There are also narrative techniques that can help storytellers avoid poor storytelling. These are techniques that may be used effectively on rare occasions but are usually hallmarks of weak plot points and amateur storytelling. Deus ex machina is a narrative technique in which characters are saved from a hopeless situation by a surprise character or unlikely event. Deus ex machina often pulls from the supernatural, such as when a god or magical creature saves a character, especially when this supernatural being has never been mentioned before in the story. In The Lord of the Rings , a Great Eagle conveniently shows up and rescues Frodo when he’s trapped on Mount Doom. In the Harry Potter series, a phoenix rescues Harry by bringing him a sword that was conveniently hidden in a hat. Both of these are examples of deus ex machina: the characters are trapped with no way out, and a surprising, somewhat unbelievable, and often super-powered entity shows up out of the blue to save the day. Because deus ex machina often feels too convenient and lacks believability, it’s best avoided if possible.
Kerri Harris is an Interactive Communications Specialist and key member of the Public Relations department at NCR Corporation in Dayton, Ohio. In that role, she is responsible for delivering corporate communications across various electronic and digital media, project management, and customer service. Kerri also coordinates and conducts training programs to improve client services, conflict resolution, and process-improvement techniques. Kerri has completed studies in Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development with Ohio Senator Tom Roberts, and has served as Communication Chair of the Professional Resource Council. Currently, she also serves as Chair for NCR’s Intranet Council.