(Don’t) Deus Ex Machina

Note: The following catastrophes were fabricated for this post. Don’t ask me who inspired them because my lips are sealed.


I bought your book, I’m eager to read! You’ve sold me the (currently) impossible, I’ve gobbled up the improbable…please don’t insult me by trying to sell me the ridiculous. (Unless you’re writing for comedic effect.)

Faster than light interstellar travel? AWESOME! Time travel? You bet! Zombies? Well, all right; why not? Joe Character just broke his leg and now has to walk home forty miles across a burnt out, apocalyptic, urban wasteland? And does?

Uh huh.

Then we come to the God in the Machine. Joe Character is lost in space; out of interstellar shipping lanes, alone and drifting with no power and no hope for the future. Along comes Jane Character out of nowhere just in time to save the day! Please. I can’t even begin to calculate the odds! The average distance between stars in our galaxy is about 4 light years. That makes our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, dead average  in terms of distance (4.2 light years, if you’re keeping score) but that’s still 4.2(5.87849981 × 1012) miles.   I can’t even write that out—I lose track of the zeros. How likely is it you’re going to bump into someone?

I can't seem to find my car.

I can’t seem to find my car.

These problems are generally easy to avoid. Sprain Joe’s ankle. Drop him in a shipping lane. The problem with using a ridiculous plot device is that it makes your story weak, and worse, insults your reader’s intelligence. (Khan’s Blood, anyone?)

The lifeblood of independent writers is the reader review. By insulting your reader’s intelligence you are at best, getting no review at all, and at worst, sticking yourself forever with a one or two star review.  If you’ve only got a handful of reviews to start with, one single one star review can drive off potential readers. There’s no foolproof way to avoid negative reviews, but assuming your reader is a fool is a sure way to get them.


From Ellen’s Book List

I really enjoyed this. This is a great comedic space opera rife with alien abduction, galactic criminals, and a hapless human who just wants to go home. It’s the first in a series, (the second is great, too) and it’s only $0.99 for a full length novel.  If you read it, don’t forget to review it!


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