Thursday, April 7, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: F

F is for foreshadowing.

How many of you have read a book and when you came to the end were like, “Aha!”  Things that happened vaguely throughout and, though they fit in the scene at that moment, actually proved to serve a bigger purpose. 

Some readers might not realize what’s happening to them when you introduce tight, preplanned introductions to future events and they become wrapped up in the story and have to turn that next page. 

Recently, a dear friend read a book and mentioned how predictable it was.  In fact, several times, as she related the experience while reading it, she guessed ahead of time what would happen next.  And she was right without fail.  Foreshadowing should create anticipation, both on a conscious and subconscious level.  Admittedly, there are those avid readers out there that can zero in on the smallest of hints and guess correctly.  ; ) 

When I write, I go back several times while revising to add small (and sometimes lengthy) passages to help foreshadow coming events.  For instance, (and I’m giving away a big one here) in Cornerstone Deep, Anna’s first experience in her new home after being harvested for service provided more than just a look into how she’d been changed by the spell that was cast on her.  It provided a foundation for how she would react at an important turning point in the plot…a reaction Cole hadn’t been prepared for.

Have you found yourself disappointed when you came to the end of a book and found it was far too predictable?  Or worse, the conclusion was so far fetched and unrealistic that you wanted to (or did) chuck the thing into the recycle bin?



Anonymous said...

Foreshadowing plays an important part in any longer work, but it has to be subtle. Too in your face and it becomes predictable. Great to meet you via A-Z!

Angela said...

Rarely do I read a book anymore where I can't predict the end. When the foreshadowing is done well and I can't predict it I think, "Yay, that was awesome!"

But when I can't predict because there was no foreshadowing, I just feel like the author has jerked me around for no reason.

Aurora Smith said...

Angela, I kinda like that. so true!

J. D. Brown said...

I agree with the comments before me. I hate books that have a predictable ending. It's disappointing. It's okay if I guess and then find out I'm right, but to be certain of the ending in the middle of the book is bad. Foreshadowing should be strong enough that it adds suspense, but subtle enough that the reader doesn't really noticed what the author did until the end. Those are the type of books you can read over and over. By the way, you did a stellar job of using foreshadowing in Cornerstone Deep! Had me on my toes the entire time! :)

Charlene A. Wilson said...

Finding the right balance can be hard, that's for sure.

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone! It's great to meet you. And thanks, Jen. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)