Monday, May 14, 2012


Foreshadowing, as defined by, means “to show or indicate beforehand; prefigure.”

Foreshadowing allows for the writer to turn rather innocuous or unimportant details into something that carries significance at the end of the work because of the way they move the story along and/or affect the characters. Two things are key: Atmosphere and symbolism. Atmosphere allows the reader to get a feel of the mood, what emotions they should feel for the character and what sort of importance this place or overall mood has on the character itself.

Foreshadowing often works hand-in-hand with the symbolic meanings of things, people or events according to that characters universe; or with the characters own desires and fears, as a way for the writer to “tell the future” of that event or character without spoiling the journey.

But in order to foreshadow future events, you must first have a plan. A set up. Like building a house, you must have a foundation before you can begin on anything else. With foreshadowing, your foundation is what you want to foreshadow. Do you want to foreshadow a death? A character having to face a fear? A character having to do something in order to reach his goal? Or maybe you want to foreshadow a big revelation that throws everything off track?

A good film that shows a form of simple foreshadowing and a character overcoming his obstacle to continue his journey, is Disney’s The Haunted Mansion. In it, the main character’s son is afraid of spiders and won’t squish one on his bedroom window with a rolled up magazine. Later on in the film, the main character and his daughter are trapped in the mausoleum where they had to search for a key to solve the mystery of the mansion. When the door closes, trapping them inside with zombies that have come alive, wanting the key back, the son must open the door. Only problem is, big spiders crawl out of the door and he doesn’t want to get near them. In order to save his father and sister from the zombies, he has to face his fear of spiders and open the door.

Whatever it is, you must scatter clues early in the manuscript in order for any future events concerning those clues to have any sort of impact. In her blog post about foreshadowing, blogger Debz Hobbs-Wyatt says: “…Don’t draw the reader’s attention to something, some aspect of a character’s personality, like a phobia of spiders, if you don’t draw on it later.”

It might take a few drafts, but, if done subtly, foreshadowing also allows you to reveal things about a character, using bits and pieces of backstory to foreshadow reactions and fears that may lead to certain decisions and actions later in the novel.

Foreshadowing can incite many emotions but there are three chief emotion “types” of foreshadowing:

1. Doubt/ Dread: The foreshadowing that incites doubt or dread, like any scene in the novel, should fit with the character and situation. This type should be foreboding, incite worry for the character.

An example of that type of foreshadowing is shown in Suzanne Collins’s YA dystopian fantasy, The Hunger Games, when Katniss tells her little sister, Primrose, that she won’t be picked for the Reaping and sent to die in the Hunger Games, where children are forced to kill each other for the entertainment of the public. The reader feels Katniss’s dread about Prim being chosen for the Games—but this foreshadows Prim’s name being chosen and Katniss’s choice to go in her place.

2. Excitement/Anticipation: This type is the kind of foreshadowing that makes people curious as to how things connect, how this symbol, event, or character, associates with the rest of the story. Most often, this foreshadowing is used to indirectly suggest an outcome for a character or event.

An example of this type of foreshadowing occurs early in Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy, The Wheel of Time, in book one The Eye of the World. In it, Moiraine, an Aes Sedai—a magician who can wield the One Power—tells Egwene, an innkeeper's daughter from the village of Emond`s Field who can wield the One Power, that she “…may go far. Perhaps even the Amyrlin Seat one day, if you study hard and work hard.” The Amyrlin Seat, while also being a chair where the head of the Aes Sedai sits, is also the title given to them, likened to a king or queen. Much later in the series, just as Moiraine said, Egwene does become leader of the Aes Sedai order.

3. Surprise/Shock: This type of foreshadowing often comes with a huge revelation or an event that the character didn’t expect. With a reader, the foreshadowing specifically for that moment will often come during the second time reading the novel as they see what led up to the climax, what clues they were given by the writer to try and piece together the character’s journey.

An example of this is in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third novel in the Harry Potter series. For this example, I’ll only be using the events from the film adaptation as it’s been a while since I’ve read the novel and do not currently have it on hand. In both the novel and the film, Hermione seems to be taking two classes at the same time and managing to be present for each. Ron and Harry can’t figure out how she can be in two places at one time. It’s revealed near the end of the film, that Hermione has been using a Time Turner—a device that allows the user to go back in time—in order to take two classes in the same time slot. Using the Time Turner, Harry and Hermione travel back to save a supposedly “dangerous” Hippogriff, named Buckbeak, from being slaughtered. Using Buckbeak’s ability to fly, the pair are also able to retrieve Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, from Azkaban.

Earlier in the film, the event that foreshadows the use of the Time Turner itself, is when Harry, Hermione and Ron visit Hagrid and, somehow, end up being hit with thrown snail shells. When the Time Turner is used, Harry uses these shells (in much the same manner as before) to get the attention of his “alternate timeline” self, thus changing the outcome of many events.

Have you noticed examples of foreshadowing in the books you’ve been reading? If so, what are some of the types you've seen?

