Elements of Fiction: Foreshadowing Part 1

Friday, June 25

Foreshadowing: Giving hints to help the reader predict future events.
Okay, so why would we want readers to predict something? Aren't we supposed to surprise them? Yes and No.

Surprise is good. It can jolt the reader and intrigue them.
But sometimes, foreshadowing is far more intriguing. Let's look at the most basic form of foreshadowing; a prophecy.

Let's say that in the prologue an oracle declares that in ten years a young boy will find a long-lost sword. After the sword is used to kill his mother, he will use the sword to defeat a dark sorcerer in the mountains.

Now, why would a reader want to even read the story? They basically know the plot, right? Sure, but they are missing information and they know it.
How does the boy find the sword? How is the sword used to kill his mother? Does that mean he kills her? Why? How does he even get involved in the defeat of a dark sorcerer? How does he use the sword to accomplish that? Who is the dark Sorcerer and why should he defeat him?

I'm not saying this is an award-winning plot. But foreshadowing can generate interest and discussion. The reader will want to read, just to find out the answers to their questions.

When writing foreshadowing, think about "What do I want my audience to ask?"

This question should especially be used at the beginning of a story. You want generate enough questions that it draws the reader in from sheer curiosity. However, be careful not to overload. There is a fine line between curiosity and frustration.

1 comment(s):

Andrea C,  Thursday, July 25, 2013  

This is a really great blog site for all aspiring writers. There are some amazing tips on writing that they can find here and especially for college papers as well. Foreshadowing is really great because it leaves them intrigued and they would want to know more, right?

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