The Mentor

Everyone needs someone to look up to, the mentor who provides guidance in an increasingly difficult world.

For some of us it’s a relative. Maybe Mom, who teaches love, kindness and caring toward others. Maybe it’s Grandpa who shows us how to work with our hands, takes us camping and teaches us how to barbecue. Perhaps it’s an aunt who struggled hard to be an auto mechanic in what has traditionally been seen as a man’s job.

For those of us who lack a strong family member to emulate, our mentors come from the outside world. How many of you fell in love with a teacher? This teacher offered praise and encouragement and made us feel smart and worthy.

Maybe it was at college at school or at work, who came to us offering advice on projects. This individual never made us feel inferior, but rather kindly took us under her wings.

Many kids worship athletes and want to be just like them. I once worked with a student who sought to be an astronaut shortly after the launching of a space probe, and at another time with one who wanted to be a famous skateboarded.

Your character needs a mento9r in his life. Someone to whom she can turn when stuck or feeling out of sorts.

As you develop your list of characters, write down several who could serve as mentors, and in what ways. Match up one from this list with your character’s interests or skills. Then enhance your list, writing down several possible scenes in which the two might interact, as well as the possible outcome of the interaction.

Your job is then to put the story in motion. Your character comes in contact with her mentor. A problem is discussed. A solution found.

Make sure that everything is logical. Dialogue should not sound forced, but rather flow naturally.

When finished, reread and edit. Add in details that flesh out the story.

How did it work for you? Does your character feel more three-dimensional?

Have fun with this one.

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