A Writing Journey

Foreshadowing

Last week I wrote about voice. I told you that my natural voice is blunt an analytical. As you might guess, this puts a damper on foreshadowing. I say what needs to be said and move on. In addition, what little foreshadowing I have is so obvious that a blind cat could see it. But lucky for me, I’ve redrafted. My foreshadowing has become more subtle (I hope) and I have found that there is an ease to writing this way, once I get in the rhythm.

The hard part of foreshadowing is that you have to know where the story is going. I don’t do very well with foreshadowing for the current book, but I look ahead.  As such, I’ve put a lot of foreshadowing for the second and third books in Quest for Salvation, but practically no foreshadowing for later events in the first book. For me, it works. I don’t know how other people will feel about it.

To foreshadow properly, a writer needs to have a picture of where things are going (as I said above). For me, this means having the outline for book 2 and the general plot of book 3 (and even later books that are not included in this trilogy).  In my first drafts, the bluntness of the foreshadowing reminds me what I need later. It jumps out at me and says “Don’t forget to make me important!” And so I remember.

But I’m afraid readers won’t. What happens if my foreshadowing is too subtle and the readers forget it? Well, I suppose that is what editors are for.

Take care, fellow travelers.

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Comments on: "Foreshadowing" (8)

  1. I handle foreshadowing in two ways. In my first draft it is a tool to help me keep on writing. It’s like throwing myself teasers on where my story has to go next. when editing, I take take out the leads I didn’t follow and sometime strengthen the ones I did use.

    • Very clever! I think it’s great that you’ve found a way to keep yourself motivated to write. I do something similar – I leave the foreshadowing as reminders of what I want to happen later. I found a way to work with my bluntness. 🙂

  2. Something I do with foreshadowing is I add it during an editing run. It can slip in there during the first draft writing, but it is easier to put it in later if you’re not sure where the story is going to go. As far as subtlety goes, that’s the risk. Most times a person won’t realize it until the big event or a second read. In fact, many people will re-read a story because of a big event and look for the subtle pieces of foreshadowing.

    • Yes, if you don’t know where the story is headed them waiting to foreshadow until you edit is an excellent idea. I tend to know what will happen with the story, So when I’m editing I change my blunt foreshadowing bits to be a little more subtle. And you are right, a lot of times we as readers don’t see the foreshadow until we re-read – but the subconcious sees it the first time and that’s why things aren’t always a surprise 🙂
      Take care,
      Emily

  3. Haha I have the same reservations and difficulties. I have this tendency to tell the reader exactly what they’re in for and diffuse the suspense. Fortunately, later drafts get better.

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