Monday, April 14, 2014

Little Did She Know...

It's often the last line in a chapter. That little sentence as a teaser to make sure the reader turns the page, or swipes the screen. It's called foreshadowing. I'm not a fan of foreshadowing. Many famous authors use it. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. (I have a theory that famous authors get paid by the word so they end up using them in excess.)

I don't want to know what comes next before it happens. I want the action to play out in proper time sequence. Knowing that Jane is going to drive into a ditch before it happens spoils the read for me. I may have figured it out anyway from the text but I don't want a narrator jumping in to tell me. Remember show don't tell?

Have you seen good movie trailers then watched the movie only to find that the best scenes were in the trailer and the rest of the movie was just bad or ordinary? If the movie had been well written, shot and edited this wouldn't happen. I'm not saying that all foreshadowing necessarily means weak writing. If you feel like you need a teaser at the end of a chapter do you need to go back and strengthen the scenes so you feel more confident that your reader will be unable to put the book or tablet down?

Foreshadowing prologues or chapters aren't my favorite way of reading the beginning of a novel either. It spoils the suspense until you get past what you know will happen. I'm not sure why authors do this. How about starting with the scene then supply the back story through the characters' thoughts and dialogue?

Just as I'm not much interested in fortunetelling, foreshadowing pretty much leaves me cold.

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