about it directly in any manner. This can serve as a motivation for the main character (or group) to act in ways they ordinarily wouldn't have done. 

In some plots, the Mentor may not be around for very long. Sometimes the Mentor is only present for only a few scenes before the circumstances of the plot call for a dramatic sacrifice or a duel to the death.

That said, the Mentor can be an extremely useful character to have in your story, as they can add a source of wisdom and information to the main character's journey. This is especially relevant if the main character starts off in a state of confusion or isn't familiar with the situation, world, or position he's been tossed into.

To the previous Element

To the next Element

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©2018 by Eleanor Taylor.

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