Sunday, November 2, 2014

Searching for a MacGuffin (NaNoWriMo November 2nd)

A MacGuffin (or McGuffin or maguffin) is "an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.

I usually begin November with a half-formed idea that I will flesh out as I write, but this is the first time I actually wrote that word in my chapter ideas list. There it is, between Chapter 2 (Bebe floats in) and Chapter 4 (City worker goes down into storm coffer to recover MacGuffin, finds bones):

Chapter 3: Icy rainstorm sweeps MacGuffin into drain

So what will be the MacGuffin? I first tossed around the idea that it is a kitten (inspired by the true-life tale of our youngest cat, Pounce). Then I thought it might be a child's toy, or a dog's favorite toy that the owner had been chasing down the gutter before it dropped through the storm drain.

Except then, in true "pantsing" style, the process of actually writing Chapter 2 made it obvious. The MacGuffin will be an Indian artifact, perhaps an arrowhead, discovered by Arthur "Tuck" Gunderson in the region at the base of the Indian Buttes north of town. Since "Bebe" (who floated in for Chapter 2) is involved with a dig at the buttes to uncover a mass grave that predates the town, she will have a hand in discovering that

  1. The artifact existed
  2. Tuck lost it after his accident
  3. It may have something to do with causing his accident...
Or maybe not; I can't plot that far ahead without loosing my "pantser" status.

Total: 4370 words