Now That I've Learned About Foreshadowing, I'm Going To Use It In All Of My Stories

Top Headlines


Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of January 6, 2015

ARIES: One of the worst moments of a person's life is when they finally realize that they're mortal and are going to die, especially when it's a person like you who only sees the cement truck at the last second.

A Timeline Of Upcoming Superhero Movies

Following the massive successes of the Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers, and X-Men franchises, studios Marvel and DC Entertainment have announced as many as 40 upcoming superhero movies to be released over the next six years ...

Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary: A Look Back

Sesame Street, the long-running PBS children’s television show starring a cast of Jim Henson muppets who teach children basic learning concepts and introduce them to difficult issues, turns 45 this week.

TV Show Under Fire For Depicting Murder

LOS ANGELES—In what is being described as perhaps the most shocking and distasteful moment in broadcast history, the popular primetime television show Criminal Minds is facing heavy criticism today for airing an episode that depicted the act ...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage



Now That I've Learned About Foreshadowing, I'm Going To Use It In All Of My Stories

Guess what? There is this really neat literary device I just learned about, and it's called "foreshadowing." It's this thing where, in the beginning of the story, you put in all these little "hints" about stuff that's going to happen later on. I can't wait to try it out!

I think the best part about foreshadowing is that it doesn't come right out and tell everyone what's going to happen. Instead, it does this thing called "planting a seed" in the reader's mind, so that the ending will still be a surprise but also seem logical. At least that's what it said on, which is a really good site with lots of fun tips on writing.

Foreshadowing is awesome.

You can foreshadow anything. One thing you can foreshadow is a high-powered attorney billing the hours, making the money, and rushing relentlessly up the corporate ladder of a giant D.C. law firm, and then in an instant, it all comes undone. I am definitely going to try foreshadowing that.

Another thing I like is that you can put foreshadows in anywhere: in the dialogue, in the descriptions, even in the rising action. I suppose you could even plot out the whole story arc ahead of time, before you start writing, and put in the hints as you go along. Usually I just sit down and start typing, and then come up with a climax when I get to 450 pages.

I wish I had learned about this foreshadowing technique earlier. Like, in the beginning of The Partner—this story I wrote about a junior attorney who pulls off the white-collar crime of the century—I could have put in some "clues" that the guy's lover is greedy or evil. That would have "foreshadowed" the end where she steals all his money. That would've been so cool!

Foreshadowing also builds suspense. I used to think the only way you could build suspense was with rising action. Or maybe with the climax. But with foreshadowing, you can "build expectations" that make the reader want to keep reading to find out what's being foreshadowed. Now I think foreshadowing is the coolest way to hold the reader's attention.

There is also something called a "red herring," which is another thing I just found out about, which is like foreshadowing except the thing you foreshadow doesn't happen. A red herring is like a trick. I don't think I want to use a red herring.

Going back to foreshadowing, you can foreshadow in a bunch of different ways. You could have a character say something that foreshadows something else, or you could use events to foreshadow later events. I think my favorite way is using a single word with two different meanings to foreshadow. For example, I learned that if a notorious D.C. power broker who knows a secret that goes to the top of the U.S. government is going to die, it's better to have him say "I'd rather die than go to prison" than something like "I would never want to go to prison." Because the first way has the word "die" in it, and then he does die.

Foreshadowing is so much better than rising action.

I was talking to my friends James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell the other day, and they told me about this new thing called "symbolism," where you make one object "represent" another more "abstract" concept. Like, in my new story about a brash young attorney straight out of Harvard Law who's standing on the brink of a brilliant career and risks it all for a death-row convict and an impossible case, I could make the inmate's scar stand for something. It could stand for the judicial system, or for peace. In fact, depending on the way I "describe" it, I could make it stand for just about anything.

This is all so exciting. I'm going to go write a new story right now!

John Grisham is an award-winning American author whose books have sold more than 235 million copies worldwide.

Next Story