I believe many authors have literary rules they break as part of their signature. For some, it’s a grammatical quirk, for others it’s in the way they craft their characters. For me, it’s part of the way I construct the mystery around my plot.
The principle of Chekhov’s gun says: If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.
And then there’s the opposite, the red herring: A literary device that leads readers or audiences towards a false conclusion.
We’ll start with Checkhov, because it’s unfortunate he used a gun as his example. I’ve shot guns most of my life. I have a carry license and I have a weapon with me more often than not, and I’m in the range every six or eight weeks so I can remain a good shot — and yet I’ve never shot a living thing, even though I’ve been shooting more than forty years. Firearms are a ubiquitous part of my life, and for many of my characters too.
Part of developing a character’s personality is in the reader knowing where, when, and what they carry. It’s in seeing them go to the range to practice, and time spent maintaining their equipment with proper care. In the case of weapons, none are a red herring if we get to the end of a book and no one’s been shot. The gun is there because this character chooses to be armed, not because this character is going to need to shoot someone later. Though, of course that possibility is always there, and does happen in some of my books — you just aren’t guaranteed it’s going to happen because they’re carrying a gun in the first chapter.
I often know the basic outline of a book I’m reading early on, and it’s because of Checkhov’s principle. Authors who follow this rule give so much away, and in my opinion it cheapens the reading experience. If you only show us the items relevant to the storyline, then the plot isn’t much of a mystery. If, however, the author shows us items significant to character development but not necessarily the plot, or tells us possibilities that could easily happen but may or may not, then the reader is kept on their toes.
If you see a gun in my book then you know someone might get shot, but you don’t know for sure. In fact, someone is almost fatally shot in one of my books when no one’s seen a gun the entire series involving those characters. Real life doesn’t give things away so easily, and neither do my stories.
I never use red herrings on purpose, though. Some of my writing may appear to be foreshadowing when it isn’t, but the possibilities I mention are there for a reason — character development, or a way to build the world without spouting boring facts, or any number of other reasons.
My goal is to provide an entertaining reading experience. I want the reader immersed in my world with no idea what will happen next. Following Chekhov’s principle doesn’t work for my goals, so I choose to ignore it.
Guns and weapons play a big role in Uncaged, but perhaps not for the reasons people will think. Darnell is a former Navy SEAL, and his son is a member of the RTMC. It’s a fair bet that both men own weapons — but does this mean anyone will be shot? Only one way to find out!
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: February 10
Word Count: 60,000 words
Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone
It’s been fourteen years since Keisha’s criminal actions put their son in foster care while Darnell was out of the country on a Navy SEAL mission. His attorneys handled all communication with her during the divorce proceedings, and he hasn’t spoken with her for nearly a decade and a half.
When she’s finally paroled, his wolf is insistent he makes sure she has a place to live and help getting on her feet.
Wolves mate for life, but the man can’t forgive her for putting their son at risk.
My vibrator arrived Tuesday, and I had every intention of having orgasm after orgasm when I got home from work.
I made myself a huge salad with three kinds of lettuce, spicy croutons I made from old bread, and torn up pieces of leftover fried chicken. I drenched it in blue cheese dressing and considered it a feast as I read a racy romance.
I’d finished eating and was upstairs in my bed when I got to the good parts — new vibrator plugged in and ready for action. As the alpha-male in my book went to town on the woman, I moved the vibrator to all my best spots, expecting to have a simultaneous orgasm with the characters in my book… but as I neared the climax, I heard Darnell in my head telling me he wanted something in my ass if I orgasmed while he was gone.
Of course, the girl in the book had a damned butt plug in while the seriously-alpha dude pounded her pussy. Of all the books to read right now, it had to be this one.
Darnell had put a little container of coconut oil with the plug, so I got them both out and looked at them for several long moments before I rolled my eyes and lifted the fancy-assed plug from its velvet cradle.
It was big but it wasn’t huge, so I hadn’t expected it to weigh so much. It would spread me open going in, but the part between the plug and the outer ring wasn’t very thick.
With a sigh, I stuck my fingers in the coconut oil and coated the plug. I didn’t want to stick my finger in my ass, so I just put a glob on the outside. Yeah, I should probably work myself up, but I’d taken cocks much larger than this in prison without being made ready.
I gasped as the slick, cool metal went in, and then groaned as it seated itself inside me. I’d been right about it not holding me open once in, but I hadn’t expected the weight of it to push on my muscles from the inside. I wiggled around a little, and paged back several times on my phone until I found the spot where he picked her up and carried her to bed.
This time, I’d had three orgasms by the time the characters in the book came in their own explosive orgasms, and I had another overwhelming release as they did. I turned the vibrator off, put my phone to the side, and lay in bed like a lump of overcooked spaghetti, my body totally relaxed and sated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Candace Blevins lives with her husband of 19 years and their two daughters. When not working or driving kids all over the place she can be found reading, writing, meditating, or swimming.
Candace writes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary BDSM Romance, and a kick-ass Motorcycle Club series.
Her urban fantasy series, Only Human, gives us a world where weredragons, werewolves, werelions, three different species of vampires, as well as a variety of other mythological beings exist.
Candace's two paranormal romance series, The Chattanooga Supernaturals and The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, are both sister series to the Only Human series, and give some secondary characters their happily ever after.
Her Safeword Series gives us characters who happen to have some extreme kinks. Relationships can be difficult enough without throwing power exchange into the mix, and her books show characters who care enough about each other to fight to make the relationship work. Each couple in the Safeword series gives the reader a different take on the lifestyle.
You can visit Candace on the web at candaceblevins.com and feel free to friend her on Facebook at facebook.com/candacesblevins and Goodreads at goodreads.com/CandaceBlevins. You can also join facebook.com/groups/CandacesKinksters to get sneak peeks into what she's writing now, images that inspire her, and the occasional juicy blurb.
Stay up to date on Candace’s newest releases, and get exclusive excerpts by joining her mailing list!
Other Books by Candace Blevins
Only Human series (Urban Fantasy)
· Unhuman Acts (2017)
Chattanooga Supernaturals (Paranormal Romance)
· Hallowed Destiny (January 27, 2017)
· Uncaged (February 10, 2017)
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club (link)
Dark erotica shorts from the world of The Chattanooga Supernaturals
Safeword series (Contemporary BDSM Romance)
· Safeword: Mayday (2017)