Chekhov’s Gun is one of the most important and most interesting skills to talk about in terms of writing. Every writer should have at least some understanding of this literary technique because a story can immediately just run so much smoother when it’s in use. For more understanding of what the technique actually is, Shannii has a wonderful post on the subject!
But what I want to talk about here are some examples of Chekhov’s Gun in media! Our favourites, what we think the most effective are, or even examples in our own work!
My personal favourite example of a story making good use of Chekhov’s Gun is Edgar Wright’s fantastic Hot Fuzz starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost! The whole beginning of Hot Fuzz, apart from being fantastic and hilarious, serves the purpose of building up ideas. Jokes are built up in almost every single scene, usually as single line jokes or gags. Like an old woman doing a crossword, or Nick Frost’s character using a ketchup sachet to pretend to stab himself in the eye.
Where it really pays off is in the third act of the film. The final half-hour is the payoff to all of this build-up, and it is glorious Every single idea, every single joke is built upon, every single plot thread is tied up and every single character arc ends magnificently, all while showing that the best part about being a police officer is staying humble. Something action films always tend to overlook, and which is also an idea set up very early in the film.
In my opinion if you haven’t seen Hot Fuzz, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try!
So what do you all think of this fantastic literary technique? Let’s chat! I have ways that I use it in my own work, but I’d love to hear other people’s favourite examples! Or maybe some stories that are in sore need of their ideas being set up beforehand!