- HC


  1. Malaysia & Singapore & brunei best internet blogshop for wholesale & supply korean accessories, earrings, earstuds, choker, rings,
    bracelet, hair & trinket accessories. Promotion 35 % wholesale discount. Ship Worldwide
    My web-site ; salt lake city locksmith

  2. Whats up this is kind of of off topic but I
    was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Take a look at my site ; neucopia compensation plan

  3. I think the admin of this web page is really working hard in favor of his web page, because here every
    data is quality based information.
    My web site :: web hosting delhi

  4. Hi there, all is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing
    facts, that's really excellent, keep up writing.

    Here is my website ... book promotion

  5. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that
    over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    my weblog; Kris Letang Jersey

  6. Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    my blog post: Mario Lemieux Authentic Jersey

  7. I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I'm not very internet savvy so I'm not 100% certain.
    Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Appreciate it

    Look at my webpage: Cheap NFL Jerseys

  8. Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    Feel free to visit my web blog; Nike Air Max

  9. Hi I am so glad I found your site, I really found you by
    error, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for
    a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the
    theme/design), I don't have time to look over it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great work.

    Here is my web page; Air Jordan Femme

  10. Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon
    it ;) I'm going to revisit yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    Also visit my web site; Michael Kors Handbags

  11. whoah this weblog is wonderful i really like studying your posts.
    Keep up the great work! You realize, lots of persons are hunting around for this info,
    you can aid them greatly.

    Also visit my web page

  12. You could definitely see your skills in the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid
    to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

    My web-site NFL Jerseys Cheap

  13. This is a topic that is close to my heart... Thank you!
    Exactly where are your contact details though?

    my webpage NFL Jerseys Cheap

  14. Wow, that's what I was looking for, what a stuff! present here at this blog, thanks admin of this site.

    Feel free to visit my webpage: Louis Vuitton Bags

  15. Your mode of telling everything in this post
    is actually fastidious, every one be able to effortlessly know it, Thanks a lot.

    My weblog -

  16. I almost never leave a response, but after browsing a few of the remarks
    on "Foreshadowing". I actually do have a few questions for you
    if you do not mind. Could it be just me or do some of these comments look like they are
    left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are writing
    at other online sites, I'd like to follow you. Would you make a list of the complete urls of your social networking sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    my web site Louis Vuitton Bags

  17. I used to be able to find good advice from your blog articles.

    Have a look at my web page - Abercrombie Pas Cher

  18. Hi Dear, are you genuinely visiting this site on a regular basis, if so then you
    will without doubt take pleasant experience.

    My web-site Sac A main Guess

  19. If some one wishes expert view on the topic of blogging
    and site-building after that i advise him/her to pay a quick visit this website, Keep up the good job.

    My site :: Michael Kors

  20. Hey there would you mind letting me know which hosting company you're utilizing? I've
    loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.

    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a honest price?

    Cheers, I appreciate it!

    My homepage :: Louis Vuitton Handbags

  21. Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic however I'd figured I'd ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa?
    My website covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I
    think we could greatly benefit from each other. If
    you are interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the

    Here is my blog ...

  22. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing,
    great written and come with almost all significant infos.
    I'd like to see more posts like this .

    Here is my blog post: Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet

  23. After looking over a number of the blog posts on
    your web page, I truly like your way of blogging. I saved as
    a favorite it to my bookmark site list and
    will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and tell me how you

    My web site ... Recommended Reading

  24. I was able to find good advice from your blog articles.

    my blog post; Air Jordan Pas Cher

  25. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar onе and
    i wаs just wоndeгing if you get a lot of spam feedbаck?
    If so hoω do you stop іt, any ρlugіn
    οг anуthing уou can ѕuggest?
    I get so much lately it's driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    Also visit my homepage: diamondlinks review

  26. This is my first time visit at here and i am actually pleassant to read all at one place.

    Look into my web-site Evgeni Malkin Authentic Jersey

  27. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. Many thanks

    Here is my web page: Chaussure Air Max

  28. Howdy would you mind letting me know which hosting company you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely
    different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Kudos, I appreciate it!

    My homepage visit this link

  29. Excellent blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I'd really like to be a part of community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

    My page Christian Louboutin UK

  30. hello there and thank you for your info – I have certainly picked up anything new from right here.
    I did however expertise a few technical points using this website, since I experienced to reload the site a lot of times
    previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high quality score if ads and marketing
    with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS
    to my email and could look out for much more of your respective fascinating content.
    Ensure that you update this again very soon.

    Look into my web blog; Nike Blazers

  31. Hello! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm definitely enjoying
    your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Also visit my homepage Louis Vuitton Pas Cher

  32. This post is invaluable. Where can I find out more?

    my website: web site

  33. Great post.

    Here is my web-site :: KD Basketball Shoes

  34. Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious opinion, paragraph is good, thats why
    i have read it fully

    Here is my web-site: Soldes Air Jordan

  35. bookmarked!!, I like your website!

    Also visit my web-site :: Kobe Bryant Shoes []

  36. Umm... an example may be 'stay where u are and then leave.'
    But thx very helpful



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...