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Author Topic: Foreshadowing  (Read 14796 times)
Planetary Overlord

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Peter "Pace" Craddock

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« on: January 18, 2007, 02:41:10 PM »
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Me and my foreshadow

The technique of planting narrative seeds in the first act, which are then resolved at the film?s climax, is called foreshadowing. It?s also sometimes called Chekov?s Gun after the playwright said that if you introduce a gun in the first act of a play the audience expect to see it used before the end of the final act. Foreshadowing is a very powerful technique when used with subtlety. Used badly it has all the subtlety of Oliver Reed at a wine-tasting party. This sort of thing can be seen quite often in Jerry Bruckheimer or Paul Verhoven movies.

Audiences like to see foreshadowing used well because it makes them feel clever. The Sixth Sense uses foreshadowing to brilliant effect, for example. The film is constantly dropping hints about what the big twist is but you only realise that they?re big hints once you know what the plot twist actually is. Careful use of foreshadowing can add a real depth to your writing. It?s what sets no-brain popcorn movies apart from films which reward repeated re-viewings by revealing new layers to the narrative.

Chekhov's Gun from Wikipedia

A Chekhov's Gun is a Literary technique in which a fictional element (object, character, place, etc.) is introduced early and in which the author expects the reader to invest. That investment must 'pay off' later in the story even if the element disappears offstage for a long interval.

"One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it." Anton Chekhov, letter to Aleksandr Semenovich Lazarev (pseudonym of A. S. Gruzinsky), 1 November 1889.

"If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." From Gurlyand's Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov, in Teatr i iskusstvo 1904, No 28, 11 July, p. 521.?

"If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there." From S. Shchukin, Memoirs (1911)

- Source (YouWriteOn)

Foreshadowing on Wikipedia:

Foreshadowing is a literary device in which an author drops subtle hints about plot developments to come later in the story. Each of these hints widens the range of possible consequences and maintains tension throughout the narrative as these possibilities narrow. When these hints are designed to mislead the audience into thinking something will transpire other than what actually does, it is referred to as a red herring. Unlike a flashforward, a foreshadowing only hints at a possible outcome of the story, without describing it explicitly. However, the difference between these two techniques may often be very vague.

An example of foreshadowing might be when a character uses a gun or knife early in the play/film/narrative. Merely the appearance of a deadly weapon, even though it is used for an innocuous purpose - such as being cleaned or whittling wood - suggests terrible consequences later on.

Foreshadowing is classically an intentional literary device wherein the author plays on common beliefs or logical causal connections that most viewers or readers will have some direct experience with, thereby causing them to anticipate a specific chain of events. However, there is also an unintentional form of foreshadowing, perhaps found in lesser quality authors' works, where due to the aforementioned common human experience, a reader or viewer will accurately predict an outcome. Such "formulaic" plots exist principally due to poor, unimaginative writing, but also arguably due to the pervasiveness of the "Jungian archetypes" and "Shakespearian plots" which run through the human condition to an extent whereby it is difficult to create a novel behavior pattern without painting highly unlikely causal connections. Examples: a character complains of a severe and atypical headache; the foreshadowing is of a coma, stroke or aneurysm. Someone does not complain of a severe headache and then find out that they have contracted athlete's foot fungus.
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2007, 03:35:30 PM »
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Cool, now I know the words for those parts :lol:

my mind did that all by itself  8)
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Pip the bromptonist.
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