Foreshadowing, eh!

Foreshadowing.jpg Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing, right!? Love it or predict it - every piece of fiction needs it. Usually, it is so heavy handed that you can predict the ending from page one.

This blog post could be subtitled: What I learned about foreshadowing from watching Coronation Street.

Yes, I've revealed a deep dark secret - I watch Coronation Street (and no, I'm not an 80 year old British Lady!) and have for decades!

I watch it for what I learn about writing. I can never predict where the plots are going, and I'm one of those people who can crack a plot wide open like a Jammie Dodger!

The foreshadowing is so subtle that you don't notice it until the climax and then you're like, 'oh, yeah, I remember this one bit of dialogue that referred to that.'

There was a huge plot line recently on Coronation Street (for my British bloggowers we're about a year behind in episodes here in Canada) where a nightclub blows up and a tram crashes into the street. The street is burning, people injured, people dying to be rescued, and a couple of characters leave the street permanently - if you know what I mean!

Was I on the edge of my seat with my jaw dropped? Yes. It was unexpected, but it was foreshadowed ever so subtly. There were a couple of bits of dialogue that referred to the gas being out in the kitchen of the nightclub and having to serve cold appetizers. For the episodes shown during the month leading up to the explosion, the tram noise was a little more prominent. A character would be in the kitchen pondering life on the street and in the background there would be the sound of the tram going over the tracks. Subtle, yet, effective.

Here's the scene.  


Think about how you use foreshadowing.


Angie said…
I never really think much about foreshadowing, actually. I think it's there, hopefully more subtle than not, but it's not something I have to plan consciously. Probably something I should look at in revisions and make sure I got it right!

P.S. My seven year old daughter just finished Dead Frog on the Porch. She loved it.
Jan Markley said…
Hi Angie - glad your daughter loved my book! That's always a thrill to hear! Yes, it's always good to look back over a manuscript to see where you put the foreshadowing!
Anonymous said…
Good food for thought on foreshadowing and thinking on how we use it. My sis is a total watcher of Coronation Street. Staying with her a few weeks ago and totally saw the episode you talked about--wowsers.
Jan Markley said…
Glad to hear your sis is a fan of the street - it was a very dramatic series of episodes!

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