Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
If you’re a writer, you’ll need to use a MacGuffin now and then.
Spy movies need a microfilm containing the real names and identities of every undercover agent employed by the CIA / GRU / MI-6, with the good guys and bad guys both willing to do whatever it takes to find and destroy that MacGuffin, which the hero happens to pick up by accident in the luggage carousel at O’Hare.
Sci-fi novels need some kind of techno-babble MacGuffin, like a repulsive helix inverter, which can tweak your DNA or whatever and create an army of alien super soldiers.
Fantasy movies need a magical ring that turns you invisible but does nothing about your big hairy feet or the fact you’re the size of a Smurf, or maybe an enchanted vorpal sword of inifinite sharpness that can lop off the head of the invincible Dragon of Instant Fiery Death that killed your father, uncle, grandfather, second cousin, first wife, baby sister and that idiot neighbor kid who used to throw rocks at your horse, so your not overly sad about the dragon having that silly fool for brunch.
Here’s a spiffy MacGuffin generator by Jordan McCollum.
Use it. Then visit her blog and show her some love. That’s how this thing works. Pay it forward.
Here’s two more MacGuffin generators on the SAME PAGE, for sci-fi MacGuffins and silly ones.
(Yes, they spell it wrong, the infidels.)
What is your favorite MacGuffin of all time? And which film, TV show or novel wins the prize for Silliest MacGuffin of All Time?
Let the literary flame wars begin. I believe any random Star Trek episode will have silly and stupid sci-fi MacGuffins like a pressing need to replace every dilithium crystal in warp core of the Enterprise.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.