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On Foreshadowing

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

I am nearing the home stretch with my third draft. Today I have done much of the work on the ending that I mentioned needed to be done. While I was working on it, I continued in my process of discovering the marvels of foreshadowing.

From a reader’s perspective, foreshadowing is the stuff you read near the beginning of a novel that comes back into play at the end in an interesting way (or, at least, the writer hopes it’s interesting).

From a writer’s perspective, it appears to be almost the exact opposite experience. I write through to the end, and I get to a place where I need events to unfold in a certain way. Then I think about what really works, and what would be satisfying. Usually, this creates a picture of events in my mind that is incomplete and lacking important details. Then I comb over my manuscript looking for a few places to help set the stage for the events as I imagined them. My protagonist needs a certain item in a climactic scene? Great, I’ll just go back and allude to said item a few times when it makes sense. That way when he holds the item aloft, events may surprise the reader, but the reader won’t ask, “Where’d he get that?”. Or if the reader does ask, he can, at least, flip back to see that those events really did take place.

One of the keys with this way of writing is not being too heavy handed. If the lines I insert as foreshadowing stick out, the reader has too good a sense of what’s to come. If the lines I insert are too vague, the reader doesn’t gain any of the benefit of foreshadowing, and my work was wasted.

In some ways, foreshadowing is like the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah. At the time, most of them seemed like they meant one thing, but looking back with a Christian perspective, we see that they mean something completely different.

I know I’m saying nothing magical here; it just was my primary lifting today, and I knew I hadn’t talked about foreshadowing here before.

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Beneath the Veil (Story Hour Part 2)

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Pax and Gaea stepped out of the Sweetwater Inn into the cool night air. Quinon and Selene walked just behind them. Both moons had risen and shone down on the empty street. An occasional dry breeze shifted the bit of sand on the stone.  Gaea shivered.

Gaea began to make her parting gestures, but she and Pax both noticed a large group of thugs standing in a nearby square. One thick hewn man, in particular, berated the others. He stood flanked by two men in well worn armor, each with long barbed spears.  Those he berated cowered in front of him in little more than shackles and loin cloths.  He then turned to greet the newcomers.

“Word on the street is you lot is lookin’ to get yourselves sold in Urik”. The large man sneered as he hefted his obsidian axe. “We can help with that.”

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The More Things Change… (Story Hour Part 1)

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Dramatis personæ:

Pax Gladius (Formerly: Vulgus Maximus): Vulgus is a tiefling templar of Tyr who supported the status quo and Kalak’s regime but was too unimportant for Tythian to order executed post-coup. Formerly a slave pit guard, Vulgus was bereft of a leader, an order, and a purpose. He shortly shook himself of his ennui, and forged for himself a new purpose. He is a templar after all, and what is a templar’s primary obligation? To uphold the law and order of the city-state. So what if by tradition, templars hadn’t truly done that for hundreds of years. It was time for someone to start. This new purpose firmly in his mind, he changed his name to Pax Gladius. He would fight for the law and see it upheld.

Quinon of the Forest Ridge: A halfling raised in captivity by templars, Quinon was freed by decree of Tythian and the Council. That did not mean he knew what to do. People had told him where to go and what to do his whole life. He looked for the answers to his life questions at the bottom of every cup he could find. Pax found him in this state, and gave him those answers. He would continue to support the templars, at least this templar; it’s what he knows. Besides, the tiefling doesn’t seem to get too bent when Quinon calls him ugly.

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