Monday, June 17, 2013

Tool # 29: Foreshadow dramatic events and powerful conclusions.

. . .Plant important clues early.

Today I am featuring another chapter tidbit from Roy Peter Clark's book,
"Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer," published by Little, Brown and Company. You can find a copy here.

Not long ago, I saw a movie that reminded me of the power of foreshadowing. Clues planted early in the story offers what a dictionary definition describes as "vague advance indications" of important future events.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, terrible events are reversed at the end when Hermione reveals to Harry her ability to travel back in time by means of a charm she wears around her neck, a time turner. On first viewing, the plot twist comes as a surprise. Watching the film a second time, I notice how often the director makes reference to time, especially in visual images of huge pendulums and giant clockworks.
For novels and movies, it may require several readings or viewings to appreciate all the effects of foreshadowing. . .

In dramatic literature, this technique inherits the name Chekov's Gun. In a letter he penned in 1889, Russian playwright Aton Chekhov wrote: "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it."

Hmmmmmmm. . . definitely food for thought!

Now, try one of Roy's Workshop activities:

• Until now, you may not have noticed the technique of foreshadowing in movies, fiction and dramatic literature. Now that you have a name for it, look for examples.

Do you use foreshadowing in your writing??


  1. I do use foreshadowing in my writing. The trick is keeping it subtle.


I would love to have you comment...thanks!

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel