New answers tagged

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You only have to bring up racism if it is one of the themes in your story. If it isn't a theme, then your better off not including it. People read fiction to escape into a dream world (not necessarily a picture-perfect world) a world that does not exist, but could exist. I know if I wanted to read about being treated bad I'd just go outside and walk down the ...


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This is certainly not hard science-fiction, but relatively few books/stories actually are. Most work will still be considered science-fiction as long as it's science-themed, rather than fantasy-themed. Genre itself is not an exact science --it's a way of connecting a writer with their most probable audience. If you think that this story would connect better ...


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I think you should try to consider all of your options. You're trying to provide extra layers to make the plot more interesting, and romance is a way to do that (though you shouldn't feel obligated to have one just because of the genre) But it isn't the only way. You could avoid the issue of romantic inexperience if you instead chose to spice up your story ...


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Science Fantasy: I think your genre falls into a rather mushy category know as science fantasy. Sometimes this is called "soft" sci fi. While this relies on a scientific basis for the story, elements either do not conform to conventional science or have additional fantastic elements not reflective of science. A publisher might have a different ...


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To find out if your novel is sci-fi vs. fantasy, we must establish the rules of the world your characters live in (even when the story has multiple worlds). If the rules/laws of the world are founded in mystical objects not created by man himself but by a higher being (can be evil, holy, good, bad, both, etc...), then your main genre is fantasy. If the ...


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My advice purely as a reader, unless you plan on exploring a love triangle in an in-depth, nuanced and mature way (not from a superficial "Becky the high school popular girl has feelings for Brett but Brett's dating Brenda" perspective), then no. Do not explore a love triangle. They are hackneyed, melodramatic, overused, and nearly always poorly ...


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My advice: explore ways that this subplot could contribute to the existing, main, central plot of the storyline. If this love-triangle subplot will strengthen the main plot, add it in! But don't add it just for "extra plot". It will distract and make the whole story weaker. Specifically, consider how this subplot will affect your protagonist's ...


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Don't worry about your lack of experience in that area You're saying that this is a YA book, so presumably, your characters are not really all that old. Which - on the one hand - means that your lack of experience and awkwardness might actually be a lot more fitting than you might imagine, but also that it is very unlikely that your book will become more ...


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Writing SE often gets a lot of questions in this vein: "Should I include [thing] in my story, since so many other books in my genre have it?" "I don't feel super comfortable writing [thing] but I feel obligated to write it, should I?" "Will readers expect [thing] in my story and be disappointed if it's not there?" The answer ...


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I don't see any problems with your solutions 2 and 4. This is exactly how it works in real life: there's tons of people out there that are smarter, stronger, have command of more people or even entire armies than you, but they don't jump in to solve each and every problem. You don't see President or Supreme Commander at each and every crime scene or standoff....


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Obi Wan and Yoda are archetypal examples of the "spiritual guide" - the knowledgeable elder used as a device to reveal wisdom to the protagonist (and the reader) as the story progresses. In Star Wars, the reason these characters don't simply fight all Luke's battles for him, is that even they are not powerful enough to defeat the enemy. It turns ...


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Mentor Teaches Through Their Writings This might be too different from what you already had planned, but if you can make do without character interactions, the student could be learning by reading a book written by their mentor. I'm thinking loosely of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, where some of the main characters are often quoting a book they've ...


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The Dresden Files may offer a few solutions (though the protagonist's mentor isn't introduced to the reader until book 4). The Mentor isn't around As in the OP, sometimes the mentor just isn't there. They have their own life and pursuits to deal with and don't have time to hold the protagonist's hand. Or the Conflict is acute enough that there isn't enough ...


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I want to propose another idea: The hero and the mentor are both on the same side, same page, both capable. But there comes a threat, a problem, that both cannot solve. Not alone, not together. It's time. It's time to be the hero, someone has to save the day. It's time to transcend, to get to a new state of being. The hero becomes greater than their mentor. ...


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The mentor gave their power to the protagonist. The mentor is old and wants to retire in a time of peace, and transfers his powers to a new hero whenever there's a break between crises.


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The protagonist outgrows the mentor The mentor can be great, but it doesn't mean the protagonist cannot become even better. This was the case with Obi Wan and Luke, just that Obi Wan didn't live to see it (but he did see it in the force-ghost form;) Another example is Morpheus and Neo. In the beginning Morpheus is more experienced and capable than Neo (even ...


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Your Mentor Is Not As Powerful As He Once Was Mentor characters are meant to teach the main character some important skill - that doesn't mean they themselves have to be all that powerful - age wracks us all and forces us into retirement, and a good mentor character can guide the new hero into their role, even when they aren't themselves doing the same work. ...


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Some of the greatest people in history have been brought low by some adversity and been unable to rise back up to previous glory. Crippling depression for the mentor might be the answer for this situation. If you are struggling to get out of bed and shower you may not be a reliable force for good. In a good dramatic story this could be triggered by being ...


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Have you read Worm yet? Seriously, don't even attempt to write superheroes until you have. Wildbow does have his flaws (a tendency to throw in action sequences without much purpose) but how his characters use their powers is very interesting. The dynamics between the superheroes in particular is what you're looking for. Many of the characters are ...


