In my previous post I told of how I first started thinking about my major story, Gods Among Men.
One day I was having a daydream in which I envisioned a dwarf, dressed in armor, carrying a war-axe, creeping through an overgrown forest. Any player of role-playing games can see where this goes. The dwarf is part of a diverse party, there are monsters nearby and a fierce battle ensues. The party’s wizard is isolated, trapped by an Orc warrior, with no hope of escaping. In desperation he reaches into his satchel and…pulls out a .44 Magnum Revolver and shoots the Orc.
Nothing now remains of that original daydream except for the wizard’s satchel. Not the dwarf, orc, wizard, or gun, just the satchel that the gun came from.
Why the satchel? Without going into details of my plot and mythology or the strange path I took in developing both, making the satchel magical made other problems easier to solve. Giving it special properties with well-defined behaviors made plot twists possible that would have been difficult otherwise. The more important and powerful I made the satchel the easier it became for me to write the story.
Of course, once the satchel became a powerful magical item, it became valuable to the characters. Who has it at any given moment becomes important. If the hero loses the satchel, or the wrong person seizes it, that event creates dramatic tension.
Over many years that satchel became the focus of much of the action in Gods Among Men, became the glue that tied the various plot threads together. It went from a minor detail of a daydream to the item characters fight for, betray each other for, steal for, kill for, and die for.
That satchel became my MacGuffin.