A shadow of the imminent future

Foreshadow.

How do you know when it happens? I guess some people call it a sixth sense. Like, when some people can tell that something bad is about to happen because they get this sinking feeling, which you get from experience…like, if you keep hitting the spray can like that, of course, it’s going to break.

I got this feeling while reading, and it wasn’t hard to miss.

A human figure had been watching the fence from the edge of the woods, almost out of sight among the trees and the waist-high undergrowth.

Not a hungry. A hungry wouldn’t hold a branch aside with his hand to maintain a clear line of sight.

A junker, then. A wild man, who never came inside.

And therefore, she reasons, not a threat. (Carey 67)

This seems almost blatantly obvious. I mean, if someone is watching you like a creep, chances are, they’re probably a creep. And there’s no such thing as a good creep, only bad. I mean, at this point in the story, she thinks that she has bigger concerns inside the compound rather than outside. After all, it’s a military base, they’re behind a fence.

But by divining the type of man, and spending time to reason whether or not he will be a probably threat…it’s like inviting fate to punch you in the face. Of course he’s going to turn out to be a problem. Just not the biggest.

I think this is a good lesson on how to write foreshadows. Not necessarily a line-by-line how to, but more of a big picture. To write a foreshadow, your characters need to notice something. They can measure it as a threat or not, but they need to notice, need to spend time thinking on it. This shows the reader that if it’s important enough to mention, it’s important enough to notice and will come back later in time.

Carey, M.R. The Girl With All the Gifts. New York, NY: Orbit, 2014. Print.

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