About Writing

Foreshadowing – a writing device sometimes misused

Another guest post! Today I’m reblogging a post by one of my fellow horse story writers. So exciting that she mentions my own books in her article! Thanks, Connie!

by Connie Peck

A while back I was involved with a fairly tough critique partner who wrote in a vastly different genre than I. He was writing a 200K suspense/murder/mystery/drug & mind control novel while I was writing a simple horse story for fourth graders.

His biggest beef about my writing – foreshadowing. And of course real danger for my main character, an eleven year old girl who had a telepathic connection to her pony.

It was not a good fit.

My biggest mistake was that I let it get under my skin. But I eventually got over it. Then I did some research. For one thing, after re-reading some of his chapters, I recognized that his foreshadowing technique was actually almost pre-telling what was coming. I’m really not sure what category that falls into. Okay, so if a character, say a law enforcement officer, is approaching a potential bad-guy-hideout and slips the safety strap off his pistol, I’m going to look forward to a possible gun-battle. However, if the cop loosens his revolver, saying to himself “I’m sure I’m going to need this because this guy I’m after is crazy and I know he has an arsenal of weapons in there.” Well, that’s giving it away and since I know for sure what’s coming, I may just skim to see what’s next. (No that author didn’t write those words, that’s only an example. And he did get an agent.)

I did more reading.

A well-known children’s author who has won all sorts of rewards did the same thing in the first chapter by actually telling what the stakes were and how bad it could be right there in black and white. Instead of me looking forward to what might happen – be it good and wonderful, happy and funny, scary and adventuresome, I was no longer curious. I already knew. Sadly I couldn’t find the energy to keep reading. It was already told how dangerous it would be to approach the only means necessary to solve the big problem.

The best text for learning the technique of foreshadowing from both a writer’s perspective and a reader’s is THE LOTTERY, by Shirley Jackson, way back in 1948. And it still stands as the benchmark. Only a few glimpses, solitary items, which don’t really seem to add to the story – until the end.

What is foreshadowing? It’s an element in the story that you have no idea is there until the danger rises its scary face, or until the funniest thing in the world occurs. (Not all stories need to have death, murder, and mayhem involved to be really, really good.)

Foreshadowing is a passing glance at a picture on the wall, which may turn out to hold some secret vital to the outcome. And after dancing all around that non-remarkable painting, the reader is delighted to discover the clue hidden there. But if the author overstates the presence of the art, the reader will become frustrated when the MC doesn’t see it, or become bored with the whole story, and toss it in the corner without finishing.
horse
In my children’s book, LEGEND OF THE SUPERSTITION GOLD, which is my third Black Pony book, I dedicate a chapter to putting shoes on the pony, while dropping information about the upcoming trail ride along with a few stories about the Lost Dutchman Gold. Why the whole chapter? Well, it’s short and full of horsey stuff. Plenty of dialog between Annie and the pony. A humorous dismissal of the legends by the farrier (in my opinion one of the strongest pieces of foreshadowing in the book). AND every single element in that first chapter is seen again – several times. Not only that, the shoes themselves become in integral part of the plot. But you don’t know that until you read further.

My second chapter is dedicated to a pair of spurs and how they come to be in the possession of the main character. The spurs once belonged to Annie’s grandfather. Her uncle has very little success in using them and passes them to her. The connection won’t be noticed until mid-point of the book, but will be totally understood at the climax. But you never will know that until you get there.

Other bits of foreshadowing include Annie looking at hieroglyphics – and feeling a strange presence. Midnight warns her a few times that ‘The Others’ are nearby as well. True, I have a rather slow chapter where the whole thing is dedicated to a few of the stories, which anyone can google, about the haunted Superstition Mountains and its hidden treasures. But, they are all seen again. Besides, to at least a few of us, those stories are juicy and wonderful.

But, if at any point in the story I would have written ‘X is about to happen’ you may not have been interested anymore. Why do I point out that riding in the soft sand of a dry wash could be dangerous? Because a flash flood is coming! That was likely the most telling foreshadowing in the whole story.

I’ll never say that I’m anywhere near as good at foreshadowing as Shirley Jackson, or in fact dozens of other authors out there, but the fact remains. You will never know what part of a scene foreshadows the coming event until after that event has occurs and it all comes together in a satisfactory ending.

A few examples of books using foreshadowing from Goodreads include, THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker, published by Random House; Mo Willems’ THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA; Though this next one has mixed reviews because of adult content, THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger, is pegged as a great book for foreshadowing.

