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Foreshadowing

PotomacBob

I would welcome a discussion about foreshadowing. What is it and how does it work. Are there examples on SOL?

awnlee jawking

@PotomacBob

Look at the "Codes will be updated as story progresses" thread. It drifted into a discussion of foreshadowing.

AJ

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@awnlee jawking

How do I search for a particular thread?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@PotomacBob

What is it and how does it work


1. It's used to build suspense.

2. It keeps the reader reading because it's letting them know that some exciting things are coming.

3. It prepares the reader for a turn in the plot that would be unlikely without the foreshadow.

An example? In my novel "Sexual Awakening," the cop is hunting down and murdering the men who raped his sister. Throughout the novel, his death is foreshadowed. He knows there's rarely a perfect murder so he expects to be caught. He won't commit to a long-term relationship with his girlfriend because he thinks it would be unfair to her (since he won't be around long-term). He knows he would never hurt another cop so he believes that when he's caught he would kill himself. He also feels that way about going to prison because cops don't do too well in prison. All of that is foreshadowing his death.

But that doesn't mean it has to come true. You'll have to read the novel to find out what happens to him. :)

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Switch Blayde

Thank you very much for your response. I did not find a story by you titled "Sexual Awakening" on SOL. Where can I find it?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Geek of Ages

Not this again! 🤦‍♂️

Switch Blayde

@PotomacBob

I did not find a story by you titled "Sexual Awakening" on SOL. Where can I find it?


That's why I put the "smiley" at the end of, "You'll have to read the novel to find out what happens to him."

The story isn't on SOL. It's a full-length novel for sale on Amazon. I wasn't promoting my novel, only using it as an example of foreshadowing.

PotomacBob

@Geek of Ages

Sorry if my question offended you. If you aware of where it was discussed previously, could you point me to it. I have been unable, by scrolling, to find the previous discussion mentioned "Codes will be updated as story progresses"

paliden

@PotomacBob

Copy the phrase

Codes will be updated as story progresses

into the search box on the "Search Forum Posts" page (its the last item listed on the Forum page).

Replies:   PotomacBob
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Geek of Ages

Not this again!

This isn't the usual 'I refuse to use foreshadowing because it's dumb' argument, instead it's a reader question to better understand things they might encounter in stories. Thus it's a legitimate question.

PotomacBob, Switch's description is very good. In many of my stories, there are central questions which the characters try to unfold, encountering various scenes along the way as they try to unravel the truth. Often, foreshadowing occurs as they try to predict what they're facing and several characters outline various scenarios. A couple will be shot down as unlikely (which helps the characters narrow their search), while several seem like sensible alternatives. The one which outlines the eventual outcome is 'foreshadowing', while the ones which don't occur are 'red herrings' or basically, false foreshadowings. The red herrings help to keep the reader guessing, while the foreshadowing isn't meant to make the ending obvious, only to provide enough information that, when it IS revealed in the end, the readers will think, "Oh, wow, I see it now. That does make sense."

In short, it's more about preparing the reader so they can comprehend the eventual ending. If the reader guesses the ending, then the author has failed. (Though, in a few of my stories, I broadcast that the character was dying, or likely to die, and readers felt cheated when they DID die, because they were hoping I would change my mind at the last minute. That's not foreshadowing, that developing a scenario.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Sorry if my question offended you. If you aware of where it was discussed previously, could you point me to it. I have been unable, by scrolling, to find the previous discussion mentioned "Codes will be updated as story progresses"

It's been discussed—with the usual author rancor—on the author forum, as each side squares off and argues whether it's a useful tool a a demonic force devoted to promoting bad writing.

That's why provoked the negative associations, as they were afraid it might start another mud-slinging match among the various SOL authors. :(

PotomacBob

@paliden

Thank you very much - I had missed entirely the "Search Forum Posts" page.

PotomacBob

Just a note of appreciation to all of you who responded to my query. I found the previous discussion. It took some time. I read it all. Though there were many disputes, there were at least enough samples for me to get a good idea what MIGHT be considered foreshadowing. Thank you to all.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

If foreshadowing is done properly the reader doesn't recognise what it is until it pops up again. Then they simply recognise it was something mentioned earlier.

