I love foreshadowing, especially when it's so subtle, you don't fully pick up on it until the second read through.  That's when you can really appreciate the author's cleverness.  I love to re-read books, and the second time is always worth it for those "Oooooh!" moments you get.  I especially love foreshadowing that starts in the first book and doesn't see its outcome until the final book of a trilogy or series. 

Foreshadowing adds tension and offers tantalising tasters of what's to come.  Plotters probably plan exactly when and where to add these little but oh so important details, whereas pantsers (me) can go back later on and add it in.

Why put in these little hints? They won't give away the plot, if that's your concern.  No, foreshadowing offers ways to develop huge plot points later on through the tiniest of clues earlier on.  It gives a sense of realism and ensures the reader doesn't feel like something came out of nowhere.  For example, say your character must locate a particular key in order to open a door in a large haunted house.  Instead of stumbling upon it, you could go back earlier in the story and have them spot it elsewhere but leave it there because they don't see the use for it.  Seriously, you can do it with single sentences.  Think of it as planting a seed!

...Okay, so I sort of ripped that example from Resident Evil because it has some of the best music to inspire foreshadowing.

I love this one because it's quietly sinister, leaving you feeling uneasy and certain something is coming...

This is a great piece too:

So, how do you use foreshadowing?


  1. I loooooove foreshadowing. My favorite piece of foreshadowing? Ravenclaw's diadem in Harry Potter, a.k.a. the old tiara from Book 6. Still blows my mind.

    I like to use dialogue foreshadowing a lot. Like, in one of my books, one character says something to the effect of "Not everyone gets a happy ending." And, in the end, someone gets a very unhappy ending.

  2. I'm with Francesca - the best ones are those that have you leaping out of your chair screaming 'say what' while grinning from ear to ear.

  3. I agree with Chessie -- the diadem blew my friggin mind away! Which is why I was so annoyed they took it out of the 6th movie. Grrr.

  4. Oh, also I've been using it in one of my books to show how two people have a crazy magical link, and one of the chars knows it, but the other doesn't. That's all I can say though! :X

  5. I LOVE foreshadowing. JK Rowling is queen of it, and she kept it going so long. I love using foreshadowing in my own books.

  6. I re-read books all the time, too. I use foreshadowing sometimes. If it's done right, it can really evoke a mood.

  7. Francesca: I like teeny tiny things that seem totally throw-away but wind up being the most important thing ever.

    The East Coaster: DEFINITELY! :D


    A J Mullarky: Foreshadowing is lots of fun!

    Kirsten: Definitely! I like it when it adds to the tension and makes you think "Oh no, why did you do that? THIS IS SO NOT GOOD!"

  8. I try my best to use foreshadowing as often as possible! It's a great way to put credible surprise in your story. I agree with your comment to Kirsten that it's always fun when the foreshadowing makes you think: "Oh, crap, that ain't gonna end well!" Lol... :-)


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