Have you ever read a novel or short story and when you came to the end of it realized that the author had been hinting at the ending all along? This is effective foreshadowing.
As I have been editing my novel, The Four Crystals, I have been trying to sprinkle foreshadowing throughout the story without making the ending too obvious. It’s hard!
Below are three articles about foreshadowing and how to correctly incorporate it into your own writing.
For a quick overview of how to foreshadow, read “Narrative Elements: Foreshadowing” on Author’s Craft.
For some suggestions and examples of how to foreshadow, read “Nine Examples of Foreshadowing in Fiction” by Harvey Chapman.
For a longer explanation of what foreshadowing is, a list of common literary methods used to foreshadow, and an exercise to help you spot bad foreshadowing (referred to in the post as “telegraphing,” but what I like to call “oversharing”), read “Foreshadowing – The Guide To Hooking Readers” by Mladen Reljanović.
The main thing to remember about foreshadowing is that it should be subtle, like the aroma of food preparing you for a big meal. Two pitfalls to avoid are oversharing and not following through on foreshadowing (this does not apply to deliberate red herrings). Oversharing is like shoving food down someone’s throat. They don’t enjoy it. Equally bad is foreshadowing something and then not following through. This is like seeing a restaurant, smelling the food cooking, and then being told the restaurant is closed for the day. You leave the restaurant dissatisfied and angry.
Happy writing and good luck foreshadowing!