Throughout all stages of writing development, foreshadowing gives the reader a sense of participation in the story, through anticipation.
One of the best tips for writing a story, whether short or book length, is to introduce certain plot action early in a composition. That early action, or the action sequences, should quietly suggest what’s to come later. This applies across the board to multi-genre writing.
These hints and innocent occurrences tie all the way down to the ending, through the great writing and grammar, into the story climax and denouement.
Avid readers, especially, are wise to plot action. They can spot lead-in such as clue and hints without having to go back and read the sequence again. They can sense it in the set up. They want it!
Subconsciously, a few readers may not realize what has prepped them. However, on a subconscious level, tight pre-planning keeps them wrapped up in the story.
Whether on a subconscious level or consciously, you want your readers to carry a feeling of anticipation as they read through the stages of writing development that you have so adeptly woven. The reader won’t be aware of writing rules and writing procedures. They will sense your clues and it will keep them turning pages.
Some great tips for writing a story can be found in the article which follows.
The way I write is to finish a chapter, that one scene, with all that I can allow myself to put into it...for the moment. As I write the next succeeding chapters, I may think of something new to include in the story that needs to be introduced earlier. That's foreshadowing. So I go back and add a tease in a preceding chapter or other chapters before that one.
I continue this process throughout the stages of writing development. No chapter is really finished till the book is finally polished. This applies to multi-genre writing, fiction of nonfiction.
Those hints must be so innocent that they do not tell the reader exactly what’s ahead. Yet, when the reader learns what happens later in the story, they remember the hint of it mentioned earlier and have an Aha! experience.
For instance, in my mystery, River Bones, when I planned my notes, I wanted to give a credible reason for my character to accept two pit bull puppies. Yet, I have her so busy she doesn’t have time for dogs that require that much care. It’s unlikely she would take on responsibility like that. But the plot required that she take these dogs.
Feeling confident, I went back to an earlier chapter, where the protagonist is talking to her little sister’s headstone at her gravesite, sort of updating her sister about her life. My character hasn’t been to her sister’s grave in years, so she’s real emotional, with jumbled thoughts, and she’s just tossing out important events.
The reader will know that because this is a fiction novel, soon enough, they will learn who Mandy is. Since this is a suspenseful mystery, the mention of a death early in the story is just another incident to tweak the reader’s interest and keep them reading. When they get to the part where the protagonist tells a friend she once had a Yorkshire terrier named Mandy, that she loved dearly, the reader then understands the emotions and motivation that make the woman innocently accept the two pit bull puppies.
To make the story credible, I had to foreshadow a reason why the character would so readily accept the pups. Without having inserted that one line of dialog into the scene at the gravesite, the fact that the protagonist later readily accepts the dogs becomes nothing more than a crutch to help solve a crime.
Foreshadowing gives the reader a sense of participation in the story, through anticipation, and is necessary to make the plot action of any story cohesive.