Deus Ex Machina
by Adam Huddleston
The next literary term I would like to discuss is “deus ex machina”. It is a Latin phrase which means “god from the machine”. While it may sound like an interesting plot device to use, it is actually something which should be avoided.
“Deus ex machina” occurs when a difficult problem in the plot gets suddenly solved by an external source that had yet to be introduced into the story. It’s basically a “cop-out”. The term originated from ancient Greek plays when a crane (the machine) would bring an actor (playing a god) onto the stage to aid in the climax of the story.
It is still used when an author writes themselves into a corner and can’t find a way out. Some writers are able to use it for comedic effect, but for the most part, it is a good idea to imbed the conflict’s resolution earlier in the story.