Just Another Struggling Writer

The lamentations of yet another person struggling to write a novel.

Trope-Day: MacGuffin Super-Person

Happy Trope-Day everyone! I had a lot of fun with last week’s featured trope, Evil Sounds Raspy. It was a good reminder that tropes aren’t these horrible things to avoid in your writing, they should be embraced, subverted, inverted, played straight, and lampshaded. Tropes are a part of writing and pretending otherwise is only going to give you an ulcer.

This week we have another character-centric trope. 

MacGuffin Super-Person

River Tam from Firefly

Unlike last week, this time around we have a trope that is tailor-made for fantasy, science-fiction, and other speculative genres. A MacGuffin Super-Person is the kind of character that puts in double duty as a person and a plot device, a reason for conflict, or just an easy way to drive the plot.

Some famous examples of the MacGuffin Super-Person are Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender, River Tam from Firefly, Ellie from The Last of Us, and – at least in theory – Warlock from Good Omens.

Strictly speaking, the MacGuffin Super-Person is not a “MacGuffin” in the traditional sense. But they are often a character who’s supernatural abilities are what drive their place in the narrative and conflict, rather than their choices or glowing personalities. That is not to say they don’t make decisions that impact the story, but without that first part – the thing that makes them special and thus sought after – they might not be a part of the story at all.

So, how about it fellow writers? Do you have a MacGuffin Super-Person in your story? If so, are you playing it straight or subverting it somehow? Or do you have another idea altogether to make the idea unique. Let me know in the comments.

Until next time! 

Kerry Share

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About Me

Kerry Share’s love for writing started, as it so often does, as a love of reading at an early age. At age 11 she wrote her first short story, a Harry Potter knockoff of dubious quality, and her love for creative expression was born. Throughout her teen years she continued to foster that passion through derivative work, and at 23 she turned her eye to original fiction.

Now in her thirties, having taken a break from creative endeavors to cope with an ever changing life and landscape, she is determined to make her dream of a writing career reality.

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