1. Jessicalove08
    Offline

    Jessicalove08 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0

    When to foreshadow

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jessicalove08, Nov 10, 2008.

    My friend said that the first chapter is when you should foreshadow what's going to happen in the story. But I said that it was to introduce the characters and setting. Although now I'm asking myself when is it right to foreshadow the story? I mean is it right to show some foreshading in the first chapter? I know there's no right or wrong answer? But is it something that needs to be done properly? I mean how do you guys approach this? Do you like to just introduce the characters or do some foreshading? I'm writing a young lesbian adult fiction and I want to know is it good for the genre to foreshadow? So what do you think? Just curious.
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Foreshadowing can take place anywhere in a story. I tend to prefer it to be subtle. But your first order of business in any story is to get the reader involved right away, and that usually means getting to see a character in action.

    In a vovel I'm working on, I do have a prologue which foreshadows a key event that happens near the middle of the story, but it also is there to begin to indicate a character's extraordinarily long lifespan before showing his early days, and to establich from the start that the story is not just going to play out in the distant past.

    Normally, foreshadowing is best in the form of small parallels: the boy who will grow up to be an astronoaut watching the movie Forbidden Planet, for example.
     
  3. AnonyMouse
    Online

    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,224
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    The first chapter should give a good idea of what kind of story it will be. Whether or not foreshadowing is necessary depends on the pacing of your plot. Some works take a while to get up to speed. The last thing you want is a boring first chapter, so use a little foreshadowing to remind the reader that things really take off later on.

    Not every story begins with a bang. Some prefer a conveniently-placed powder keg. The expectation of what is about to happen can hold readers.
     
  4. Dcoin
    Offline

    Dcoin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NYC
    I don't like to show my cards so early in the hand. There is so many other points to hit regarding the establishment of a solid beginning that repeated doses of foreshadowing seems a little much.

    I like Cog’s idea of softy foreshadowing a large event that takes place in the book, but to even hint at the ending might tip off savvy readers.
     
  5. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    I tend to start my novels with a bang, something that is happening in the present for the MC then I jump back in time and work my way back up to the present. Once that is done, I then continue on until the end of the novel. It's all about your style and what kind of story you're writing.
     
  6. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    I usually use foreshadowing whenever I see that it fits in. If I know a character will die, I may put hints of that subtly in. But these foreshadowings can go completely unnoticed by the audience until after the event foreshadowed happens. I think that is a sign of effective foreshadowing. The reader should be like, "Oh, how could I have not picked up on that?" For example, in my serial, a boy who dies has his death foreshadowed multiple times in many seemingly regular uplifting and just basic youthful scenes. One such example is a "heartbeat" scene during a camping trip and another is a video taken during Christmas. Both scenes in hindsight can be seen as foreshadowing of his death but at the time, they may go totally unnoticed. That to me, if it works, is foreshadowing well down and what I often strive to do.

    For my novel, the first chapter is basically the events that happen five years before the story that set up the rest of the story. There is a lot of foreshadowing in the first chapter as well as throughout the story. But I did want the ending to take readers totally by surprise so I made it all very subtle and never gave away the twist at the end, although it is hinted at possibly.

    I think you can use foreshadowing whenever you see fit. Subtle foreshadows here and there can be very effective if done right.

    Well, that's my 2 cents.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I would not foreshadow something that you expect to surprise the reader with later on. Rather, I would foreshadow what the reader already knows or suspects - that the urchin who keeps his cool against the gang of Amsterdam thugs will someday be a brilliant and renowned strategist, or the waitress on the run from a killing machine has the survival instincts to make her yet-unborn son the leader of the resistance whjen the time comes.

    Foreshadowing in this way is akin to metaphor - it enriches the writing, but is not intended as a way of dropping clues.
     
  8. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    I think that kind of foreshadowing is good if it goes unnoticed. Grant it, this is harder to pull off. But I think if you pull it off, it can be really good. Cause that way, in hindsight, the reader could see the setup. But before hand, the reader probably wouldn't pick up on it. I've found this to be the case before with stuff that I have read and with the reactions to readers of stuff I have written. But that's just my take on it.
     
  9. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    Show has it spot on. The most effective foreshadowing is that which the reader only notices in retrospect. ("Oh! So THAT'S what that meant!")

    I like to use a tiny bit of foreshadowing regarding the main plot in the first chapter/prologue, but only a little, because the reader has to get interested in the story from the start and one can't give too much away. But it just gives the story a rounder feeling to me, if the beginning ties in somehow to the end. (Not really in terms of plot or how it's written, but just in the beginning containing the seed of what happens toward the end.)

    I think if there's NO foreshadowing of any sort in the first chapter, I might get a reaction of, why should I care about this story or these people? What's at stake? Sometimes the mere introduction of the main plot or the main character's complication is enough foreshadowing, so don't think it has to be really obvious or prescient.

    Plus there are various things that can be foreshadowed. They can be minor things or major things, and depending on where they happen in the plot or how important they are, when and how the foreshadowing will take place will vary.

    If you're just starting out in writing and have no clue how to pull off effective foreshadowing though, maybe you could save it for later in the story. You can always work it into the story in a rewrite. Some writers might just have to work that way.
     

Share This Page