1. Vofzolne
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    Vofzolne Member

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    How to foreshadow a character coming back to life?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Vofzolne, Jan 27, 2015.

    Title says it all. I've scowered the web for general ideas, and haven't found too much about this subject.
    I mean, foreshadowing a death is easy. But how would you foreshadow a non-magical reanimation?
     
  2. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mean a scientifically-produced one? Have somebody overhear a colleague talking about the possibility in the corridor of the University Science building?
     
  3. Vofzolne
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    Vofzolne Member

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    Nice idea. In my specific case, there was no death at all. A character thought to be dead is not.

    But I'm talking about general resurrection. If a story will pose a character coming back to life, how should the fact that this might happen could be conveyed to the reader.
     
  4. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    *Wonders to self: Should I drive my Mack truck through that opening?*

    Well, thinking of true resurrection (meaning coming back to life in a transformed body, never to die again) and not mere reanimation or revivification, that thought has been very nicely conveyed in the The Gospel of John, the 1st Letter to the Corinthians, and the Book of Revelation, among other places. :whistle:

    *Runs and gets under shelter quickly*
     
  5. MattyDean
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    MattyDean Active Member

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    Sometimes you don't have to be explicit in your foreshadowing. Sometimes suggesting the opposite (doubling down on death being final in a vague way) can get the reader to wonder and come to the conclusion you want.
    And you don't get to come back. Billy Shakes would say, 'From whose bourn no traveller returns', and he'd probably be right.
    If a character isn't dead, but is believed to be by other characters or the reader, you could voice disbelief of their actual death from another character's point of view.
    So-and-so was distraught over Whatsername's death. She really couldn't believe she'd never see her again.
    (of course you'd word it better than this silly internet example, but you get the drift)
     
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  6. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    One of my MC's ends up impaled by his father then comes back. I have him go through an internal memory phase where he knows hes dying, but when the darkness closes in he just can't give up and fights to protect the girl in the story. Cheezy i know, but then who gets impaled by a sword impued to protect, rather than to kill often?

    Pretty much said sword is not solid when it impales him, floods his body with energy instead, and he bounces back after everyone thinks hes dead.
     
  7. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it very much depends upon the nature of the resurrection. If it is caused by a god or gods then it should be trivial for them to supply "signs", visions, prophets, and the whole usual list of suspects.

    If it is some kind of magic or occult, then perhaps mention of the spell or process, rumours, reference in a book or grimoire, mention that a wizard expressed an interest in the dead person and so on.

    If it is an SF style one, then there could be all sorts of modern indications. Messages on Twitter, cryptic white papers by a scientist known to be working on the subject, stolen body, etc.
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're dealing not so much with resurrection as with someone who was only presumed dead - you probably have most of the foreshadowing you need inasmuch as you never see the character die. That, it itself, is huge. I'm planning something like that, and obviously the guy is alive the whole time - so while he drops out of the story I would think that the lack of death or good evidence of death is a really big red flag just by itself.
     
  9. Vofzolne
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    Vofzolne Member

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    Nice idea. From one extremity to the other, but still staying extreme.

    This could be difficult (A challenge!), if one character voices disbelief and the others pay no mind, the reader will easily identify the upcoming twist.
    - Are you sure he's dead?
    -He fell off a cliff. Of course he's dead.
    *Reader rolls eyes*


    Holy... I haven't even thought of using that. I mean, the character that didn't die was in the midst of a massacre of characters who did die, so I didn't have to show every single body. But the fact they didn't find that particular body could raise flags. Either for better, or for revision.
     
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  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm also reminded of the "death" of the character "The Hound" on Game of Thrones - I haven't read the books (although from what I gather it's basically the same thing there) but on the TV show, The Hound is mortally wounded and dying and then tells his companion to leave him die in peace. She walks away and leaves him dying in the field, but she's the main character in that storyline so you follow her instead of him. It's implied that, absent something drastic happening, he's going to die in relatively short order, but you don't see it happen...which has led to the fact that pretty much EVERYONE now thinks the character is either going to turn up alive, or possibly that he already has with a new identity.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I remain unclear what you mean, not actually killed vs killed but reanimated, vs magical but not magical rising from the dead.

    But one way to foreshadow a character's return from any kind of absence is to have people think they saw him but be unsure.
     
  12. Vofzolne
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    Vofzolne Member

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    Of course, he could not turn up alive because his end is sorta open for interpretation.
    Makes me think. If you want a character to turn up alive, you must making his death seem final, but when he actually turns up alive the readers would curse themselves for not considering his survival.
    Basically, have a vague death that does not seem vague.

    I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you meant (Kinda ironic lol).

    Hmm. Could work in cahoots with characters dealing with a close one's death. A man thinks he saw his wife in a crowd, but it turns out to be someone else. Later she turns up dead.
    Alternatively, it could work with a non-quite-dead antagonist.[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think what Ginger means is more the "I saw Elvis, working in our local Supermarket".
     
  14. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could also work the fakeout by falsely foreshadowing his death as a red herring. Dig him a nice open grave for the reader to see and then forget to throw him in it at the last minute. I'm thinking about pulling one of those by really obviously setting up one of my characters to be killed in a gang hit and then accidentally throwing her best friend into that grave instead of her.
     
  15. Vofzolne
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    Vofzolne Member

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    I love this one. Let the readers believe themselves clever, and their own intelligence will trick them.

    That's just smart foreshadowing.
     
  16. Sarah Everheart
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    Sarah Everheart New Member

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    My tips on forshadowing reanimation? Hm... Jesus imagry. Jesus works good. like blatant amounts of it. Perhaps having confliction forshadowings. A gypsy saying "A dark shadow hangs over your head." But at the same time says "The two of you will have a long happy life together." Or perhaps if you really wanted to, I would say... Bad Omens coupled with drilled in aid from friends. That bad omen of birds flocking, stars falling, grass breaking, but at the same time someone close to them is saying nonstop "The two of us will get out of here together." Just some more thoughts.
     
  17. MattyDean
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    MattyDean Active Member

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    From 'Rome' (the HBO series)

    Mark Antony: I shall be a good politician, even if it kills me... or anybody else, for that matter

    Now, delivered, it was an undercut line. It was subtle and didn't make waves for a first-time-watcher. But upon second watching, this was heavy foreshadowing. Think, maybe, about the appreciation of very subtle hints.
     
  18. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    Detail the characters death and have him come back to life when they start to do an autopsy later in the story. As soon as the scalpel starts to cut, have him sit up and yell. "WTF are you doing?"
     
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  19. Vofzolne
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    Vofzolne Member

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    ROFL
     

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