First off let me say, Happy Birthday Ramona Richards!
Today I'd like to talk about foreshadowing suspense. While watching movies, every time I see the camera linger a nanosecond too long on a character who picks up a knife to cut vegetables I automatically assume that knife is going to be used to kill or maim someone somewhere down the road. My kids hate watching TV with me because I'm always compelled to comment on it. I usually get the rolled eyes and a "Just watch the movie, ma!"
I can't help it. I love to dissect good suspense movies and a good suspense always uses good foreshadowing technique. Why is foreshadowing important? Easy. While we love to be surprised by something unexpected, some twist we never saw coming, it's too easy for that surprise to jar us out of the story with questions of whether it is believable.
Foreshadowing clues and motivation for the characters in your story is integral to making the scene believable. A good twist requires the author to drop hints along the way so when you ARE surprised by the twist of events because you never saw it coming, you're also thinking it's totally believable because the evidence was there all along.
Foreshadowing can come in the way of clues, i.e. the knife in the kitchen or in character motivation. When we make our characters do something out of the ordinary, we need to foreshadow the motivation of why they would behave that way. My favorite example is the scream on the other side of a locked door. Most people would hear that scream and run the other way and call 911. Some people would knock on the door and ask if the person who screamed is all right. But what if you want your character to knock down the door and go inside? If they do, you need to drop clues earlier in the story to show why the character would take that action rather than just simply call 911.
M Knight Shyamalan does foreshadowing well in his movies. How many of you were blown away when Bruce Willis turned out to be one of the dead people the little boy sees in The Sixth Sense? I know I was. And yet when it happened, it all made sense because it was foreshadowed throughout the movie.
What books can you think of that foreshadow suspense well? Is there a book you've read recently where you thought the story was headed in one direction and then BAM you never saw the twist coming and yet it all made sense when it did? I love a good read let me know.
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Until next time...many blessings, Lisa Mondello