The ‘Forced Mentorship’ Plot: an exploration
AKA: writing is hard and I really like This Type of story
You know, stories like Soul, Brother Bear, Logan, Up, Stranger Things, Gravity Falls, etc.
The: “grumpy old man forced to work with a young person and slowly softens” ☺️
Alright folks, I’m learning some things I think you guys would benefit from knowing, especially if you are going to try to write a story like this!
So, to start out: Don’t do the story arc thing.
No. No, bad. It’s not as helpful for novel length stories, and it’s really easy to get things in the wrong place? Do you see how this person organized Finding Nemo? It’s completely off!
We’re using this, more,,, mountain range (?) plotline. Obviously, this isn’t the only sort of plot. But, most stories fit well in this, and it’s more helpful for a writer.
Most important are the False Hope and Low Point points, which the simpler arc doesn’t have. I’ll explain in better detail in a bit.
The Forced Mentorship Plot has a few additional points that make it specific to this type of story. I’ve got those additions in pink. You can click on it to read in detail. i know, it’s small.
So let’s look at some examples: I have,,, a bunch. I got excited. Disclaimer: I haven’t seen some of these in a bit, so some stuff might be a little vague, but you get the idea.
I know, I know that is way too much information. Let’s break it down.
The inciting incident:
Forced Mentorship stories force the old protagonist into a guardian-like with the young protagonist
Soul: joe dies and has to work with 22 to get an earth pass
Brother bear: kenai is turned into a bear and has to work with Koda to get to the mountain
Up: Carl’s house floats off to the wrong place, and Russel is on the porch. He has to work with Russel to get to Paradise Falls
The characters have various adventures as they journey somewhere. Positive things work toward solving the problem
The FATAL FLAW of the older character will cause most of the problems, at the expense of the younger protagonist. For example: marlin refuses to take risks, and will not go through the scary trench. As a result, they run into jelly fish and Dory is hurt. Every short sighted decision that the older protagonist makes as the Older One, results in getting further from the goal, and hurting the younger person physically or emotionally
This is also called the Mid Point in the rising action. Here, older protagonist is introduced to a new Very positive element that seems like it is going to solve their problem.
Soul: they get to Moonwind. He has the elements set out to put them in their bodies.
Logan: they stay the night with a kind farmer and his family after a car accident, and things seem safe
Finding Nemo: the pelican knows Nemo!
Immediate Very bad consequence
This is the worst thing to happen so far in the story. The thing they thought would help is actually harmful. At this point, usually several bad things happen at once.
Up: muntz is evil and wants to kill the bird Kevin. Russel is upset at Carl
Soul: 22 runs off. Terry catches up to them
Logan: the bad guys catch up to them, Xavier is killed
Temporary escape and achieving the original goal
The protags will manage to get out of immediate danger, but at this point, the younger protagonist realizes they don’t want to go with the plan of the older protagonist any more, they strike out on their own. Meanwhile, the older protagonist finally gets what they wanted
Up: Russel leaves to get Kevin
Brother bear: Koda learns that Kenai killed his mother, and he runs off. Kenai starts up the mountain
Logan: they reach the border and Gabriela goes with the others cross the border
Finding Nemo: Marlin returns to the ocean, thinking his son is dead, and starts home, leaving Dory behind
Older protagonist has what they wanted, but at the cost of their relationship with their new friend. They find this new life meaningless, actually
Soul: joe preforms and is unsatisfied after
Logan: he’s alone now, like he thought he needed to be
Up: Carl gets to Paradise Falls
older protagonist comes to a realization, prompted by a symbolic object previously introduced, and they choose to do the right thing, change their ways, and save the younger protagonist.
Their choice will cost the older protagonist everything, but they will give it willingly for the younger protagonist.
Soul: joe is inspired by 22’s collection of items every time she saw someone ‘jazzing’ and realizes that life isn’t about a ‘thing’ you do, but just living. He was wrong about 22
Brother Bear: kenai fights and sacrifices himself to save koda, who he loves.
Logan: Logan realizes it’s a trap and takes the serum to be stronger so he can save Gabriela, killing himself in the process.
There is a final big fight, but we’re not worried anymore. They are going to win. In the end, loose ends are tied, and the mentor becomes and Actual mentor to the young person
the older protagonist is different from the typical ‘mentor’ archetype in a few ways. The ‘mentor’ is the main character, not the young character. The story cannot go on once the older character is dead So, the mentor doesn’t die to ‘spur on’ the younger character. Like Obi-Wan, for example. Obi-Wan is not a forced mentor character. If he Was, the story would probably have to Start from his point of view, and End at his death, which would somehow fulfill his flaw.
Alright. So yeah, that’s my research on the Forced Mentorship sort of story.
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