S7E6 – Deus Ex Machina

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.

Writing a great ending is a challenge. Authors spend the whole book making sure the protagonist faces problems they can’t overcome. But the good guy is supposed to win in the end, right? That’s where a Deus Ex Machina comes in: an easy way out of a tough corner that is guaranteed to frustrate the reader. It’s a trope that, in many opinions, should never be used. This episode discusses why, and how to avoid needing the machinery of the gods in the first place.

First aired February 20, 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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