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You have many options for why your mentor could not act instead of the main progaonist. They are mentoring Ultimate risk to the univerise is not so bad that if the protagonist fails it is a big enough deal that it is not worth the reward of developing the protagonist. Like a good manager of a big company they know that delegationw will grow the capacity of ...


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One important thing to add amidst all the good answers: Do not forget to let the mentor solve a few problems to show their power. While you learn about all the great ways to keep him out of the picture in an organic way, keep up the suspense by having him solve some problems. If the mentor is always out of the picture, he is alive in name only for the story. ...


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The mentor trusts the protagonist One man cannot take on the world alone, not even this superhuman mentor. They have been training up apprentices to help them out, to stand as additional bastions of goodness against a cruel world. Part of this is allowing them to act on their own. Oh, the mentor is keeping an eye on things, checking in periodically — and ...


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Politics The countries of the world is scared of Mentor. He has to step very lightly to avoid starting a world war. Countries other than the US think of him as a nuclear weapon controlled by the US and will retaliate with nukes if he does anything against them. The US itself think of him as a nuclear weapon they don't control. A potential terrorist. Sixty ...


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They say never meet your hero... As you say the character can be flawed and perhaps these flaws take over. You say he is the leader of a group then there is probably an enemy group with budding ideologies...but maybe the Mentor isn't so different from the opposition as your main character thought. For example, if the main character were part of a freedom ...


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I think having a OP mentor is a material for a story that center around character relationship.. Have the mentor being OP, but make the mentor also overly protective, so this way the battle will have no tension because the MC is always being protected by OP Mentor. But you can build tension between MC and OP Mentor instead, just imagine how would you feel if ...


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Your Mentor is disabled, or Aging, or suffering an identity crisis, or... You can continue to keep your superhero mentor "in the game," so to speak, but reduce his capacities through whatever means you choose. Professor Xavier has OP abilities, but has suffered disabilities that mean he's not up to being the front-line slugger he otherwise could be....


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Three ideas that may serve to make your world a bit harsher: Your protagonist and their mentor aren't always on the same side Maybe the mentor's been given incomplete information. Maybe there's a genuine difference of opinions regarding how to handle a morally grey situation. Maybe whatever's going on touches on a past trauma of theirs that they are really ...


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Your protagonist is not the only iron the mentor has in the fire In Avatar, the Last Airbender, Uncle Iroh is a powerful and interesting mentor character (with his own complex arc). He has his role of providing advice for Toph, and maybe a little for Aang - but he's primarily the mentor for the show's first antagonist. He's interested in seeing the Avatar ...


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If this is just a single paper holding your incantation, I would call it a scroll. A collection of scrolls could be then joined into a spell book or, if written as a single work, a Grimoire as noted by Chenmunka.


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Fantasy Junkie: Okay, this isn't a writing answer as much as a fantasy/D&D geek answer. This is only a sampling, and looking up synonyms should get you more. Fantasy literature is rich with this stuff, as are games like D&D. just start digging and there's no end to the material. A lot of religious terminology can be applied to magical writing, so ...


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"Runes" such as the Elder Futhark are alphabets which we tend to think of as used for magic, although that wasn't their only purpose. "Rune" has been used more generically of late. But that is an alphabet or set of symbols - but it sounds like you are looking for a term for the act of writing? Like "inscribing"? I second @...


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To answer your main question. A book containing spells and rituals is a Grimoire. The term is widely used in modern Wicca and other areas.


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I think the better question is "what is culture?". The norms, songs, literature, food, clothing, forms of government, and philosophy of a people stem from their common history, their environment, and their struggles. At the inception of any given collection of people, there is no culture, unless they, as a nation, are derived from a previous, ...


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An Example Robert Jordan's best-selling Wheel of Time series is full of different cultures. The best explored of these are the Aiel who mostly have blue, grey or green eyes and usually have red hair. They have very distinctive cultural beliefs and practices. Physically, Aiel can be recognized through their unusual height, characteristic pale eyes and light-...


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Well, people have been borrowing ideas from other cultures since time immemorial. And I, for one, disagree with using people's contemporary anxieties about race to disregard a totally benign and healthy process. So, in my opinion, there's really no such thing as cultural appropriation. Assuming you partly or wholly agree, the question then arises: how best ...


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You probably cannot, but since the idea of "Cultural Appropriation" is absurd and a complete misunderstanding of how knowledge and culture flows across humanity then just ignore anyone who accuses you of it.


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I really liked what a user called Antiteilchen said in this tvtropes discussion: Don't mystify or vilify them and make the people diverse and not all the same. Don't define them solely by what makes them different from the main culture but define them on their own. That advice applies to every culture or group actually. I would add "which main culture?...


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You are a writer, no one has to assume you are just a regular, plain white guy. Just write under a pseudonym and maybe choose a very cultural ambiguous name. This way your readers are far less likely to run into nasty assumptions about you or your novel.


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Hire a sensitivity reader as a consultant. An increasingly popular option that certain businesses in creative industries have taken is hiring consultants from the culture they're depicting as sensitivity readers, who can inform them if they're indulging in harmful stereotypes. This might be quite expensive, depending on the scale of the project you're ...


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