I was recently reading an article in Writing Magazine by Lorena Goldsmith called ‘Don’t lose the plot’. It points out several classic pitfalls that new writers fall into. One of them was called Chekhov’s Rifle. It comes from a saying by Anton Chekhov who said:
One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it
What this means is that you shouldn’t introduce an item into your story if it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. This made me think of my story: what was in my story that didn’t need to be?
My story starts with a murder (“murder most foul”) involving a sword. As it happens, the murder is relevant, but was the sword? I had been struggling with this story to get it from A to Z. I had the A, and I had the Z, but the route was lost in the fuzzy mess that is my brain fog.
Sitting there, thinking of this Chekhov’s Sword I had landed my self with, a seed developed into an idea. In an attempt not to scare it away, I let it mature and by the time I had finished the article, I had the rest of the plot for my book. I had found my B-Y.
I now feel more confidant about continuing with my story, and I owe it all to Lorena Goldsmith and Writing Magazine.