There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Deus Ex Machina in Fantasy fiction June 1, 2013

Filed under: Reading,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 10:03 am
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Hello everyone,

today I’d like to mention a writing device known as the Deus Ex Machina, which happens to be often used in Fantasy fiction.

prince caspian aslan lucy

What is a Deus Ex Machina?

“A Deus Ex Machina is when some new event, character, ability, or object solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. The term is Latin for god from the machine and has its origins in ancient Greek theater. It referred to scenes in which a crane (machina) was used to lower actors or statues playing a god (deus) onto the stage to set things right, often near the end of the play.”

Any examples?

There are many in Fantasy fiction, from Aslan saving the day in every book of The Chronicles of Narnia to the dragons’ magic only working in times of need in Eragon. However, J.R.R. Tolkien is the one who used this device extensively in all his stories. In The Hobbit, Bilbo and the dwarves are saved time and again by the miraculous interventions of Gandalf and the Eagles.

The Hobbit Eagle

The Hobbit Gandalf

What’s wrong with a Deus Ex Machina?

After all, coincidences do happen in real life, and the reader wants the hero to win, doesn’t he? Yes, but the reader is also entitled to a satisfying ending. And a Deus Ex Machina rarely provides it, because the coincidence feels unnatural and lazy. As if the writer couldn’t sort out his own plot, and he resorted to pulling a god out of his hat to save the hero and solve all the plot holes.

So should you include a Deus Ex Machina in your Fantasy novel? Why not. But know what is it and when to use it. Know that it’s a trope readers are acutely aware of and they rarely forgive.

Do you use a Deus Ex Machina in your novel? Does it feel like  you’re taking the easy way out by using it or not? Feel free to leave us a comment below!

And happy writing!

EM Castellan

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2012 Fantasy Round-up! December 31, 2012

Hello Readers!
As all of you know, it is the eve before the New Year. I originally was going to write a post about voice in fantasy, but I got the flu and had to delay my post. Due to this, I’ve decided to do a 2012 Fantasy Round-Up. I was inspired by several posts in which other bloggers tell about their year in writing and I decided to give you the year in Fantasy Writing!

1.) One of the biggest successes of this year for fantasy writers was the success of the Young Adult Epic Fantasy Novel, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Many believed the fantasy genre was a thing of the past, a genre that only appealed to a narrow field of readers. The success of Shadow and Bone disproved this thought and kindle hope in the hearts of fantasy writers everywhere! Congratulations to Leigh Bardugo and cheers to the fantasy genre!

Shadow and Bone

2.) I would be a terrible fantasy writer if I didn’t give a nod to the huge success of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movie this month. The movie has hit record numbers worldwide, bringing in nearly $690 million. This should also give hope to budding fantasy writers, showing there is still a huge market for fantasy if one knows how to tap into it.

The Hobbit

3.) The second season of Game of Thrones outstripped the first season in viewer ratings, raking in at least 4,000 viewers per episodes, 1000 more than the first season on average. The last episode nearly hitting 5,000 viewers, making it one of the most viewed fantasy television programs.

Game-of-Thrones-HBO-

4.) Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass and Rae Carson’s Crown of Embers were both released this year and gained fairly popular reviews.

5.) There were no huge moves in the adult fantasy world, other than the fact G.R.R Martin’s series, A Song of Fire and Ice continues to be one of the most sold books on Kindle. This is notable for us fantasy writers because it shows that there is still a market for fantasy novels out there and people who wouldn’t necessarily read fantasy are picking up new fantasy books.

This is my year round-up! Feel free to add any notable going ons in fantasy in the comments. I would love to discover what you were most excited about!