Foreshadowing with Buffy

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’d like to discuss a writing device that is both well-known and troublesome to use: foreshadowing.

What is foreshadowing?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is “a warning or indication of a future event”. In literature, it is a way to “prepare readers for what will happen later in the story” (K.M. Weiland) by planting a clue (an image, an idea, a character, an event) that will only turn out to be important or make sense later in the narrative.

Buffy Dawn

Why should a writer use foreshadowing?

Foreshadowing gives depth to a story and helps make it plausible. When every part of your narrative falls into place at the end (as they should), the reader should have a “ha!” moment when he thinks: “I should have seen this coming!” And because he didn’t, he will marvel at your writing, and possibly re-read the book to find all the clues he missed the first time.

Buffy Death Season 5

How to use foreshadowing?

This is the hard part. If your clues are too blatant, the reader will quickly put two and two together and all suspense will be ruined. If the clues are too subtle, the reader won’t even remember them when he reaches the end. So the key here is to find the right balance. As for anything else when it comes to writing a good story, critique partners and beta readers will help you in finding this balance. They’ll be able to tell you: “this was too obvious”, or “what do you mean, you left clues?!”

Buffy_Doppelgangland

Any great examples of foreshadowing?

In literature, my favourite example of well-done foreshadowing is The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. But because only a few of you have read it, I’ll take my examples from Buffy instead. Joss Whedon is a MASTER at foreshadowing, and here is the proof…

Dark_Willow

Willow’s story arc: In season 3, Willow meets her vampire doppelgänger and says “I’m so evil and skanky. And I think I’m kinda gay.” In season 4 she will become openly gay and in season 6 she will turn evil and try to destroy the world.

Dawn’s arrival: from the beginning of season 4, there are clues in the dialogues to Dawn’s arrival in season 5.

Buffy’s death at the end of season 5 is predicted by Faith at the end of season 3 (two years in advance!) when she says: “Oh yeah. Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet counting down from seven three oh.” When she says this, Buffy will die in 730 days.

Do you use foreshadowing in your stories? How difficult are you finding it? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

And happy writing…

My Week in Review – ROW80 Check-In 1

Hello gentle reader,

It is time for the first check-in of this second round! I hope you had a good and productive week…

Quote of the Week

Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 2, Episode 7 “Lie To Me”)

Picture of the Week

M.LIN Nature - Snow

Photo by my friend M.LIN

Look! It’s springtime! (Or not)

ROW80 Check-In

ROW80 Logo

My goal for this round is to write every day. This week, I managed to write

every day!

Word Count of the Week

Camp NaNoWriMo 2013

My goal during CampNaNoWriMo is to write 1500 words a day. This week I only managed to write an average of 1000 words a day.

Movie of the Week

From Hell

From Hell (2001)

I watched this movie for research (it’s about the Jack The Ripper murders in Whitechapel). It turned out to be a decent movie!

Good news of the week

DestinyGift-AMAZON-684x1024

This week my friend Juliana Haygert published her NA Paranormal Romance DESTINY GIFT! Find out more about it here.

Links of the Week

This week on my blog I wrote a recap of the SCBWI Europlitan Conference.

On There And Draft Again, I discussed Gender Bias in Fantasy novels.

On her blog, Carissa Taylor talked about rejection in a fantastic post quoting best-selling YA authors.

The amazing Summer Heacock also wrote a blog post entitled When You Wish Upon A Book… and you should read it!

Next week

Next week I’m attending the London Book Fair! Stay tuned for a recap…

How was your week? Make sure to share your writing progress and what inspired you this week in the comment section below!