Wednesday, February 25, 2009


We had a question a few weeks back from a (significantly) younger writer and the Thin Man wanted to repost his answer here. I left the questioner's name off since I don't know if he would want to be identified (can't figure out why not but I suppose it's not always safe to be affiliated with the Thin Man).

Q: I have a question about writing. Do you consciously use foreshadowing and other things we look for in English class?

To answer your question on foreshadowing--yes, I do it a lot, especially in my horror. A lot of foreshadowing comes naturally though. Let me see if I can explain that: When you study the techniques in lit. classes, it looks like the author spends a lot of time going back and planting clues and doing all these fancy techniques. When I was in school, I reached the point I looked at all that stuff and said to myself "I'm not smart enough to write" and decided to just tell my stories and be done with. What I found out is that a lot of the fancy techniques aren't techniques as much as they are part of the writing itself. For example, if I'm writing a story and I know that one of the characters is actually a were-panther, I use a lot of feline descriptive terms for that character. It makes sense and it kind of sets the reader up to accept that revelation when it occurs. To an English teacher, that's foreshadowing. To me, it's a natural part of the process.

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