An Unhuman Journey (Breaking Literary Rules)

An Unhuman Journey

Many authors break various literary rules as part of their signature writing style. 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 when 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 and doesn’t know what might happen.


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.


Have you noticed something your favorite authors do to break the rules?


There’s a war brewing between good and evil, and the chess pieces are being set…

Aaron has gone missing, and Mordecai has taken over Kirsten’s training. She’s learning by leaps and bounds under the god-of-old’s not-so-gentle tutelage, but with Nathan in charge of Drake Security during The Dragon King’s unplanned absence, everything is upside down.

The evil Celrau vampires were banned from creating new offspring, but they’ve bargained for permission to do so in the Underworld, where the Concilio has no authority. As part of their army-building, the Celrau vampires kidnap Kirsten and take her to the Underworld with the intention of making her one of them. Alone in another realm, Kirsten must form unexpected alliances to survive a most Unhuman Journey.

Join bestselling author Candace Blevins on a thrilling adventure into the critically acclaimed sequel to Only Human.





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Candace Blevins lives with her husband of 18 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 book in the Safeword series highlights a couple with a different take on the lifestyle.
You can visit Candace on the web at and feel free to friend her on Facebook at and Goodreads at You can also join 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!
Only Human series (Urban Fantasy)

Only Human

An Unhuman Journey (June 2016)

Unhuman Acts (late 2016)

Chattanooga Supernaturals (Paranormal Romance)

The Dragon King

Riding the Storm

Acceptable Risk
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club (link)



Bash Volume I

Bash Volume II

Bash Volume III



Nix (Novella, Summer 2016)



Dark erotica shorts from the world of The Chattanooga Supernaturals


Indentured Freedom: Owned by the Vampire

Safeword series (Contemporary BDSM Romance)

Safeword: Rainbow

Safeword: Matte

Safeword: Davenport

Safewords: Davenport and Chiffon

Safeword: Quinacridone

Safeword: Matte – In Training

No Safeword: Matte – The Honeymoon

No Safeword: Matte – Happily Ever After

Safeword: Arabesque

Safeword: Mayday (TBA)


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