I thought that for my first post of 2015 I’ll write about something I wanted to share for a few weeks and that is, Foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing, if someone doesn’t know is a hint, a warning or an indication of a future event. Foreshadowing or guessing ahead is a literary device by which an author hints of things to come later in the plot. It’s also used to build suspense, anticipation or anxiety in the reader, which will make the reader more engaged with the story.
In the book I am currently writing, I’ve experienced a bit of a hard time placing hints and clues of things to come. I think it’s mostly because this genre (Sci/Fi) is new to me, but also it might be due to the fact that I am always guessing what will be later on in a story (in books, movies, TV…), So I try to make it as hard as possible, but then I go back and realize that not everyone is like me, lol. So I go back and rewrite a few thing, but then the clues are just too easy, lol.
I realized that there is a fine line between writing too many hints and very little, but after a bit of practice I think I figured things out and I wanted to share them with you:
1. In my outline or my notes, I highlight all the key points where my characters do or see something or meet someone for the first time and I know this will be something bigger, that will be revealed later on in the story.
2. Look at authors who you might think do this well and take notes. It helps to learn from people who done it and done it well. See how the author puts the clues through dialog, detailed scene or even a smaller hint than that.
3. I’ve learned that a simple comment a character makes to another character, suddenly creates (for me as a writer) new possibilities of future events that I could write and didn’t see before. So when you write, try to listen well to what the characters say, and also to how they say it.
4. There are true and false hints:
Example for a true hint: The character saw strange blue twinkling lights in the distance… He sees the lights again in the classroom… later on, he finds out that he has the power to see ghosts. Just an example, lol. The sight mentally prepare the reader for any option you might put later in the story and it wouldn’t be unbelievable.
Example for a false hint: If we take the example from before. The character sees the lights in the distance, he looks at it and wonders what they are, another character suggests the option of ghosts and later in the story… well, that is it. Not exactly, lol. This will distract the reader, and later on, the reader might learn that the character indeed has special powers, but not what he thought before.
5. Do not bombard the story with hints and clues, try to keep it simple and put only what you think will truly be beneficial for your plot. Do not use it so often, the reader will get used to hunt those clues and will get bored with the story (trust me, I know). So remember less = more.
6. I also use foreshadowing as means to jump-start my own creative flow, just as I start writing the story, sort of like a prologue (don’t worry, lol, no prologues). I know this will be written only for me and will not enter the book, but it does help me to see a better picture of the story as a whole.
Here is a nice short article about this, hope you like it 🙂
Wow, sorry for the long post, hope it wasn’t tedious for you.
Do you use foreshadowing in your own writing? If so, what elements do you use to show it?
Don’t forget to share your tips below.
Thank you so much for reading ❤