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Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:29 pm
deleted6 says...

You ever been reading a story. Say YA. When all a sudden something totally random and unexpected happens. That inexplicably gets the Heroes out of trouble no matter what. One thought enters you're head.


Yeh, this my friends is a trick called Deus Ex Machina If you used sparely it can be unnotiable. Literal translation of this is Ghost Within the Machine. Deriving meaning in writing of something totally off the wall happening all a sudden like. They're also known as McGuffin due to a steven king story. Where a guy meets one on the train with a cage that keep rattling. When the guy asks what it is. The one holding the cage says it's 'a McGuffin'. Here's a scenario

Carlos eyed the guns. He was trapped by a large imposing wall one side. And Lanny gang. Swearing angrily he cursed his snitching nature. It was pitch black other than glares he received from gang.

Suddenly Carlos remembered his power of teleportation. he used it and escaped.

Okay that's badly written point is here we have a boy living in a like a Ghetto area and just as he's in danger we learn conveniently he can teleport.

Now famous ones:

In the Edgar Allan Poe story The Pit and the Pendulum, the unnamed narrator has just been pushed over the edge of the bottomless pit when he reaches up and grabs the arm of the general who has led the French army to seize the fortress where the narrator has been imprisoned.

In Stephen King's novel The Stand, a minor character who has gone insane in the desert returns to Las Vegas with an atomic bomb, which is set off by an electrical charge taking the shape of a hand and destroying the city. The characters in Boulder believe the charge to have been the "Hand of God." Many of King's novels have a "deus ex" ending. In the Peter Straub/Stephen King novel The Talisman, one of the characters is said to be driving a Deus ex machina.

In The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, an alien artifact known as "the Sleeping God" is used to solve a problem which over 3000 pages have been working through, in less than 5 minutes (or an hour, in the "Tinkerbell/Ketton" events).

Even in Harry Potter

The first, second, and fourth Harry Potter novels all end with Deus Ex Machina. In the 1st novel Harry's Mother's sacrifice saves him from Quirrel. In the 2nd book Fawkes comes out of nowhere to rescue Harry and in the 4th book, priori incantatem saves Harry from Voldemort.

Films too.
In The Wizard of Oz, just before Dorothy and her companions reach the Emerald City, the Wicked Witch of the West produces a giant field of poppies that puts Dorothy, Toto and the Cowardly Lion to sleep. The Scarecrow and the Tinman cry for help, and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, produces a snow shower that wakes everyone up.

So in some cases it can work. Even more famous is it in LOTRs

The Eagles coming to rescue at the end of Return of the King. It works but it's still something to that helps them perfectly in that situation.

Though best advice I can give is if you use it. Don't go nuts. Once or twice okay. But multiply times not smart. It'd be best to just not use it.

Good luck
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Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:34 pm
GryphonFledgling says...

Hmmm, interesting examples.

This article seemed a little lacking. Why not explain the dangers of the "Deus Ex Machina"? Talk about why it is not exactly a good idea to use it and why. I mean, reading the Harry Potter books and running across those instances that you mentioned drove me buggy! There were quite a few other smaller DEMs in those books and they kind of ruined the enjoyment of the story a bit, that Harry would be saved no matter what. *sigh*

But multiply times not smart.
I think you mean multiple.

But this was neat. I like the research you did to come up with the examples, and yet keep them within the realm of the average reader's experiences.

*thumbs up*

I am reminded of the babe by you.

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Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:07 am
Master_Yoda says...

Yo Vern

This was actually a pretty awesome article to read. It was informing and well written.

Like Fledge, though, I felt that you could have spent a little more time explaining what effect they have on the reader. I also would have liked to see a portion on how to make a Deus Ex Machina look less like a Deus Ex Machina, and how to make it look almost expected and not like such a shock.

Have a great one! :)

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