I have a problem bridging two parts of the book. I need to make a character some kind of hero that has admiration of the country.

In my story, the character is a "wizard". Wizards are meant to be Jedi-like monkish people without loyalties that serve humanity. They do not really have magic powers as the magic is mostly gone. Their only loyalty is "Ivory Tower" that is focused on learning about magic and making sure all people benefit from magic.

This wizard is assign as a liason/embassador/advisor to a kingdom. He's a novelty (this country had a long standing distrust towards "Ivory Tower") but he is admitted to court and becomes friends with young nobility group. Those young people have power and have character and unending loyalty to their country. They agree to advance their kingdom.

The king is killed and a lot of tension surfaces (some older lords decide to move borders, some regions want independence). Young nobility steps up, reunites the kingdom and is successful in modernizing it (parliament, more rights to cities and such).

At a later point this wizard will become a Napoleon-like dictator and such. I have that part mostly figured out.

The problem I am trying to figure out is how to make this (generally liked and considered harmless) outsider in a position where people gradually trust him enough and see him as loyal to them.

I was thinking about him having to risk his life to convince lords to stop a civil war and such, but I can't make this work...

  • 1
    That is, you want us to come up with a story for you? That's off topic on this site. Can you rephrase your question in a way that it doesn't ask us to brainstorm story ideas for you?
    – Ben
    Commented May 21 at 19:50
  • @Ben As the title says, tropes. Tropes are common plot devices in fiction. They are not clichés. This is a legitimate question, there is nothing wrong with using tropes, and nothing wrong with asking about them. Learning about tropes is part of learning to write good fiction.
    – Amadeus
    Commented May 22 at 18:18

3 Answers 3


The problem seems to be that you have two separate partial story ideas that don't match. You need to, as they say, "kill your darlings", that is, the current story, with that plot hole, must go.

There are a few solutions:

  1. Discard one of the two parts and develop a complete story from the other. Either take the beginning part with the wizard and see where it actually leads you if you allow it to develop naturally from its internal logic, without having a preconceived idea where that story must end. Or take the ending part with the tyrant and try to discover where it naturally began, without having decided that beginning beforehand.
  2. Discard the wizard-turns-tyrant character and develop him and his arc anew. What kind of person does he have to be and what has to happen to him to make him turn from a scholar to a tyrant? Then develop the story and the other characters from the demands of that character arc.

Try making your associations stronger.

becomes friends with young nobility group.

This seems too "loose". Specifically, suppose the king, instead of treating the wizard like a novelty, sees him as an asset, and assigns the wizard to teach his son, the prince.

The wizard accepts this position. Because the king is busy, he spends little time with his son, and the wizard becomes more than a teacher to the prince, a psychologist and counselor, a strategic advisor, a surrogate loving father.

Because of the close relationship with the prince, the wizard becomes friends with the other princes -- everybody likes a few good magic tricks. The wizard advises them, too, on romance, on drinking, whatever.

But when the King is killed, and the prince has new duties, he relies heavily on the wizard. Now it isn't just fun and games, the magic is serious, and possibly deadly. The wizard advises the new King on strategy, to defeat the forces against the kingdom, to unite the other royals, to succeed in a campaign.

The new King gives the wizard actual power, to command the other royals in his name, but the wizard always does this in a friendly, collegial manner. The other royals all know the situation, but are fine as they see the wizard as a friend and asset. So when the new King is assassinated, it is a small step for the wizard to take "temporary" leadership, but the other royals will not cede the kingdom to one of their own, they'd rather be equals under the "temporary" leadership of the wizard. Until the wizard has amassed enough power that none of them could depose him if they tried.

Your story is your story; this is just an example. I think you are trying to stay too "general" and uncommitted in your relationships.

You need strong relationship bonds to justify what you want. The wizard isn't just a buddy of the prince, or the young royals. He's the loving father they do not have. The prince loves and respects and trusts the wizard with his life, that is why he gives the wizard power. The other young royals feel much the same, the wizard entertains, his advice improves their relationships with their demanding fathers, he teaches them to hide their mistakes, to mask their drunkenness, to woo girls.

Build stronger emotional bonds.

  • 1
    Do not write OP's story for them! That is off topic for a good reason. When you provide OP with a solution to their problem like that, you don't teach them how to solve a similar problem for themselves the next time. So instead of helping OP to become a better writer, you are blocking their development and keeping them a bad writer.
    – Ben
    Commented May 22 at 7:02
  • 1
    @ben He asked for tropes, these are tropes. A bog standard approach; emotional infiltration as a surrogate father. Think The Karate Kid: Daniel has no father, he gets bullied, Mr. Miyagi trains him in Karate and becomes his surrogate father, Daniel faces his bullies in the championship competition and prevails. Father and son rejoice, victorious.I'm not writing his story, I'm outlining a best-selling trope. And a rule for others: It takes strong relationship bonds to justify extreme relationship adults. And I'm doing it in tiny story form, so beginning writers will read it.
    – Amadeus
    Commented May 22 at 10:45

No Such Thing As Loyalty

I think OP has been "trapped" by thinking in terms of character's emotions. (Loyalty, admiration, trust, etc.)

When I feel trapped, I try to change my perspective to find a new way to what I want.

In this case, I'd change perspective to think in terms of power.

[Wizard's] only loyalty is to the "Ivory Tower."


Wizard's receive power - in the form of resources, access to senior Nobles, and Magical training - from the Tower, in return for extending the Tower's influence (power) by guiding senior Nobles towards the decisions that the Tower wants, and by spying on the Nobles for the Tower.

Which obviously raises the question of why the Nobles would bother interacting with the wizards. The answer, of course, is that the wizards must provide power to the Nobles!

What is Normal? How can you Change Normal?

So decide how the wizards provide a benefit to the King. He allows long distance communications, or predicts where natural disasters will occur, or whatever.

And decide what benefits the wizard could provide to the King, but does not. Maybe they won't use their Jedi mind tricks to bully the Baron's into accepting the King's new plan for [X] because mind manipulation is unethical.

Now come up with a reason why the wizard breaks the rules on behalf of the young Nobles. The wizard uses his power in a way that they normally would not, and without any obvious expectation of something in return.

Sometimes, just sometimes, people use power and don't expect a return on their investment. We often call that friendship.

Make the world a cold, calculating, transactional place, and then give the Wizard an excuse to be warm and selfless, just once, to the right person.

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