There are few writing tropes as controversial as the MacGuffin. Some think it’s a second-rate prop for bad writing. Others see it as a solid literary device that efficiently builds plot momentum. The truth is, both opinions are right. The difference lies in whether the MacGuffin used in the story is weak or strong.

It’s easy to create a weak MacGuffin, but it’s even easier to write a strong MacGuffin that’ll add excitement and movement to your next novel, screenplay, short story, or video game script. Let’s find out how to do it.

What is a MacGuffin?