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Symphonyofnames
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I'm at a bit of a roadblock with a sci-fi/fantasy thing I'm working on. The main character needs to learn to use his newfound powers (as they often do). I don't want to actually describe the mentoring process; I think that would make for tedious reading, and I'd rather not just throw in a note that says he spent months working at it. Have any of you had this problem, or have ideas? Thanks.

Gordie


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InarticulateBabbler
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Pick a couple of interesting lessons and insert them--with line breaks--into something else. For example, whilke you're concentrating on you antagonist's PoV, interrupt here and there with progressive lessons.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Show the character learning by trial and error, so that the reader can see the limits of the abilities and how difficult or easy a particular action may be.

You could also include competition with the mentor, they could have discussions, you could show the character experiencing epiphanies, and so on.

There are lots of ways to learn, and at least three different ways for most people to experience the learning process (visually--by watching, audially--by listening, and kinesthetically--by moving and doing, usually), that you can use to make each of the lessons you show different from the other lessons.


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TaleSpinner
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OSC's Enders Game did it by showing the games through which the teachers taught. So did Star Wars, with Yoda. In Star Trek they teach fighting skills with competitions in the Holodeck.

I teach adults for a living and they like a variety of different activities--games--best.

Hope this helps,
Pat


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Zero
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quote:
Show the character learning by trial and error, so that the reader can see the limits of the abilities and how difficult or easy a particular action may be.
You could also include competition with the mentor, they could have discussions, you could show the character experiencing epiphanies, and so on.

I completely 100% agree. This is my favorite way to see it done, as a reader.


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Symphonyofnames
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Good ideas, thanks; this helps.
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deebum25
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This reminds me of the infamous line "I know kung fu." No idea if I've been helpful or not.
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Symphonyofnames
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Yeah. Unfortunately, I don't have a world where learning works like that. Could use some training exercises designed to teach specific things though.
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rstegman
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One idea you might do, is have him doing exercises that he does every day, and comment on how hard it was to learn to do something.

One easy way is to have someone who knows what he went through, comment on that.
My brother was teaching himself welding. Each thing he was learning, simply welding, stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, sheet metal, stick welding, mig, tig, were all so difficult to learn, then suddenly became easy. Several times I have commented about how he used to complain about how hard it was to learn at one time. If your character has a friend he talks with over time, the friend would be watching him do his exercises and making a comment now and then about how difficult that was to learn and maybe joke about a few mistakes made. One would not have to go through detailed histories, just a conversation while the exercises are happening. They can even be interspersed through the story, reminding people of how hard what he is doing, really is.

Just a thought.


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