Geek of Ages

@PotomacBob

Sorry, I'm not offended; it was more that there was just another argument about this not long ago (and I'm inattentive and don't much pay attention to which sub forum I'm reading)

The question about foreshadowing is not a bad one; but there are a lot of strong opinions about here that diverge on the semantic level. I feel like a better discussion about the topic would be had in a literature class.

As for examples here on SOL, I have done some foreshadowing in my story the Runaway. Currently some of it is obvious, some of it more subtle; and some has had payoff with what's published, and some hasn't. As for whether I've been skillful about it, opinions likely vary.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

In short, it's more about preparing the reader so they can comprehend the eventual ending. If the reader guesses the ending, then the reader has failed.

What a relief! For a moment I worried it could be the author's fault.

awnlee jawking

@PotomacBob

Sorry for a lack of a timely reply. I'm in the UK so my unhelpful response was virtually my last act before putting my PC to bed!

AJ

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

If the reader guesses the ending, then the reader has failed.

What a relief! For a moment I worried it could be the author's fault.


LOL I think that was a typo.

REP

@awnlee jawking

I'm in the UK so my unhelpful response was virtually my


What? I thought that the prior discussion defined you as a Barcelonian living in Spain. Did you move back to the UK? :)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@REP

Did you move back to the UK? :)

Since he called them Barcelonans he was probably evicted.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

In short, it's more about preparing the reader so they can comprehend the eventual ending. If the reader guesses the ending, then the reader has failed.

Oops! Typo-galooza!

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Just a note of appreciation to all of you who responded to my query. I found the previous discussion. It took some time. I read it all. Though there were many disputes, there were at least enough samples for me to get a good idea what MIGHT be considered foreshadowing. Thank you to all.

Just do us all a favor and just don't mention anaphoras. 'D

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

Like my Mom used to say, "Don't think about ice cream!"

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Like my Mom used to say, "Don't think about ice cream!"

Any time my mother used to say something like that, I'd purposely distract myself by thinking of something else, so I'd answer with: "then how about a hot fudge Sunday?"

It worked, just not in the way my mother envisioned.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

"then how about a hot fudge Sunday?"


I was wondering if you capitalize "Sunday" since you don't "French" in "french fries" so I googled it. Duh! It's "sundae."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I was wondering if you capitalize "Sunday" since you don't "French" in "french fries" so I googled it. Duh! It's "sundae."

You're definitely right on that one. I should have slowed down long enough to consider what I was typing! :(

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

I should have slowed down long enough to consider what I was typing!

That's always a good thing, not just in case of a hot fudge sundae.

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

When you repeated what I wrote, it appeared in shaded type. Can you tell me how you do that? (I would have just retyped it and put it in quotation marks, not knowing another method was available.)

Replies:   paliden  Ernest Bywater
paliden

@PotomacBob

If I understand your question correctly...

Highlight the phrase or sentence that you want to comment on and then click the reply button. (looks like the left turn sign)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@paliden

Also, there are a set of formatting buttons at the top of the comment editor.

i=Italics

b=Bold

link gives you a hotlink

EM, Not sure what this one does.

Strong, similar to bold


Quote, which gives you a block quote.


You can click these buttons once to place an open tag and again latter to place the close tag or you can select text you have already typed and then clicking the button will place both the open and close tags appropriately around the selected text.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

EM, Not sure what this one does.

EM is "emphasis", which is the same as italics, just as "Strong" is the same as bold. (They're older terms, largely abandoned, for the basic html formatting (back before every device could bold and or italic).

You can also use certain html commands, specifically to create the oddball characters that SOL supports but you can't type, such as "&" for the ampersand character (which is easy enough to type) or "—" for the em-dash character, a little trickier to create on a standard keyboard (though I doubt you'll ever need either one).

Chalk this up to "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Using the SOL Forum". 'D

Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

Can you tell me how you do that?


