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What is a Quibble?

 , August 29, 2016 updated on March 16, 2017
A quibble is a plot device uses an obscure technicality to solve or create a dilemma in a story. They are often created by taking things extremely literally.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Quibbles often appear in fiction as wishes that are taken too literally resulting in a troublesome or dark situation.

Escaping The Inescapable

Quibbles are commonly used to resolve a plot. For example, in Norse mythology, Loki bets his head to Brokkr and losses. Loki argues that the bet said nothing of his neck and that Brokkr can only have his head if his neck remains undamaged.
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice uses a similar escape for Antonio who owes Shylock a pound of flesh. Antonio is saved when it is pointed out that he owes Shylock no blood. Therefore Shylock can collect only if he sheds no blood.
Overview: Quibble
TypeStorytelling
DefinitionA plot device that uses a technicality to solve or create a problem.
Related ConceptsStorytelling
Red Herring
Non Sequitur

Storytelling

This is the complete list of articles we have written about storytelling.
Analogy
Archetypes
Artistic License
Atmosphere
Character Development
Callback
Character Flaws
Cliche
Dry Humor
Design Fiction
Improv
Deux Ex Machina
Kairos
Direct Language
Literary Device
Literature
Figurative Language
Macguffin
Hypothetical Question
Metaphor
Mood
Improvisation
Myth
Inside Jokes
Plot
Jumping The Shark
Quibble
Rhetorical Device
Sarcasm
Lost The Plot
Satire
Message Framing
Tone Of Text
Understatement
Metaphysical Conceit
Verbal Irony
Want To Believe
Mood
Wit
Narrative Thread
Worldbuilding
Non Sequitur
Peak-End Rule
Personification
Red Herring
Rhetorical Question
Rule Of Three
Slice Of Life
Suspension Of Disbelief
Tagline
Looking Glass
Word Of Mouth
More ...
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