Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Foreshadowing and the Red Herring
Little details threaded into your story can add an element of foreshadowing and raises questions in the readers mind. Foreshadowing offers the reader hints of things to come. For example, if you're writing a story about Sophia's wedding day, and the TV is on in the background as she gets ready for the rehearsal dinner and the weatherman announces chance for "scattered thundershowers tomorrow" this foreshadows a less than ideal wedding day.
Hints provided by foreshadowing raise interest as the reader wants to see how things turn out as the plot develops. Foreshadowing can be broad and easily understood, like the example above, or more complex with a number of things that must be connected to make the plot work. In longer works like novels, it's fun to mix things up with some deliberately false hints which are known as red herrings. This keeps things less predictable as your readers' minds follow your hints in the wrong direction. Mysteries are famous for this, but it doesn't always have to be a mystery.
Write a story that includes red herring foreshadowing. Here are a few ideas:
*Following a treasure map--does X really mark the spot?
*Mr. Right--or is he Mr. Wrong?
*Who dun it?