Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is that Chekov’s gun in your кармашек or are you just happy to see me?

Chekov’s gun is not a real gun. If it was, I would use it to kill possums. I would then bury their corpses in a cherry orchard.

Chekov’s gun is a literary device that is sadly harmless to marsupials.


Anton Chekov, the Russian writer, came up with this piece of advice:

"One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it."

Chekov’s gun is all about foreshadowing, and lining all your dominoes up in a row before you tip the first one over and watch the carnage. But it’s also about only having what is necessary in a story. If you don’t need the gun to fire, then you don’t need the gun.

Also, if you don’t use Chekov’s gun it may misfire in reviews, and leave a gaping plot hole.

Do you have a Chekov’s gun in your WIP? 


And on an entirely unrelated note I am back from Brisbane. I have no money, a few good books, and sore feet. And Lady Gaga was awesome. :) 


  1. Welcome back!

    Chekhov's gun is something I always try to watch for. It's not fair to the reader to hang a bazooka over the fireplace and never use it, and it seems the whole trick is to mention it in passing, so everyone forgets it's there until Uncle Vanya goes for it and blasts away a seagull.

    1. Ah, old Uncle Vanya. He just can't be trusted with weapons when he's had too much vodka.

  2. Thanks for this! I've never been too clear on the meaning of Chekhov's gun ^_^ I think I've avoided it!

    1. I never know if I have or not until after the first draft. Being a pantser, I'm constantly leaving loaded rifles everywhere and then forgetting about them. It's dangerous inside my first drafts!

  3. I love it when I'm writing away and I suddenly realize -- Hey! That thing! That I dropped into the story earlier! That was a GUN!! :)

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

    1. And then you get to fire it!

      It's always fun when you realise you've set it up perfectly without intending it.



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