Chekhov’s Gun, My Personal Arch- Nemesis

Hello friends and welcome to another fun filled edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about why I have the tendency to write really thin, why my descriptions are always lacking, and why I struggle so much with world building. I made a comment on someone’s Twitter thread about these issues, and another user pointed out that my style of writing might by better suited for screenplays. 

Then it hit me: she was exactly right (that I don’t actually want to write screenplays is neither here nor there).

Much of my teens and twenties could be defined by fandom. The friends I made and the activities we enjoyed were predominantly informed by whatever I was Into at the moment, especially as a teenager. As I grew into adulthood, moved away from home, and started a family, the way I enjoyed fandom, by necessity, shifted to largely online interactions and communities. It was during that time period I got really into meta-analyzing my favorite TV shows. TV was my preferred media at the time and I spent much of my considerable free hours engaging with it. 

One of the key principals when analyzing TV (and other shorter form media) is that of Chekhov’s Gun. The idea being that in one hour of scripted television, a screenwriter has roughly forty three minutes in which to tell a story (accounting for commercials). Meaning that there simply isn’t enough time to go into detail about anything that isn’t going to directly contribute to the narrative. If the writers are using precious seconds and minutes showing you something, it’s for a reason. It’s important. 

Obviously, this is not so with novels. In fact, in many ways it’s completely the opposite. While it would not be prudent to bog down a manuscript with too much detail, since books lack a visual component it makes describing the characters and world in depth essential. Whereas on a TV show time needn’t be spent telling me a character’s eyes are brown because I can see them, taking a sentence or two to do so in a novel helps bring a hazy mental image into focus. 

I mean, this sounds obvious, even to me, as I’m typing it all out but, genuinely, in the moment when I am drafting I completely forget about it. Because, in my mind, my character’s eyes being brown has absolutely no bearing on the story, so why should I waste time mentioning it? 

I completely blame my years in fandom, my many hours meta-analyzing TV when I should have been reading instead, for this. I wish I knew how to shake it off, but hopefully simply being aware of the bias will help me correct it going forward. That and reading. A hell of a lot more reading. 

In short, Chekhov’s Gun can to go to hell. 


Time for a Mental Health Check In. 

This last month has been a rough one for me. I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life, at least three different major issues to manage – any one of which would be stressful enough to deal with on its own – all while going back on my meds to try and get my anxiety and depression under control. It’s not been fun, and I’ve struggled a great deal at times (including this very week) to remain productive during my writing hours. 

To be totally transparent, it’s fucking sucked. And there’s no way to couch that. It just blows to feel like this all the time. I know I’m going to make it, I have amazing support, but I urge everyone to just check in with their friends once in a while. It makes such a massive difference when you’re down the rabbit hole to know that someone is thinking about you. 


Well, that’s enough out of me for this week. I’ll (hopefully) be back next week with more profound and/or frustrated thoughts on writing conventions I’ve conveniently forgotten since high school. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Monday Motivations; I’m Not Special

Good morning friends. I am back after a long week during which the perfect storm of stressful life events and a deadline conspired to keep me from meaningfully blogging, or even thinking about anything extraneous.

While last week may be an outlier in terms of demand on my time and attention, it got me thinking yet again about the difficulty of balancing a writing career with, well, everything else.

Because it seems impossible and yet, empirically, it is not. Plenty of other writers have found a way to have a day job, fulfill familial obligations, and write. Even my hope to maintain my freelance writing whilst working on personal passion projects is not unique to me.

So, if all those other writers can do it, why not me? What do they have that I don’t?

Under normal circumstances I would consider thoughts like these counterproductive. Comparing another author’s success to my own (or lack thereof as it were) is a recipe that the anxiety brain simply salivates over.

That being said, I need to know that it’s possible. I need to look to those who came before and realize that they too had to struggle with balancing their checkbook of time, and that if they did it so can I.

My struggles aren’t special, and they sure as hell aren’t an excuse to give up.

That’s my motivation this week.

Until next time friends!

Kerry Share

Monday Motivations; A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Good morning friends and welcome to another exciting week of writing.

Yesterday was an off day for me. From start to finish I just didn’t feel like myself. Mondays, weirdly enough, is usually when I’m at my most motivated (hence this blog series) and freshest, and I usually feel ready to attack the week. Not so yesterday and I’m still not sure why. Couple that with a tough parenting situation in the evening, and I pretty much lost the whole day.

I’m obsessed with time. How much of it I have, whether or not it’s being spent wisely, the whole nine years. I almost think if it like money, and, like money, I worry that if I am not using it in the most efficient way possible then it is a waste.

Bearing that in mind, days like yesterday are tough for me to swallow. In times gone by, they’ve managed to ruin my entire week. But I’m working on getting better about that, mostly by reminding myself that operating at peak efficiency at all times is something we ask of machines, not people. That I’m not just a vessel of productivity, but a human who is allowed and sometimes has off days.

So that’s my motivation this week: not getting too down about not hitting my word count yesterday and just focusing on what I can do today.

Until next time my friends!

Kerry Share

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