Friday, September 6, 2013

Foreshadowing is Fun!

So I might as well call the current chapter I'm working on "Cryptic Messages About the Future" because I forgot just how chock-full of foreshadowing it is.  Foreshadowing is one of my favorite mechanisms because it's a long con.  The longer you can pull it off, the greater the cash in is when you yank back the curtain.  Also helps keep the dreaded deus ex machina beast at bay.

One thing I've run into that's worth taking notes on: take notes.  There's a few bits that are obviously foreshadowing something but I can't for the life of me remember what.  Kind of defeats the purpose to deliver a strange and leading line and never know for yourself where it was supposed to go.  So remember to jot down what your cryptic bits are intended to point to, especially with a larger project like my Towers of Adrala.

The tricky part is to be cryptic enough to make it past both the readers and your characters (nothing like a character looking the other way just to fulfill a plot tool) yet understandable enough that your readers feel like they should have figured it out.  In hindsight, of course.  Christopher Nolan and Isaac Asimov are great individuals to study for this; The Prestige and Foundation are both excellent stories brimming with foreshadowing.

Even if you're not one for puzzling lines of prose, foreshadowing is an essential part of any story.  Every critical plot point must be referred to earlier in the story to avoid your readers feeling cheated.  Don't be the guy that deus' up his machina.

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