What is foreshadowing?
Foreshadowing is a literary technique wherein the author gives out hints or clues about possible plot developments that will occur in a latter part of a novel or story. These clues may be given out in a direct and obvious manner or may be in the form of complex and mysterious riddles. Foreshadowing is often used by mystery novel writers for the basic purpose of arousing their readers or viewers about certain events in the story. Whenever some kind of clue is given, readers of a book for example are expected to get more excited about a possible outcome or twist while the whole story unfolds.
In the literary world, foreshadowing may also be related to or often associated with misleading hints. These hints are referred to as red herrings and they are created by writers to let their audience think of one twist or ending when it fact another event will happen. In the same manner as standard foreshadowing, the purpose of giving out misleading clues is to stimulate the audience into digging deeper into the story to find out what the real event or twist is all about. For some authors, foreshadowing may also be used using both true and false clues. The idea of giving out contrasting hints will let the audience run their imagination and think of possible plot developments in the story.
Foreshadowing as a literary device was evident even in the stories and novels written back in the 18th century. Various mystery-based stories written back then were considered as the inspirations for the foreshadowing being used by writers in modern times. Even poems may be written using foreshadowing technique. This is especially applicable for poems that are long which is required to allow the author to integrate his/her foreshadowing device before the intended plot development in the story. Aside from standard written material like books and novels, foreshadowing may also be the chosen technique for writers of movie scripts and television shows.