Thursday, August 9, 2012

Deus Ex Machina

Your character was about to die.  Nay, he should have died, yet he didn't.  A metaphysical force saved him.  The writing world calls this action a deus ex machina.

Deus ex machina is a Latin [1] term meaning "god from the machine", as the action was often performed by an elaborate machine on stage in Greek dramas [2].

In the writing world of today, a deus ex machina does not have to be performed by a god, it can be simply a highly "convenient" happening, such as a previously unintroduced character showing up to save the day and dying on the next page.  There are far more examples to be found.

Using a deus ex machina cheapens your prose.  It is far from recommended.  The alternative is, of course, a properly foreshadowed, or at least completely rational, ending.

No comments:

Post a Comment