S7E5 – MacGuffins

Across all forms of story, you can find similarities and themes. Plots have recognizable structures, main characters almost always fight for good in some way, and there is usually a change in status quo. Sometimes, though, those themes transform into tropes, whether good or bad. Tropes are devices or elements used in story-telling that become recognizable through their consistent use. Like any other literary device, tropes are tools. They are not inherently bad, nor inherently good. We are taking this month to talk about some of the more common tropes, what they are, how they can be used correctly, and why you should be aware they exist.

Have you ever read a story and found both the good guys and bad guys are pursuing an object which seems to have no actual value or worth in the end? In the world of tropes, that object would be known as a MacGuffin. It’s there just to get things going, but serves no other function. This episode focuses on the uses of this trope and how to make an object trigger a plot and serve a deeper function.

First aired February 17, 2020.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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