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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Chekhov said, and I quote ...

 cj Sez: The question of leaving unresolved threads in stories came up in another discussion recently, and I opined that I found it annoying. 

   I want to know what happened or, if the book is part of a series, I want to read some hint that it’ll be resolved, good or bad, in some later story. Basically, I agree with playwright and short story author Anton Chekhov’s critique on plays, referred to as “Chekhov’s gun.”
   “Chekhov's gun is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed. Elements should not appear to make false promises by never coming into play.  .... In the original instance, the ‘gun’ is a monologue that Chekhov deemed superfluous and unrelated to the rest of the play.  He is quoted as saying: "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."
   Of course, Chekhov’s principle applies to short stories because of the word count constraints, but I think it applies to novels as well. I’m not talking about red herring threads…those are always tied up in some fashion.
   However, if the “gun” (dialogue/character/conflict) happens to be in a story that is part of a series and you plan to reveal the who/what/when/where/why/how in a later story, you might consider including a hint of that in the denouement through a simple mention in a character’s dialogue or thought or in an epilogue. It can be disappointing if there isn’t some kind of closure for all the threads and that could affect how the reader judges the author. I really dislike loose ends. In fact, I’ve not read other books by the same author because s/he left me hanging.


Has this ever happened to you? 
   I've been looking for plain cornmeal (not cornmeal mix) for a while and couldn't find any on the shelves, so I went to the dot com site and ordered. But I couldn't order just one 5-lb unit to reach the $35 minimum for free delivery; the dot com said I had to order a three pack. 

   The order arrived on Saturday morning in a sturdy box, and now I have cornmeal . . . on the sidewalk, on the front porch, trailing through the den, on the kitchen table, and on the kitchen floor. Two of the unprotected 80-oz paper bags had broken open, and the fine-ground cornmeal drained out of the holes in the corners of the sturdy box. In my defense for ordering “bags” to be delivered, the photo on the dot com site showed boxes. Yep. Lesson learned. It’s still 2020.

Here’s a rare phenomenon …and a bit of nice news at the end of 2020:  
“HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHP) — The rare “Christmas Star” is coming!
   2020 has been a rough year, but as it comes to a close we will see a celestial Christmas phenomenon that hasn’t been seen in nearly 800 years.

   Mark your calendars for December 21st (the Winter Solstice) because that is when Jupiter and Saturn will align very closely in the sky, so close that to the naked eye they will almost appear to be, “colliding.”
This will cause a radiant light to be created, often referred to as the “Star of Bethlehem” or the “Christmas Star.”

   This is something that hasn’t happened this brilliantly since March 4th, 1226.
(///)  Overall, it will be closest to Earth on December 21st, but the “Christmas Star” should stay visible from just about anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere for the entire fourth week of December.
   The next time this will happen?
   How about March of 2080! So take some time later this month to try and catch a glimpse of one of the truly bright lights of 2020!”
( )


   Books are Christmas gifts that keep on giving year-round, AND…and…HOMEROOM HEROES, Bienvenue Press’s upcoming charity anthology for 2020, is currently available for the preorder price of 99 cents! 

   Better yet, it’s a two-fer: part of the proceeds from this anthology will benefit the Acadiana Writing Project.
My short story “The Substitute,” is included.
  "When FBI agent Aron Olsen is assigned to work undercover as a substitute adapted physical education teacher for physically and mentally challenged students, he knows he’ll need a lot of help. He is thrilled when his help appears in the beautiful form of first-grade teacher Melanie Andrews, who is also a Special Olympics volunteer. Together they learn to turn their can'ts into cans and their dreams into plans."
   HOMEROOM HEROES joins HOMETOWN HEROES and FINALLY HOME as the third in a series of anthologies published by Bienvenue Press benefiting various charities. All are free on Kindle Unlimited.
   From paranormal to contemporary to historical, there's something in all three anthologies to fill everyone with the spirit of the season. Look for them on Amazon.

  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try
try to do the same.  

P.S.  My stand-alone suspense novels are out of print on Amazon, but The Haunted Bookshop has signed copies in stock. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here:
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