What a cop out to write about foreshadowing, right? But it took me a really long time to realize how some authors must do it. I used to think they had the whole idea thought out, plotted, and mapped beforehand. That must be how they do it! They knew what they were going to do from start to finish! Only recently did I realize how simple can be. It’s not about planning ahead; it’s about looking back later after many key scenes have been written. It all seems so logical. At least deliberate foreshadowing does. Because sometimes things don’t really mean anything. (“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”) But when it is deliberate and the author trusts the reader to pick up on it, an amazing thing happens. You take an idea, a motif, a scene, a theme, a symbol, a fear, an event, and you revisit it. Whether or not it was planned in the beginning doesn’t matter. When a reader’s suspicions of foreshadowing are confirmed, they feel like they are a character in the story. They knew what was going to happen! If only there was a way to tell the other characters sooner! They realize it took them too long to recognize how significant that little piece of foreshadowing was in the beginning. And the reader starts to think that the author had it all planned out all along.
December 30, 2012