CHARACTERS #1 - APPRENTICE CHARACTERS, JEALOUS CHARACTERS, & DITZY CHARACTERS
This is the first of a ten-part series of chapters that have to do with anything and everything character related that I can think of! So buckle in, get ready, and enjoy the chapters to follow.
THE APPRENTICE CHARACTER:
I'm going to start off with one of the more common character archetypes in mostly sci-fi, fantasy, and action stories, the apprentice character. I'm sure you can name a few. Eragon, Luke Skywalker, Daniel LaRusso, etc. Typically underestimated people who turn out to surprise the world.
The reason they are apprentices is because they are typically in the process of being trained by someone older/wiser. Luke is being taught by Yoda and Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi. Eragon by Brom. Daniel by Mr. Miyagi. You get the pattern. The apprentices typically aren't great at whatever they do to begin with...they can excel, of course, but they need that mentor to help them learn. (Of course, it seems like the mentor always dies, doesn't it?)
Since this character has been used so many times and in so many different settings, how can you use it in a way that's interesting and not predictable?
1 - Create a unique setting.
-Easy to say, tough to do. Take a look at Star Wars. The apprentice character worked great three times there (Obi-Wan being trained by Qui-Gon. Anakin being trained by Obi-Wan. Luke being trained by Yoda.). So how did this work? Look at the setting, in space. Now that's something that wasn't a part of the apprentice character setting of Eragon and Karate Kid. Actually, all three of those examples appear in a vastly different setting, and that's why they can work without being compared too closely to each other.
-So don't start off your apprentice charactership with a setting that's been used countless times before, such as a fantasy land similar to Eragon's. Be creative. Maybe it can happen underwater. On an island in the middle of nowhere. Inside a volcano. In a time traveling machine. (Though this could get a little Back-To-The-Future here.)
2 - Use the relationship between the apprentice and master to help plot.
-It doesn't have to all be about the training and preparation for the battle against the dark side. Usually, the apprentices form a bond to their master, and this can help or hinder the cause. They also can find out information about their past, such as Luke did when Obi-Wan helped him out. Obi-Wan trained his father, so he could share information. Or, in Eragon's case (SPOILER), maybe your trainer is your father. Who knows?
3 - Why is this character being trained?
-Do they have a special talent? Are they the chosen one? Did a magical dragon egg appear to them in the forest one day, consequentially sending them off on a quest as a Dragon Rider?
-Typically, the apprentice needs a special talent or intelligence that makes them so special they need training. They don't have to be masters at it (Luke certainly wasn't a master of the Force when he first went to Yoda, but he still had the capability), but the knowledge that they can have the ability is often enough.
4 - They can't always depend on their mentors.
Sad, but true. Sometime or another, they'll eventually have to leave their mentors side, or perhaps their strength grows past what their mentor can teach. So make your character progress, learn through mistakes, and eventually figure out how his talent works.
5 - Lastly, add a certain twist to make it your own.
-Maybe your apprentice doesn't have to be an expert at the sword. Maybe it can be the crossbow. Or a set of throwing knives. Or an axe. Or the Force.
Switch it up, make it your own, and you won't have to worry that your apprentice character is too similar to others in the fictional genre.
YOU ARE READING
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