Friday, May 17, 2013
The Egg Salad Recipe
In every Hitchcock movie there would be some "thang" that the good guys had and the bad guys wanted, or vice-versa. And I'm not just talking about Hitchcock.
If it is a spy story, it could be a roll of microfilm of the plans to the top-secret Bruce-Partington submarine. If it is a detective story, it could be the key piece of evidence--perhaps a notebook--that would prove the bad guy's guilt. If it is a comedy, it could be Gussie Fink-Nottle's book wherein he lampoons serious adults.
If you write a story with a McGuffin in it, I suggest you think back to as many stories as you can remember, identifying the McGuffin in each. Then make sure you come up with a McGuffin that is somethng different. This is tricky because other stories have used the obvious ones--including egg salad.
If you are really stumped, consider changing your story into something wildly different with a wildly different McGuffin--like a bee hive. As a writing exercise, why not use a random noun generator and imagine a story with the noun as its McGuffin.
I just got "banjo."
A man is found murdered, garroted with a thin steel wire. Upon forensic analysis, it is a banjo string. The detective learns a Dixie-Land band was touring the area, but is evading him because of some lesser criminality. Detective tracks down a banjo with one new string that is owned by famous musician Redford Herring. His rival has a banjo with three new strings and the detective realizes the rival has swapped one old strings with Red's banjo...
Go ahead and try a few yourself.