You highlight the section you want to quote, then click on the bent arrow in the bottom corner of the post being quoted from and it opens a Reply message box with the quote in it - the quote function does the rest after you type below the quote and hit send.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Other way around; bold and italic are the old ones. Emphasis and strong are the new ones. While from a printed text perspective, they're functionally equivalent (unless overrides in CSS), there's a huge difference when it comes to screen readers. Screen readers will interpret emphasis and strong and inflect the generated spoken text appropriately; but because italics and bold are used for different typographical things (e.g. book titles), screen readers don't do anything special.

(Also strictly speaking, I do believe you should use the cite tag when naming a book, which will apply the appropriate italics text. Choose tags that provide semantic meaning, rather than tags that indicate typography; you can get from the former to the latter easily, not so much the other way)

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Also, em-dashes are super easy to type. Here's one: —

I use them often in my writing.

On my phone, I just hold the hyphen key a moment, and can choose between a hyphen, en-dash, and em-dash (and separator dot). On my computer, it's just alt-shift-hyphen (and en-dash is alt-hyphen). Those are the built-in shortcuts (unlike how I jiggled around the key presses for quotes)

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

Also, em-dashes are super easy to type. Here's one: —

I use them often in my writing.

except some older browser won't render it properly, nor will some of the e-book readers.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Geek of Ages

On my phone, I just hold the hyphen key a moment, and can choose between a hyphen, en-dash, and em-dash (and separator dot). On my computer, it's just alt-shift-hyphen (and en-dash is alt-hyphen).


Cool, I didn't know that.

On the phone, you forgot to mention that, when holding down the hyphen, you have to slide your finger up and then to the right to choose which you want.

PotomacBob

Highlight the phrase or sentence that you want to comment on and then click the reply button. (looks like the left turn sign)


Like this?

Replies:   paliden
paliden

@PotomacBob

Yup, that's it.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@paliden

Cool!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

except some older browser won't render it properly, nor will some of the e-book readers.

Which is why I stressed entering the html commands, since those insert the device specific codes (Mac & PCs use different characters to represent most publishing characters).

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Cool!

Lazeez keeps supplying us all with all kind so neat toys. Not quite as many as several of us would prefer, but still, they come in handy.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Which is why I stressed entering the html commands, since those insert the device specific codes (Mac & PCs use different characters to represent most publishing characters).


I take the easier and simpler way out and use the basic hyphen dash instead of the fancier emdash because you can't be sure what cut down code is accepted in some of the cheaper mobile devices the few times I use an ellipsis I use three full stops instead of the fancy ellipsis code for the same reason.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Mac & PCs use different characters to represent most publishing characters


This is no longer true, because everyone has migrated to Unicode. Older things that were encoded in pre-Unicode encodings, or older software that can't handle Unicode will still have problems, sure. But those are both becoming more and more rare.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

This is no longer true, because everyone has migrated to Unicode. Older things that were encoded in pre-Unicode encodings, or older software that can't handle Unicode will still have problems, sure. But those are both becoming more and more rare.

Alas, websites and programmers have moved to unicode, but if someone uses keycodes to enter the local machine's version of an em-dash, it'll still generate errors for those reading on another machine (i.e. it's not the system that's switched to unicode, it's the programmers that have). The code for em-dash is still vastly different between Macs and PCs, and has been for a VERY long time (since the Macs were first introduced way back in 1980!).

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

macOS uses Unicode through and through; when I type an em-dash, it produces the Unicode character (U+2014). There is no special "local machine version". And if Windows allows you to still enter characters in an encoding other than Unicode, that's news to me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

macOS uses Unicode through and through; when I type an em-dash, it produces the Unicode character (U+2014). There is no special "local machine version". And if Windows allows you to still enter characters in an encoding other than Unicode, that's news to me.

I'll admit, I haven't gone back to investigate. But at no point had either Mac or the PC industry revised their entire character set definitions, and whenever I download fonts, I still have to specify either a PC or a Mac set, since there ARE NO widespread unicode fonts!

