In my opinion there's a relationship between Chekhov's gun and Minimalism. But it's sometimes used to create a bad feeling (something bad won't occur, just our imaginations), like Dostoevsky novels or the like: Have you ever seen something that doesn't give you a good feeling?

Think we have a GUN. But we're not going to use it in our story. We need that to create a bad atmosphere for readers and this is exactly the opposite of Chekhov's gun. 'Cause we're not going to use that.

Do you agree to use Chekhov's gun or not? Why?

  • 3
    I see you posted a version of this question before, deleted it, and have now reposted it. The better thing to do would have been to simply edit the question. Deleting questions is ill-advised, as too many deleted questions can eventually trigger an automated question ban; you should only be deleting questions if they're completely unsalvageable.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 12:19
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    I'm a bit confused about this question. Are you really asking about Chekhov's gun (which must be used later) or do you really want to know about red herrings (which show up to mislead)? Or something else?
    – Laurel
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 12:28
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    Does this answer your question? What if my story fails Chekhov's gun several times? Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


Interesting question. As your question could be referring to several things, I'll try and address a wide scope of scenarios.

  1. Atmosphere.

Atmosphere is incredibly important in writing, and it is perfectly fine to have some details that, while irrelevant to the plot, simply exist to further the atmosphere. Not every piece of information in your story will aid the plot. A character's dread, that odd creaking sound in the abandoned building, the smell of mildew in the air, the way all the eyes of that painting seemed to follow you through the air...if you can think of a way to make all these details important elements of a plot, you're a better author than most. The fact is, you can get away with irrelevant details so long as they contribute to something and aren't too irrelevant to the story.

  1. Red herrings

In the case of a mystery story, there will be a degree of irrelevant details. It's the detective's and the reader's job to filter through these in search of the truth. This kind of plot does necessitate a sort of neatness in writing that other genres don't require. I would say that if you're writing a mystery story, the principles of Chekhov's gun become less important. You need to explain certain things, but red herrings that mislead the reader while contributing to the plot can be really important.

  1. Chekhov's gun.

Overall, I disagree, for the most part, with the idea of Chekhov's gun. So long as you do it well, I think it's fine to leave a degree of unknown or irrelevance in the story so long as it doesn't directly correlate with your main plot. For example, as a reader I'm perfectly fine to let 'the Thing in Blackwood Forest' remain a mystery--it adds interest to the world you have crafted and shows the reader a sense of depth. (If every single thing in your story has to do with the plot, your world becomes flat, centered around the story and makes it really obvious that it was created for the sole purpose of that story.)

However, if you have constructed the plot in such a way as the 'Thing in the forest' becomes a central element, I would greatly prefer it be explained. If the main character's parents, for instance, were murdered at the same time the legend of the 'Forest-Thing' came about...well, the reader's going to want an explanation.

  1. Minimalism

Minimalism is a style of writing characterized by a direct conveying of the story--not a lot of flowery language, as the plot takes precedence over everything else. However, if you truly wish to dissect every worldbuilding detail, every description, every gun hanging on a wall, you'll just be left with an outline of a plot, not a fully fleshed story.

Side note: Chekhov's gun was originally written about in letters to playwrights--people who write plays. When you're writing a play, you have to get into an entirely different mindset than with writing a story. With a play, it's much more important to be concise and trim out irrelevant details. With a novel, it's much different.

Chekhov's gun is not a hard and fast rule. It's up to the author.

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