Thinking About Foreshadowing

Let’s look at foreshadowing this week. Foreshadowing is when an author gives a warning of a future event. The purpose is to build suspense, and there are some things to consider in using it properly. You will need to decide how it fits your story best.

Use it subtly. Foreshadowing may be something in the fabric of your writing that is noticeable but not glaring. The reader must notice it. Otherwise, it has no purpose. At the end of the novel, do you want your reader to look back and think, “Oohhhhh! I get it now!” Well, then be subtle.

Use it boldly. Without dwelling on it, make your point obvious. Let the reader know there is a reason for it and build enough curiosity to keep your audience turning pages. But please – don’t overdo it.

Make it relevant. Not every plot-point needs foreshadowing. Too much foreshadowing can cause your writing to appear silly, or worse yet, melodramatic. Use it sparingly, and make sure there is the payoff, that point where the foreshadowing is recognized.

Done well, foreshadowing will excite your reader. It will make him want to know how the pieces connect. It will prepare her for when the foreshadowing pays off.

Add it later. So you finished your rough draft and you’re revising. You can always add a touch of foreshadow after the fact. You can always remove foreshadowing, too. Just remember, if it serves no purpose, ditch it, and be sure not to overdo it.

Next Wednesday will be here before we know it. See you then!!!


8 thoughts on “Thinking About Foreshadowing

    • How about, “Sally purchased a new gun. She doubted she’d ever use it. Still, she kept it under pillow”. That being said, if she truly was never going to use it, that statement is better left out as it has nothing to do with the story. The idea is at some point she will use it, but your reader doesn’t know how. when, or where. Hopefully, they keep reading to find out. It foreshadows an event yet to happen. Hope that helps.


  1. As a mystery writer, I am always aware of foreshadowing. It’s a tight rope we walk when foreshadowing. We don’t want to give too much away, but still we want to hold the interest of the reader and keep pointing them forward. Anyway, good information here, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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