Once upon a time…
there was a young, proud king in a land of plenty. He ruled his land justly. Every one was happy and prosperous.
But good times never last, do they?
One day, a man came to this land. He was tall, dark and handsome. He walked straight up to the king’s court and said, “I challenge you to a duel! If I lose, I will go away. But if I win…then I become king.”
The king was a proud man. He did not want to look weak. What would his people think of their king? He thought. He agreed.
They fought. It was an epic battle. But the king got distracted, and in one swipe of his sword, the tall, dark and handsome man knocked the king off his feet.
The king had to leave his beloved land and people, shamed and defeated.
He went away to the forest. As he was walking, he reached a hut. Inside, was a man in deep meditation. A hermit. The king sat down and waited for him to open his eyes. When he did, the hermit looked at the king and smiled. When the king saw that smile, he knew. This man would help him. The king poured out his problems to the hermit. The hermit agreed to help the man, but he said it would take 5 years. The king agreed.
The king worked with the hermit for 5 years and the king learnt why he lost that fight, why he got distracted.
After the 5 years was up, the king returned, and challenged the tall, dark and handsome man for a duel. Same conditions.
The new king was arrogant, and agreed with a sneer.
In the fight, the man tried to throw the king off with the same distraction, but it didn’t work. The king countered it, and defeated him.
The people cheered, and our king got back his beloved land and people.
Now that doesn’t seem a very impressive story, does it.
Guess what? That’s the story of basically EVERY story in the world!
The king? The protagonist.
The tall, dark and handsome man? The antagonist.
The hermit? The mentor.
The protagonist and antagonist have a face off. The protagonist loses. He goes away and meets a mentor. They work together and the mentor teaches something decisive to them protagonist. The protagonist comes back and defeats the antagonist.
Lion king. Hamlet. The matrix. Hercules. Star Wars. Take any story you want, and it’ll boil down to the same blueprint.
Tha antagonist doesn’t have to always be a person. It can be alcoholism, it can be a problem that has been posed to the protagonist.
Similarly, the mentor can also be various things.
But the bottom line is, that’s the form that almost every story takes.
So the next time you need to cook something up for your mother, or your boss, or at some party, just fill in the characters and you are ready to go!