Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. 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.
If you place a gun in your first act, it should go off in the next. Every element should fit into the story, or its presence there is deceitful. I realise, since the beginning of this “story”, I have figured a relapse into it. And it’s making me nervous now.
There’s a meeting at 8 but I’m in London and I’m not sure when everyone will be back. I hate having to account for my absences. This, though, is what it will be like when I move back here. I’ll be jobless, have no money to go out and no reason to. I won’t have people to bump into in the library, or go for coffee with. I won’t have that support. That period, that little absence, is when I will relapse.
Can you scratch a gun out of a story?