Foreshadowing in movies, books, or games? [questions for you]

Let’s talk about foreshadowing as I work on it :grin:

  • Do you like the idea of foreshadowing in general? Does it make you feel happy which is a big deal for you? (What reference is this, I wonder. If you know it, that means you’ve seen that movie as much as I have or more.)

  • In movies, books, or games, what does good foreshadowing and bad foreshadowing look like to you?

  • Do you like to notice whatever you are reading or seeing is obviously foreshadowing? Or is it better to you if you can’t tell something is foreshadowing?

  • Do you like it when books or movies use the “little did they know, their life was about to change” type of line?

  • How do you use foreshadowing in your own writing? Are they prophecies? Maybe a switch in point of view? Maybe a dream or a vision? Maybe a wise old man/woman gives a mysterious piece of advice? :stuck_out_tongue:

  • What advice would you give to someone who has no idea how to do a good foreshadowing moment?


I don’t get the reference, unfortunately, but to answer the questions;

  • Yes, I enjoy foreshadowing when it is done right. I think it’s a necessary element for many genres in order to create recurring themes and a sense of continuity.
  • In my opinion, good foreshadowing should be something you don’t pick up on the first time you read or watch something. But you should be able to look back and realize that the foreshadowing was there the next time you see it or read it. It should be seamlessly applied to the story in a way that seems natural and not forced, so it just seems like another part of the story, until you pay closer attention and then realize that it was there all along.
  • Like I mentioned above, I prefer it if I don’t realize it’s foreshadowing until after I’ve seen or read the entire story, and then be able to look back and notice things. It’s like a puzzle that, once you’ve seen the whole picture, you can appreciate the care and craftsmanship that went into making each individual piece fit together.
  • I don’t like the “little did they know,” line, because it’s a cliche. It can be used successfully, but when it’s overused, it simply becomes predictable. Then it’s no longer foreshadowing, and becomes counterproductive. You want your foreshadowing to be subtle, not an obvious prediction.
  • I tend to use foreshadowing through dreams in the story that I’m currently writing, but that is because it works for this particular story. In another one, I might use it more in other ways. I also use foreshadowing with repetition and escalation. For instance, in the first chapter of my book, before you know who the main villain is, I have him scare the protagonist by cutting his finger just slightly to see if the MC fears pain, and therefore is a sentient AI. This is going to be repeated and escalated later in the book when the villain reveals his true colors and tortures and tears apart the MC to try and find out what causes him to be a sentient AI. This is an example I use outside of the dreams to foreshadow future events in the story.
  • Honestly, foreshadowing is something I’m still learning the mechanics of, because it’s always just come intuitively to me. So I don’t have any definite advice yet for how to make it work well, because for me it just kind of… does? What I would say is, don’t worry too much about foreshadowing in your first draft. It’s easier to find ways to foreshadow when you know exactly where your story is going and that it will be applicable in the first place. You can always go back and insert foreshadowing moments into your work after you have a clear direction. It’s better to do that than to include a moment you meant to be foreshadowing, only for your characters to change the direction of the story and that foreshadowing to become irrelevant.

I’m reading Otessa Moshfegh’s Eileen right now, and the foreshadowing is like a shovel to the head. I love it. The character says things like, “That was the last time I saw my sister,” and “Let me tell you about the week before I ran away from home,” so you know she’s going to run away from home soon, but so far it hasn’t happened. Keeps me reading to see how she’s going to do it, though. (=^ェ^=)