Hahaha oops.

I may not have all the official or correct terminology when I talk about writing, but that’s just how it is. One word that I know I have correct is foreshadowing. I will never ever forget that one, it was burned into my brain by embarrassment. Grade nine English class – Some time ago, I wont say how long 😉  On an test I wrote down foreplay instead of foreshadow.  Hahaha oops. The teacher thought it was hilarious and told me it was a common mistake.  Uh huh of course it is I knew the right word, but wrote down the wrong one and was glad the teacher didn’t bring it up to the class.

Foreshadowing while less fun than my test error, is the simple art of showing or indicating beforehand.

There varying degrees/styles/types of foreshadows that I use.

The obvious set up foreshadow: The one that makes the reader go “hmmm” Then later, “I knew it.” These keep the story moving along toward the conclusion.

The tricky sneaky foreshadow: The one that once the reader gets to the conclusion they stop and think back to the set up and are impressed.

The subtle next story set up foreshadow: Drop a situation or conversation eluding to the next books theme or plot. This one is fun to do especially if it’s a random character that drops into play momentarily or if something happens somewhat out of place but possibly related.  Yup, I’ll have a bad guy or situation come up within the context of the main plot. I do this to elude to or direct the readers mind to wonder by the end of the book if that’s what’s going to happen in the next book. Sometimes this might not be subtle I might just make it an obvious set up.

The hidden Easter egg foreshadow.  Tricky and for the die-hard readers. Plunking in a hint or nudge into a story that may not come to fruition for many books to come. I’ll drop these into each book so that anyone who paid attention will be thrilled to have figured it out. This only works if you have written a series before perfecting the first or if you have the outlines clearly constructed for future books. I’ve done this with a couple things, I dropped a name in a random conversation that is not part of the story nor addressed again. It will be… And hey if I don’t end up using them it doesn’t matter.

Character change foreshadows:  The slight or not so slight indication that a shift in personality or persona is about to occur, maybe not immediately but the feeling is set for the reader.

The mystery statement foreshadow:  When a character states something that goes unresolved. Something potentially important, interesting or exciting.  He looked down at Tory’s lifeless body. “I cant figure out what Tory was after? Why bother with setting the fire then call it in herself?” ooh a secret or explanation someone else might divulge or explain later.

I’m sure there are more types, and I’m sure there are proper terms for them, but these are just the ones that come to mind for me now. I will be honest, I had most of the foreshadows for BiaAtlas planned out, but (and I totally do this) I’ve gone back and added some, changed others and boy oh boy is that fun to do. I know what’s going on but the reader doesn’t, not yet.

Every book has a beginning middle and end, somewhere along the way I introduce (indicate) the next book. Like prepping the reader for what’s to come, exciting them and making them want more.  Maybe foreplay and foreshadowing have something in common after all.  😉

My advice about Foreshadows.
While foreshadowing might not be as fun as foreplay, if done right you can tantalize the reader and keep them on the edge of their seat with anticipation. Plan them out and be flexible. If you’re writing a series, think ahead then go back to set it up.
 

 -Sheryl

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Oops! What did I just say?

 

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