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The point of tropes is to understand your writing, how it belongs in the cultural medium, and how no idea is ever original.

A MacGuffing, going to call it maguffin for the rest of the answer,Having a MacGuffin is not something you wanta good thing. It's A MacGuffin is a trap, a shorthand an author uses to make his characters do things. The best maguffinMacGuffin is one that does not exist.

Characters need motivation, and an easy one becomes get a magic sword because only it can kill the dragon, or get a nuke away from Dr X because otherwise he will blow up the Nun convention.

  Now you can send your heroes on crazy adventures for really no reason. Their actions and motivations don't have to matter. The dragon must be slayedslain, and the Nuns must be saved, and we will go to every dark cave and strip bar necessary to do it!

So the question should not be "How do I not write a maguffin, andMacGuffin?" but instead "How do I create interesting plot points"points?"

If you foundstill find yourself in a situation where the only way you can make the plot move forward is to make the characters chase some object here are some suggestions.

Make it tangible. The anime hero that is looking for the greatest X of all as he travels episode by episode time is the worst use of this trope.

Let the character get it or not get it before the last 10 pages of the book. Have it be a real thing that affects the story, and does not just tie off a neat bow. "And then we grabbed the magic stone and wished for the lich to be dead, the end" is not great story telling. :

And most importunately give characters other motivations. Just getting the maguffin is not enough. They should have more personal desires, and all of it should be a puzzle that fits together. The chase for an object can be a catalyst, or something that unfolds in the background, but not the only reason the protagonist gets up in the morning.

  • Make it tangible. Don't let it be like the anime hero that is looking for the Greatest X of All Time as he travels episode by episode.

  • Let the character get it (or not get it) before the last 10 pages of the book.

  • Have it be a real thing that affects the story, and does not just tie off a neat bow. "And then we grabbed the magic stone and wished for the lich to be dead, The End" is not great story telling.

  • Most importantly give your characters other motivations. Just getting the MacGuffin is not enough. They should have more personal desires, and all of it should be a puzzle that fits together. The chase for an object can be a catalyst, or something that unfolds in the background, but not the only reason the protagonist gets up in the morning.

The point of tropes is to understand your writing, how it belongs in the cultural medium, and how no idea is ever original.

A MacGuffing, going to call it maguffin for the rest of the answer, is not something you want. It's a trap, a shorthand an author uses to make his characters do things. The best maguffin is one that does not exist.

Characters need motivation, and an easy one becomes get magic sword because only it can kill the dragon, or get nuke from Dr X because otherwise he will blow up the Nun convention.

  Now you can send your heroes on crazy adventures for really no reason. Their actions and motivations don't have to matter. The dragon must be slayed, and the Nuns must be saved, and we will go to every dark cave and strip bar to do it!

So the question should be "How do I not write a maguffin, and instead create interesting plot points"

If you found yourself in a situation where the only way you can make the plot move forward is to make the characters chase some object here are some suggestions.

Make it tangible. The anime hero that is looking for the greatest X of all as he travels episode by episode time is the worst use of this trope.

Let the character get it or not get it before the last 10 pages of the book. Have it be a real thing that affects the story, and does not just tie off a neat bow. "And then we grabbed the magic stone and wished for the lich to be dead, the end" is not great story telling.

And most importunately give characters other motivations. Just getting the maguffin is not enough. They should have more personal desires, and all of it should be a puzzle that fits together. The chase for an object can be a catalyst, or something that unfolds in the background, but not the only reason the protagonist gets up in the morning.

Having a MacGuffin is not a good thing. A MacGuffin is a trap, a shorthand an author uses to make his characters do things. The best MacGuffin is one that does not exist.

Characters need motivation, and an easy one becomes get a magic sword because only it can kill the dragon, or get a nuke away from Dr X because otherwise he will blow up the Nun convention. Now you can send your heroes on crazy adventures for really no reason. Their actions and motivations don't have to matter. The dragon must be slain, and the Nuns must be saved, and we will go to every dark cave and strip bar necessary to do it!

So the question should not be "How do I write a MacGuffin?" but instead "How do I create interesting plot points?"

If you still find yourself in a situation where the only way you can make the plot move forward is to make the characters chase some object here are some suggestions:

  • Make it tangible. Don't let it be like the anime hero that is looking for the Greatest X of All Time as he travels episode by episode.

  • Let the character get it (or not get it) before the last 10 pages of the book.

  • Have it be a real thing that affects the story, and does not just tie off a neat bow. "And then we grabbed the magic stone and wished for the lich to be dead, The End" is not great story telling.

  • Most importantly give your characters other motivations. Just getting the MacGuffin is not enough. They should have more personal desires, and all of it should be a puzzle that fits together. The chase for an object can be a catalyst, or something that unfolds in the background, but not the only reason the protagonist gets up in the morning.

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source | link

The point of tropes is to understand your writing, how it belongs in the cultural medium, and how no idea is ever original.

A MacGuffing, going to call it maguffin for the rest of the answer, is not something you want. It's a trap, a shorthand an author uses to make his characters do things. The best maguffin is one that does not exist.

Characters need motivation, and an easy one becomes get magic sword because only it can kill the dragon, or get nuke from Dr X because otherwise he will blow up the Nun convention.

Now you can send your heroes on crazy adventures for really no reason. Their actions and motivations don't have to matter. The dragon must be slayed, and the Nuns must be saved, and we will go to every dark cave and strip bar to do it!

So the question should be "How do I not write a maguffin, and instead create interesting plot points"

If you found yourself in a situation where the only way you can make the plot move forward is to make the characters chase some object here are some suggestions.

Make it tangible. The anime hero that is looking for the greatest X of all as he travels episode by episode time is the worst use of this trope.

Let the character get it or not get it before the last 10 pages of the book. Have it be a real thing that affects the story, and does not just tie off a neat bow. "And then we grabbed the magic stone and wished for the lich to be dead, the end" is not great story telling.

And most importunately give characters other motivations. Just getting the maguffin is not enough. They should have more personal desires, and all of it should be a puzzle that fits together. The chase for an object can be a catalyst, or something that unfolds in the background, but not the only reason the protagonist gets up in the morning.