Different Methods of Foreshadowing

There are several different foreshadowing methods you can use when writing a novel.

Words leave an impact on the mind so if you write something like this at the beginning of your novel: “I found a gun on the drawer. An instrument of death” and then later somebody dies at the hands of said gun, the reader will remember the line.

Another way to foreshadow something is through the use of concern. If one of the characters is concerned about something and he or she keeps repeating it over and over, it serves as a form of foreshadowing. You can also be a bit more subtle and only mention the concerns once or twice, and people will still remember it if the event is dramatic enough.

It’s all about emotional impact.

Another form of foreshadowing is through hesitation. If a character is hesitant to do something and you show this to the reader, it can create a sense of nervousness in the reader—they don’t want the character they love to take this action. When they finally are forced to take the action and something bad happens, the payoff is immense.

One of the highest forms of art is foreshadowing through symbolism. If you use subtle symbols to indicate that something bad is about to happen, the reader often feels as if the author and the book itself are brilliant. It can be difficult to use symbolism in this way but if you do it right, your book will be an art form on its own.

The use of foreshadowing should be sparse and not exaggerated. Ideally, it should be subtle. If you must be blunt about it, do it only once or twice or you risk being predictable.

Foreshadowing is strongest when it’s not dead obvious.