S7E3 – Chekhov’s Gun

Across all forms of story, you can find similarities and themes. Plots have recognizable structures, main characters almost always fight for good in some way, and there is usually a change in status quo. Sometimes, though, those themes transform into tropes, whether good or bad. Tropes are devices or elements used in story-telling that become recognizable through their consistent use. Like any other literary device, tropes are tools. They are not inherently bad, nor inherently good. We are taking this month to talk about some of the more common tropes, what they are, how they can be used correctly, and why you should be aware they exist.

Writing should be done with purpose. The characters, events, and even object must have some reason to be there, to be mentioned. One common trope is Chekhov’s Gun, where an item is mentioned with seeming importance, but does not actually matter to the plot. As Chekhov said, if you mention the gun on the mantle, it should at some point be fired. This episode focuses on why even items should be written in with intention.

First aired February 10, 2020.

About the Author
Ley is an editor and author of action/suspense novels.

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