A photograph of a structure of the words “the end” in a desert

Source: The End, naturalturn, Flickr

“Chekhov’s gun” is well known to many fiction writers. Anton Chekhov advised that if you put a gun in the opening scene, it must go off before the end of the story. For example, in “The Boys,” Chekhov mentions that the boys stop to buy gunpowder. What if they had purchased the gunpowder and it was never mentioned again in story? We might feel as though the writer had forgotten something. The main thing to remember about a gun or any object is this: If you put it into your story, it needs to have a purpose.

As you continue to write your short story based on Chekhov’s model, remember to include only those details that are relevant to the plot. If you decide to write the story you have been thinking about in this lesson, share it with a few classmates or even friends outside of school. Ask them to make comments on your characters. Can they relate to your characters? Also ask them to comment on the conflict in the story and the overall plot. Most importantly, ask them if your story is interesting.