Extreme Writers Workshops

Learn About Macguffins by Chasing One Yourself

Dirty Harry Wizard
Jul 9, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Sonja Guina on Unsplash

Tired of boring old writers workshops that teach you the theory of literary devices but don’t help you live them? Do you want more from your workshop than sitting around talking to other writers?

Sure, you may have read several articles about Alfred Hitchcock’s concept of Macguffins. You may understand that a Macguffin is an object that drives the plot forward because of its importance to the character. You might also understand that the details about the MacGuffin are not important. Like the suitcase in Pulp Fiction. Or the papers a spy is after. The audience doesn’t know what’s in the suitcase or the papers but they care because the characters do.

A good writer knows that the only way to really understand Macguffins is to chase one themselves. After all, reading about Macguffins might introduce more confusion, especially with quotes like this:

“In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories, it is always the papers.” — Alfred Hitchcock

At the Chase a Macguffin Writers Workshop, you’ll learn first hand what it means to chase a Macguffin. Here’s some of the highlights you can expect in our day-long workshop for writers of all genres.

  • For Fantasy Writers: Writers will meet in the great room and after some light discussion about writing goals, a powerful witch will come in and put a deadly curse on all attending. You’ll learn that in order to counteract the curse, you must obtain a powerful spell book closely guarded by the witch’s coven. Curses vary from workshop to workshop. Some you might expect are perpetual adverb overuse, a screechy-voiced inner editor and a strong tendency to introduce a deux ex machina to solve plot conflicts.
  • For Romance Writers: Fall in love in the morning and watch your lover fall into a mysterious coma as they utter mysterious words about a toy from their childhood. Go on a quest to their old childhood home to sift through their old pogs, Furbies, Beanie Babies and Tamagotchis to find the one that will spark the essence of life in your lover.
  • For Suspense Writers: See a beautiful woman with an ornate necklace that sparks a memory of your dark past. Go on a twisty-turny adventure as you’re pursued by mysterious shadow people who are for some reason also chasing the woman with the ornate necklace.
  • For Comedy Writers: You’ll wake up to realize that not only do you not remember the night before but that one of your fellow writers is missing. You’ll vaguely remember engaging in all kinds of debauchery and go on a zany adventure to find the Macguffin, in this case the missing writer.

Already have a good grasp on Macguffins? Try our Anton Chekhov’s Gun Workshop. Really let Chekhov’s word sink in as you deal with your own Chekhov’s Gun situations. Sure, you already know the famous quote but do you really understand this literary device?

“ If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.” — Anton Chekhov

At the beginning of the session, you’ll be given a stern warning of “Whatever you do, don’t push the red button!” then see how your story unfolds as you work your way up to the climactic moment.

Don’t just settle for the same boring old writers workshops. Who wants to read their work out loud anyway? Avoid the anxiety of hearing the words, “Okay I want everyone to pick a partner and write a scene together,” and really get into your story with our action-packed, real life writers workshops.

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Dirty Harry Wizard

Written by

Alfred Harold Magely (aka Dirty Harry Wizard) transmits 3-minute funnies from the Retro Arcade of the Insane. Keep in touch http://eepurl.com/gxctuL

The Haven

The Haven

A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

Dirty Harry Wizard

Written by

Alfred Harold Magely (aka Dirty Harry Wizard) transmits 3-minute funnies from the Retro Arcade of the Insane. Keep in touch http://eepurl.com/gxctuL

The Haven

The Haven

A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

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