Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday - Patrons

The term "patron" can have any sort of nuance, depending on the context you use it in. In American politics, the patronage system is an old system of political bribery. More recently, Patreon has given the term a more positive connotation by allowing "patrons" to give small donations to up-and-coming artists.

Imagine a setting where one must have a patron to achieve a certain goal. Maybe your character has to have a patron to pay tuition to a certain school, or has to find a politically powerful person to grant permission to pursue a certain trade or field. Such a concept may sound dystopian or exclusive to sci-fi and fantasy settings, but maybe it doesn't have to be! Maybe the patron is simply someone who screens candidates for admission to something.

Would such a patron expect something in return - perhaps protection, or political loyalty? Are those expectations explicit, or merely understood as part of tradition? How does the rest of the world view this system of patronage? Maybe people who take advantage of it are viewed with disdain, or maybe they're more commonly viewed with admiration.

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