5. Don’t give in to the MacGuffin: A pointless plot item

I read a post over at The Write Practice today, and learned about the MacGuffin. It’s a terrible, ugly, sloppy thing that I’ve never known there was a name for. You’ve come across MacGuffins before. I know you have. We all have. 

What is a MacGuffin? 

You know those movies, TV shows, or stories where the plot revolves around a protagonist that is searching for something? And you know when that something isn’t really relevant to the rest of the plot? It could be replaced with another item and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. 

Yeah, that’s a MacGuffin. Don’t fall into that trap. Make sure that if there’s an item a character in your story is seeking out, that character has some real, personal motivation behind their search. Do that, avoid the MacGuffin, and you’ll have a meaningful direction for your plot. Read more about the MacGuffin over at The Write Practice. 

Write on!


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