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Warning: McGuffin Bites Leave Scars

My purse post trim

I have this really cool red purse. Only after a while it got some wear and had a few hanging threads. I trimmed those off. Sometimes authors should do the same. Don’t add a detail that begs for answers then forget about it.

Have you ever read a book because of an interesting character from a previous novel? I read this book because of a sidekick character. I was curious why he kept running off and getting into trouble in the first book. I liked the author, the setting, and the relationship sounded interesting, two mutual crushes crashing together. I really looked forward to reading this book. The clincher that put it at the top of my TBR pile was the blurb hinted at why the hero was so broody was family drama, and I was as ready as a detective to open up that closet of bones.

Not far into the story, we get a great description of the hero’s back including a scar. I’m a sucker for wounded heroes, so naturally I’m curious about it. My first thought was he’s either had a kidney transplant or donated one. He was always running off. What if he was sick? Then I thought he was in an accident, and his absentee parents didn’t even visit. There were strong hints at a schism with his parents. Or maybe his famous father was abusive, and he had to hide it to avoid a scandal. This was the most horrific but also fit best with where I thought the story was going. I thought up less dramatic sources for the scar too. The hero liked the outdoors, so maybe it came from a camping trip. I pictured the heroine asking about it and him telling a story about how he narrowly escaped death in the wilderness.

In the end, the hero was moody and angsty because he was eighteen, rich, and bored. I was frustrated that the reason he skipped classes all the time was so mundane. And I still didn’t know how he got the scar. Well, the only logical explanation for me is that it was a McGuffin bite.

Have you ever read a book that had a loose end that you wanted to pick and unravel like a cheap sweater?

Have you ever read a book with what seemed like a minor detail that resolved into a cool plot point?


About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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