One of my personal favorite authors is Linda Ulleseit, who writes a series of The Winged Horses. You know something is up when an outsider falls in love with a filly, and there is dark talk of a long forgotten village, but you don’t know what it is until it happens. And you know something is about to happen when a young rider is torn between a soon-to-be barn leader with an attitude – who will do anything to win, and a timid rider who has a fear of flying, but you are blown away by what happens – and you didn’t see it coming, until you read it again, and again, and again. (Yes, I read it that many times.)

Goodreads has more if you wish to look them up. Of course mine is one of the best (in my opinion). http://tinyurl.com/p6wm6kf

How well to you foreshadow the events in your story? Do you let it all out before it happens, or drop invisible hints that show their glory at the end?

I’d love to hear your stories and examples.

Contests!

2014 YA/NA Blogfest!

blogfest2October is the month for discovering fantastic new adult and young adult books! Click the banner to get to My Crazzy Corner where blog host Apryl Baker lists all the authors participating (including me!) There’s a hottest guy contest and a giveaway. Make sure you check back here on October 18 for the brand new first of its kind unveiling…no, you’ll have to wait.

Authors, Reviews

Back to School Blog Hop

Microsoft Word - Document4Happy September! If your local school district is like mine, you’ve already been in school for two weeks. Nonetheless, I’ve always thought of September as Back to School month. This September, my books will be featured all month on a blog hop. Listed below are the bloggers who will be participating. Links to their blogs will be live once their Blog Hop post goes live. So put away those math books and click over to some interviews, book excerpts, guest posts, and other goodies.

Welcome to my Back to School Blog Hop!

 

September 2: Charles Ray  **  Charlie Ray’s Ramblings         
September 3: Apryl Baker  **  My Crazy Corner
September 4: Victoriya Aliferchyk  **  Vik Tory Arch           
September 5: Connie Peck  **  Connie Peck       
September 6: Angela Fristoe  **  Turning the Pages
September 7: Karin Rita Gastreich  ** Eolyn Chronicles
September 8: Courtney Vail  ** Gotta Have YA                     
September 9: Keeley  ** Keeley Reads                               
September 10: Evelyn Ralph  **  Evelyn’s Blog    
September 11: Cheryl  ** Gwyneira’s Book Blog    
September 12: Vanessa Aere  **  Book Butterfly Reviews          
September 13: Tiana Lemons  **  Ethereal Book Reviews    
September 14: Linda Ulleseit ** Chicks Writing Rockin’ YA          
September 15: DelSheree Gladden  **  The Edible Bookshelf          
September 16: Judy Goodwin  **  My Writerly World       
September 17: Emily Thompson  **  Clockwork Twist            
September 18: Charles Ray  **  Charlie Ray’s Ramblings   
September 19: Mary Collins ** Good Books Never Die     
September 20: Lauralee  **  History From a Woman’s Perspective
September 21: Kira Tregoning  **  Fantastical Reads     
September 22: Susan Stec  **  The Grateful Undead
September 23: Cathy Dougherty  **  Catherine Dougherty                          
September 25:  Dianne Bylo  **  Tome Tender
September 26: Jeanne Bannon Repole ** Beyond Words  
September 27: J.L. Campbell ** Reader’s Suite
September 28: Audra Middleton  **  Audra Writes
September 29: Jonel  **  Pure Jonel Confessions of a Bibliophile                    
September 30: Linda Ulleseit  **  Books, Books, Books
Reviews

Under a Wild and Darkening Sky

coverA review of my book by Megan, one of my students!

Under a Wild and Darkening Sky, by Linda Ulleseit, portrays Alyna and Ralf adapting to their new home in, High Meadow while working in their father’s bakery. Their parents plan out their future, but Ralf and Alyna chose not to follow in that particular path. They must also make careful decisions, and one wrong step comes the fall of High Meadow. Whew! That’s intense.

Alyna easily adapts to life in the barn, with a little help from a friend. I found this quite nice, as Alyna was never able to make friends in Merioneth. Alyna’s change adds a nice touch to the story. Ralf, on the other hand, is very adventurous. I really don’t know what to say. I can’t describe what he’s like. If I could, the word would be mixed-up-torn-loyal-maker of decisions-helper all mashed up into one word. Other than that description, he is hopeful and courageous when he helps restore- oh! I can’t give too much away, now can I? I was doubtful he would be any good when he helped his new troublesome friend, but as the story progressed, my opinions changed. I was hooked on like a fish, I suppose.

