Part way through "Dark Phoenix" I realized that in my Space Orphan books I've been guilty of breaking Heinlein's law (or "suggestion" or whatever) - introduce only one impossibility in a story.

Normally I wouldn't sit thinking about stuff like this while watching a movie. But I didn't care about any of the X-wo/men except JLaw's Rogue, and she only showed up in the first part of the movie. So despite all the action I was bored and only stayed seated to the movie's end because I was with a friend.

The realization came when the movie introduced the Phoenix Force, a sort of Infinity Stone "macguffin" as Hitchcock called plot enablers like the Maltese Falcon. In my two (soon three) Space Orphan books I introduce not one but several plot enablers.

I wanted my main character to quickly graduate from the Air Force Academy and then go out into space. So I had her invent over just a few years a "superbattery," "air jet," "space jet," antimatter power generator, antigravity, and force fields. Phew!

Piling impossibility on impossibility is normally an ill-advised move in writing a story. But I wrote (and am writing) the books just for fun, a sort of throw-away series of books. (Imagine my surprise when they proved to be my most popular books yet.)

So I've spent the last couple of days reviewing how I got away with this piling-on. Maybe these reflections will be useful to a few of you.

First I established early on that my main character Jane is a super-genius, a sort of mental-not-physical Supergirl. I tried to do this gradually and spend few words on it, sort of hoping that readers wouldn't notice that her genius was itself a macguffin. Pass on by, nothing strange happening here. Look, there's a shiny object!

Second, when she invented some tech impossibility I spent only a few words on it, using a long-crafted skill with jargon I used in aerospace to hide silliness when writing research proposals. I hoped if I kept the plot moving no one would linger scratching their head.

Third, I spent many more words showing this tech in action, delivering the "shiny objects" and their treasures of interesting possibilities rather than explaining them. See, you turn on the lights by flipping a switch and so reveal a stranger stealing an ancient treasure. (Forget how a light switch and lights showed up in an ancient pyramid!)

So, have you used macguffins in your stories? Or come across especially interesting ones?