Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Is Foreshadowing in Writing?

Today's writing prompt will work to develop foreshadowing through the use of a sunrise or sunset. But as you write it, don't use the word sunrise or sunset. Instead, I challenge you to show it -- show whether it is morning or evening.

Foreshadoing sunrise

What Is Foreshadowing in Writing?

Foreshadowing Poster
Foreshadowing Poster

In writing, foreshadowing is a literary device that refers to words or phrases that serve as hints. I like to think of it as a trail of "breadcrumbs" that work as hints that pique interest and set the stage for a story to unfold. These hints raise questions in the reader's mind and create a trail of possibilities that lead them to think that something is going to happen. However, the hint does not reveal anything for sure. Instead of spoiling the suspense, foreshadowing adds to it.

Today's Writing Prompt


Foreshadowing Sunset
By their inherent characteristics, sunrises and sunsets represent a beginning or an end, but by showing them, a writer can create an element of foreshadowing. For example, in a vampire story the sunrise works like a ticking clock. If the sunlight touches the vampire it will die. But if the sun is setting, it marks the awakening of the monster that lives off the blood of innocent unsuspecting victims.

Beyond vampire stories the sun can still be used for foreshadowing. If the sun rises brightening fog that lays like a shroud over a tiny village, the word "shroud" creates an eerie sense that something could go wrong in that tiny village. Or that something has already gone wrong and is still hidden beneath the shroud.

Likewise, if the sun sets behind a bank of dark storm clouds lined up like an enemy army, it offers a hint that the night could be filled with trouble. But it doesn't have to portend trouble or danger. Foreshadowing can also be a way to introduce a lighthearted or happy scene. For instance, the way the morning rays of sunlight dance like petals of color on the surface of the small lake foreshadows something more playful, or happy.

Write a scene that incorporates a sunrise or sunset and an element of foreshadowing of things to come.
Wired for Story

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Photo credit: pixabay, pxhere

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

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