But Me, I’m the Catalyst*

…forget that well known hamburger
chain feast on this instead …

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

MacGuffinsLegendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock is said to have coined the term ‘MacGuffin.’ That particular story may be called into question, but there’s no question that Hitchcock made the term, and the concept, popular. So what’s a MacGuffin? It is, as Hitchcock says, nothing. Really, it’s a possibly inconsequential thing that serves as a catalyst for a story’s plot. And it drives the plot because for whatever reason, the plot revolves around it (think, for instance of the One Ring in Lord of the Rings).

Most people think of MacGuffins as film devices, and they certainly are. But we also arguably see them in crime fiction. There are lots of examples in the genre, and space only allows me a few. I’m sure you’ll fill in the gaps though; at least, I hope you will.

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia, the MacGuffin is a photograph. The…

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One comment

  1. Thanks very much for sharing my post. 🙂

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