Anton Chekhov’s 6 Principles that make for a Good Story

Here are Anton Chekhov’s classic 6 principles that make for a Good story and I also included my interpretations or at least how I understand them.

On May 10, 1889, Anton Chekhov (already an influential literary figure in Russia) wrote a letter to his older brother, Alexander. His brother had taken up writing years before, too, but only with inconsistent success. In the letter, quoted by the translators in Anton Chekhov: Stories, the famous author laid down six principles that “make for a good story”:

  1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of a political-social-economic nature;
  2. Total objectivity;
  3. Truthful descriptions of persons and objects;
  4. Extreme brevity;
  5. Audacity and originality (flee the stereotype);
  6. Compassion


My Interpretations



1) Absence of lengthy verbiage of political-social-economic nature – my interpretation – Don’t overwrite when you write and choose your words precisely and carefully.


2) Total Objectivity – my interpretation – be totally impartial and neutral with your writing and don’t be judgmental of your characters- just tell their stories.


3) Truthful descriptions of persons and objects – my interpretation – be honest about your characters , don’t try to sugar coat or make them infinitely evil(unless they’re supposed to be…lol)  and when presenting their character personalities, be objective and honest


4) Extreme brevity – my interpretation – write with extreme conciseness when expressing yourself when writing you story or get straight to the point with your writing


5) Audacity and originality (flee the stereotype) – my interpretation – show willingness to take bold risk with your writing and be daring and original with it as well.


6) Compassion – my interpretation – I think what is meant by it is that the writer excuses all human weakness because human weakness is human. Compassion should be were you start with your writing because it makes you reject cliches and stereotypes in your writing and be extremely intricate. If we can show compassion and avoid humiliation in our writing, we can avoid arrogance  or sarcasm .



One thought on “Anton Chekhov’s 6 Principles that make for a Good Story

  1. Pingback: Short Story Writing Tips (Links galore!) « E.L. Taylor III author blog

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