A Cynic's Guide To Foreshadowing

In which Keri Payton of Quill Cafe book reviews offers a reader’s tongue-in-cheek advice on effective foreshadowing—NOT!

10 Steps to Anticipated Surprises

  1. Insert a character with seemingly no purpose at the beginning of the story. Have him show up at the climax or when there is a big reveal. The real reveal is that his purpose in the story is foreshadowing.

2. Have your protagonist read about or overhear certain information. Is there a rumoured Special Powered One? Surprise, surprise when it turns out to be your protagonist.

3. Use the weather and setting to reflect the upcoming mood of the scene. Bonus cliché marks if it rains and then your character receives really bad news.

4. Have a wizened mentor suggest at something ominous but not tell your protagonist anything substantial until the climax. Regardless, your protagonist is amazed and shocked at the reveal, even though the old geezer could have just told him what was going on chapters back. Cheers.

5. There should be a useless looking object that your character gets stuck with. It should be so seemingly irrelevant that it can only be exceptionally relevant. Later, it saves your protagonist’s life.


Read the rest of the post, which includes 5 more tips, on Quill Cafe.

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