Wednesday, April 25, 2012

04/25/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you're all able to make it this morning, and I hope that my post today will be, at the very least, somewhat useful. I also see that we broke 2000 views! I'm so incredibly happy, it makes me feel like a real blogger. Remember this means that Monday's post will have a few extras on it. I would do it sooner than that, but I don't want to take anything away from Friday.

Today I wanted to talk just a little bit about foreshadowing. Next to things making sense and character development/back story this is probably my favorite thing. If executed well it causes those 'Ah ha!' moments in readers that to me are some of the greatest signs you've done something right. The thing that makes it a bit complicated is figuring out how to put it in and where. If you do it too soon, or are too subtle, the reader might not pick up on it when the big reveal happens later, too close to that reveal and it'll seem obvious.

Now when you're actually writing out your story (at least this is a problem I have) anything you put in there for subtle or build-up effect are going to feel obvious. This is because to you already know what's happening, of course it's obvious to you. To a writer putting in foreshadowing is somewhat awkward and you'll honestly never know if it was done right until you have someone that isn't you read through the story.

One of my favorite forms of foreshadowing is the play on words, especially when it comes to character names. I've brought this up before when I talked about naming your characters, and this is where it will make or break certain aspects of your story. This is something that if done correctly your readers won't even notice until the reveal happens, and it is magical. In one of my current projects I have two characters that do this, I won't say which ones, but trust me, they're there. The example I'll actually give you is one that I think everyone should at least know (and if you don't...the Statue of Limitations on this is over, so I'm sorry, but yeah.) In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban there's Professor Lupin, about a third of the way through the book/movie, Snape gives a lesson about werewolves and how they work, you see that Profession Lupin is afraid of moonlight, and then BAM time to kick ass and be awesome. Or flip out and kill stuff (as werewolves are wont to do.) My point is that everything about the character was either a play on his name, or foreshadowing for the scene at the end of the story.

Whenever you put something in there specifically for foreshadowing, remember that to you it's going to feel obvious. I can't stress this enough. That doesn't mean don't put it in there because you're afraid of everyone just jumping on it right away and knowing everything about what's going to happen. That means put it in there, then have someone read the story, remember beta-readers are important and (may actually be) your friends. They are the people that tell you what works and what doesn't, and possibly how to make it work. So go crazy with your foreshadowing, make references to mysterious things that haven't happen, or won't happen until another book in the series, do it, because it makes people pay attention to what's happening.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again and putting us over our 2000 view goal! I really appreciate it! I look forward to seeing everyone back here this Friday for the weekly review, then it's off to the weekend and my attempt at being social Saturday morning. See you all then, have a good rest of your week!

Update: Accidental foreshadowing is totally a legit art form.

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