changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Deus Ex Machina

 

Disciplines > StorytellingStory Devices > Deus Ex Machina

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Use magical or improbable devices to 'save the day'. Particularly if you have painted the hero into a corner by throwing all kinds of problems at them.

More generally, it can be used to describe anything that defies the internal logic of the story and where some suspension of disbelief is challenged. This can include a change in the storyline as a person realizes they are seeking the wrong goal and hence changes direction.

Example

Star Trek uses assorted futuristic devices to get over production and physical problems, from transporters that save having to have more space ships (and get people out of dire trouble) to 'inertial dampers' that solve the problem of people falling over when the ship accelerates.

The hero is cornered but finds a trapdoor that leads to a tunnel by which they can escape.

The 80s soap 'Dallas' famously brought Bobby back from the dead by making several years of the show just a dream.

Discussion

The term 'deus ex machina' mean 'god from the machine' and is a Latin translation of the Greek trick of lowering an actor playing a god on a mechanism down onto the stage to resolve a tricky situation.

The use of this device can be a result of poor storytelling, although the real success or failure depends on the reaction of an audience -- and it can be surprising what they will believe, particularly if you have drawn them in such that they desperately do not want their suspension of disbelief to be spoiled.

See also

Magical computers, Suspension of disbelief

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

| Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

| Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Links | Help |

| Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

| Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
Brand management
* Change Management
Coaching
+ Communication
Counseling
+ Game Design
+ Human Resources
+ Job-finding
* Leadership
+ Marketing
Politics
+ Propaganda
+ Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
Sociology
+ Storytelling
+ Teaching
* Warfare
Workplace design

Techniques

+ Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
+ Conversation
Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
+ Happiness
+ Hypnotism
+ Interrogation
* Language
+ Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
+ Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
+ Questioning
+ Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
+ Self-development
+ Sequential requests
Stress Management
* Tipping
Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

+ Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
+ Beliefs
* Brain stuff
Conditioning
+ Coping Mechanisms
+ Critical Theory
+ Culture
+ Decisions
* Emotions
+ Evolution
Gender
+ Games
Groups
+ Identity
+ Learning
+ Meaning
Memory
+ Motivation
+ Models
* Needs
+ Personality
+ Power
* Preferences
+ Research
+ Relationships
+ SIFT Model
+ Social Research
Stress
+ Trust
+ Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

- About
- Guest Articles
- Blog!
- Books
- Changes
- Contact
- Guestbook
- Links
- Quotes
- Students
- Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

Changing Minds 2002-2014
Massive Content -- Maximum Speed