Story Structure #17: Act I, Stage 4: Meeting with the Mentor

Fuel for the fire…

Meeting with the Mentor, whatever form the Mentor takes, will propel our Hero on into the journey. Stage 4 is about our Hero finding that Mentor, that source of direction and strength. Mentors have great potential to add layers to our story that would not otherwise be present, and help bring out the best in our Heroes. Some tips for our meeting:

Meeting with the Mentor

  • Here our Hero gains supplies, knowledge & confidence to overcome fear and commence the adventure
  • Mentor is a source of wisdom, even if not a character (history, maps, books…)
  • Hero-Mentor relationship is an emotional one
    • Rich in potential humor, involvement, conflict and tragedy
  • Good teacher or mentor is enthused about learning, and their enthusiasm can be transmitted to students or readers (hopefully both!)– they are contagious
  • Be careful of cliché mentors
  • Mentors can be tricky, and bad, leading astray – not all are to be trusted
  • Overprotective mentors can lead to tragedy
  • Mentors can be evolved heroes experienced enough to teach others
  • Mentor is often a brief passing influence
  • Mentors get story unstuck by giving aid, advice, or magical equipment
    • When writers get stuck, they may seek mentors just like heroes do
      • Writers are mentors of kinds to their readers – great responsibility!

The Hero’s Journey is also the Writer’s Journey is also the Human’s Journey. The whole thing is a great metaphor not only for our story, but for our writing careers, and for our lives in general. Life takes on certain patterns, and surprise of all surprises – Our great stories emulate those patterns. If we can utilize our own lives and struggles in our writing, the potency will be ramped up immeasurably. How have our Mentors shaped our paths? Magnify and translate to our stories!


A printable version, for your reference, can be found here: Stage 4: Meeting with the Mentor

To view a chronological listing of the posts in this series, continue below:

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