When the computer companies talk about 'unicode', they're only discussing things like browsers, readers, mail programs and other specialty devices that rely on the same technology used in their html code. That code allows Mac programs to display PC webpages, and PC programs to display Mac pages, but the majority of each machine will continue using propritary character sets which is NOT transferable.

That's why most tools for publishing and posting are all html focused (i.e. if you don't code the page properly or specify the wrong character set, your entire webpage or book will be utterly unreadable!).

Geek of Ages
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

As someone who works with this stuff literally every day, I have no idea what you're talking about. I've never had to pick Windows vs macOS for downloading fonts, and I've downloaded a number of them. At most, I've had to decide on format, but that has nothing to do with the underlying character encoding, but rather the format the various vectors and rasters are kept in the package, along with ligatures and that sort of thing.

Unicode is a fundamental encoding of all text, not just HTML. It has to do with how the bits of a data stream are interpreted into strings (and then into glyphs). I don't know why you keep talking about HTML as though it's some weird, different thing, because it's not. HTML is just a text stream (that is further processed and rendered by a rendering engine)

The reason a lot of publishing tools are HTML focused is because ebooks use HTML as their underlying format (at least, in ePub), because it's a reasonable markup language for documents. Posting tools are HTML based because HTML is basically what the web is.

These days, every webpage should be encoded with Unicode. If it's not, then it's either an old site, or the author hasn't paid attention for a decade (or there's a particularly special reason they're using Shift-JIS, but that's neither here nor there)

Again, I don't know what you're talking about with proprietary encodings. I'm not familiar with that in the first place, and again, I know macOS is Unicode from tip to tail.

In short, I am thoroughly confused. What you are describing is a world I have not heard of in a decade.

John Demille

@Crumbly Writer

But at no point had either Mac or the PC industry revised their entire character set definitions, and whenever I download fonts, I still have to specify either a PC or a Mac set, since there ARE NO widespread unicode fonts!


When the Mac moved from the classic OS (Mac OS 9) to the Unix-based Mac OS X, the internal character encoding moved to UTF8. It can handle MacRoman encoding of course, but the internal handling is always in UTF8.

As for fonts, the now-default Open Type Fonts (.otf) are compatible with Mac, iOS, Windows and Android.

Tefler

@PotomacBob

To answer the OP's original question:

I've used foreshadowing quite a lot in Three Square Meals.

If I come up with ideas that I know I'll use for future scenes in the story, I add little hints or write a scene referring to that future idea. You sow the seed of that idea for the reader then, so when you finally come to that main twist in the story, it doesn't come out of the blue.

For example: In chapter 38 I added a brief "random" encounter with a rogue AI ship. The main cast ended up confronting a big AI threat in chapter 58 (which I wrote 5 months later).

The initial short encounter foreshadowed the bigger plot point, and established the AI testing facility in the story.

The benefit of this kind of technique is it makes new subplots fit seamlessly into your main plot without feeling shoved in there. From a reader's perspective, if they reread the story, they see the foreshadowing and understand the bigger picture. It's like a "Oh yeah! I forgot about that!" kind of a moment, which is always good fun. :-)

Tefler

richardshagrin

To get four shadows you need four different light sources separated from each other, aimed so that each casts its own shadow.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

To get four shadows you need four different light sources separated from each other, aimed so that each casts its own shadow.


You didn't mention four o'clock shadowing. That was a close shave ;)

AJ

Replies:   samuelmichaels
samuelmichaels

@awnlee jawking

You didn't mention four o'clock shadowing. That was a close shave ;)


I am not really sure if I am for shadows, or against. There are times when nothing but true darkness would do.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@samuelmichaels

I am not really sure if I am for shadows, or against. There are times when nothing but true darkness would do.


Jack of Shadows would disagree with you, true darkness and true sunlight always caused him problems.

Perv Otaku

Some plot twists will come off as an ass-pull or deus ex machina if not properly foreshadowed, in which case you instead have a Chekhov's gun.

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