1. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    About foreshadowing...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by U.G. Ridley, Jun 22, 2016.

    How do you know when you have put too much foreshadowing into a story? How do you know if the reader can too easily guess where the story is going by catching on to the hints you've laid out? As the actuall writer of the story, I've found that it can be kinda hard to know when the foreshadowing and hints at certain plot points are too obvious and when they aren't, since I already know what the foreshadowing is supposed to hint towards already. How do I make foreshadowing feel dynamic and natural and not forced?

    I want the foreshadowing in my stories to give the reader the sense that something is coming, without knowing exactly what it is, and sometimes not even realize the foreshadowing is even there. This is in hopes that if the reader likes the book enough to read it more than once, they will realize what certain little things early on in the story means, giving them a whole new appreciation for the little details and the story as a whole.
     
  2. Fable Headed
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    Fable Headed Member

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    All i can say about foreshadowing is that it is like a camera work while shooting a movie. You lay out the things you will need, somewhere in the start to establish it so that it won't look like that something has fallen out of the sky.

    You just have to do it to fool the reader to make him believe in something that is unbelievable, as you have made bits of info scattered throughout your story so that when the reader comes to the main thing and he thinks it is not possible, his mid reminds him of few parts he already know thanks to your info. and that tricks his mind and eventually him in believing that the thing is not fake because he knows about it ( mind trust something that is familiar ).

    So, you just put the bits somewhere in your story and use them later without thinking if the reader will get it or not, because readers are very intelligent now days, they will get it. They like when some things force them to use their minds.

    if done correctly and if all threads are tied up, then they will most probably get the foreshadowing.
     
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  3. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not so much how much as how you present it. And presentation of any element that's important to the third act needs to be done out of context.

    Remember the movie Aliens? In the third act, Ripley fights the alien queen in hand-to-hand combat with the aid of a loader. But the loader is established out of context:

    When Burke comes to Ripley's apartment to enlist her, he mentions that the only job she can get is on the docks driving a loader.

    Later, while the marines are loading (or maybe unloading) their gear...
    Ripley: Is there anything I can do?
    Sarge: I don't know. Is there anything you can do?
    Ripley: I can drive that loader.

    Out of context.

    In the third act, when we see Ripley appear driving the loader, we know she's found a way to even the odds while fighting the alien queen. We already know she can drive it and that she managed to impress Sarge with her skills, so she must be pretty good with it.
    And when Ripley says, "Get away from her, you bitch!" we know what she's up to.

    When the element is introduced in context.

    In the story of William Tell, let's say old Bill makes a habit of shooting an apple off his son's head. So, in the third act, when the evil (prince? king? rich bastard? whoever it was) orders him to do it again, we know he's gonna pull it off.

    To cite the Aliens example again, the introduction of the loader grew naturally out of Ripley having been grounded (she lost her pilot's license). That lead to her getting work on the docks which lead to her knowing how to drive the loader.

    I suspect the first question they asked themselves was: How do we make Ripley a physical match for the alien queen in hand-to-hand combat? Once they came up with the loader as a concept, they worked backwards to figure out why she'd know how to use one, then worked in the scenes to show her skills with it.

    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  4. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    It can be a little in context as long as it's covered up by a different plot element at the same time.

    My example would be from Jaws:

    *Brody is instructed to drop a chum marker and knocks over Hooper's scuba tanks*
    Hooper: Dammit, Martin! This is compressed air!
    Brody: Well, what the hell kind of a knot was that?
    Hooper: You pulled the wrong one. You screw around with these tanks, and they're gonna blow up!
    Quint: Yeah, that's real fine expensive gear you brought out here, Mr. Hooper. 'Course I don't know what that bastard shark's gonna do with it, might eat it I suppose. Seen one eat a rockin' chair one time. Hey chieffy, next time you just ask me which line to pull, right?

    Here the writers appear to be foreshadowing to the explosion at the end of the film, but the main plot point being addressed here is how inept Brody is in the situation as well as the class gap between Hooper and Quint.
     
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  5. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    That definitely helps! I especially appreciate you showing me what you mean with actuall examples! Thanks for the help!
     
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