The following is an excerpt from my first BookDeeply event. To help me decide which novel or genre to do next, leave a comment below! To join and unlock TruestSem at any time, start here.
Foreshadowing & Chekhov’s Gun
“Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, […] it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” — Anton Chekhov
[Truest spoilers removed]
The trick to writing foreshadowing is that you don’t write it.
You plant it.
And then you make it blend into its surroundings.
If you know a character is going to get shot, you go back to the very beginning and put a gun on the wall.
Sometimes you’ll plant foreshadowing during revision.
Sometimes you’ll have so much foreknowledge of your plot, you can write it in as you go. If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter series, you know that J.K. Rowling planted foreshadowing several novels ahead. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
Writing is rewriting. The best writers are average writers who kept rewriting.
What about other details—if nothing happens with them later, are they red herrings? No, they’re set design.
(For more information on writing details, see my post Becoming a Fan Favorite: Writing Description and Direction.)
Deus ex Machina
Back in the times of ancient Greek drama, a contraption might spring forth a god to save the protagonist from almost certain doom. Hence the name deus ex machina. In contemporary fiction, the protagonist needs to face their greatest fight—or question—without the help from their allies.
Help me pick a debut novel to read in March 2016! What genre or novel would you like to BookDeeply?
The novel needs to
- be a debut (meaning the author hasn’t had a novel traditionally published before this one)
- have been published between January 2015 and March 2016
- be any genre other than YA contemporary romance (since that’s what Truest is)
Leave your questions, comments, or BookDeeply suggestions below!