Evan, one of my least favorite characters from the beginning of the series, becomes crazed with power. People lose themselves to power, which I think is what happened to Evan. An important lesson in this part of the story is not to lose yourself to power otherwise you will get hit by- Oh no! I can’t give the book away!  And it was an exciting part about Evan! Oh well. You’ll have to read the book yourself! Anyway, as I just said, it teaches you an important lesson.

This is an excellent ending to the trilogy, and you don’t have to start from the first book, it’s easy to understand the idea of the story. I never thought I would enjoy Historical Fantasy/ Young Adult Books, but this, THIS! is truly fantastic. On my best book list!  The tension and the grabbing plot caused me to keep reading to find out what happened when Ralf and Alyna- No! I can’t reveal it! Okay, never mind. I would DEFINITELY recommend this to everyone in the whole wide world! Only if they would listen…

Uncategorized

Kathleen Marentes–About the Author

authorcoverKathleen Marentes is a wife and mother from Nebraska. At six years old she wrote her first book, a six-page story about talking horses, and knew from that moment she wanted to be an author. Her love of horses started with riding lessons at an early age, and she spent most of her teenage and young adult years working at a ranch. In her years working with horses, she saw both the good and the bad, and that prompted her to write her first novel, The Shadows Breathe. She plans to have at least two more books in the series.

The author’s favorite part of The Shadows Breathe:

When I think of The Shadows Breathe, two parts of the book really stand out above the rest for me. The first part is the scene where Kara is watching an upsetting training session between Ryan and Lea. Kara sees that Lea is different from other horses in that scene because instead of submitting to the harsh hand that is hurting her, she fights back. But she doesn’t just lash out and flee; Lea actually turns her head and looks at her attacker. She’s a smart horse, and Kara knows she’s worth saving. My other favorite part is towards the end. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that we see the great love that Kara and her other favorite horse, Asia, have developed for each other. A bond between a human and a horse can be such a strong and emotional thing, something I’m sure those in the horse world can relate to.

 

http://amzn.com/B00FKVHH78     Link to the book on Amazon

http://victoriautumn.wix.com/kathleenmarentes     Author’s website

www.facebook.com/KathleenMarentes   Author’s facebook page

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20767428-the-shadows-breathe   Author’s goodreads page

About Reading

Free on Kindle!

WOT CoverHappy release day! My flying horse novella, a prequel to my trilogy, is now available for Kindle! This weekend, Thursday through Monday, it will be a free download. Get it then!

Wings Over Tremeirchson on Amazon

About Writing

Life Into Fantasy

Campbell_authorpic1  Turning My Life Into a Fantasy Novel.

I’ve always been something of a dreamer, a ‘what if’ sort of gal, if you will. What if I had a horse so smart I could talk to it? What if I could travel to other worlds and have adventures? What if I could actually write a novel and sell it? That last one, I think is the most fantastical of them all. Sometimes I think being an astronaut and getting to travel to the moon would be easier than being an author, but, as trite as it is, if it were easy it probably wouldn’t be worth it.

However, being a dreamer, the impossibility of those above ideas never really stopped me. Nine and a half years ago, I got my own horse. I swear she was smart enough to hold conversations with, and she was certainly smart enough to travel to other worlds with me in tow and create adventures. I just had to be smart enough to listen, and put her ideas to paper, and now, even the last dream has come true. I have other dreams to be sure, but some of the biggest ones have been realized in the last few years.

Sabaska’s Tale is a novel inspired by my life on the trail and my horse and turned into a fantasy novel. And before you ask, no, I’m not the MC, but my horse, Sabaska, is the main horse character, also called Sabaska. Much of this story came about on my many adventures with my her. It didn’t take much effort to translate our adventures into something far more interesting than a trail ride in the mountains, it just took writing it down. (I won’t go into the countless rewrites to get to the novel you may now decide to read, but I did a lot of that too.)

I’ve been told that my passion for horses and Sabaska in particular really comes out in this story. That pleases me and I think that because we had so many adventures in our 9 years together, it gave me the depth and experience to write a something that does display my passion and knowledge of horses and I hope it inspires others to have adventures with their horses and maybe even turn their adventures into more novels for horse crazy teens to read.

 

J.A. Campbell is the author of Sabaska’s Tale. Check out her giveaway! Sabaska's Tale GiveawayPromo

Find out more about Julie at  www.writerjacampbell.com  and follow her on twitter @Pfirewolf

Reviews

Sabaska’s Tale

sabaska
Click here for author’s website

The novel Sabaska’s Tale, by Julie Campbell, powerfully illustrates the bond between a girl and her horse. When Anna’s grandmother dies, Anna’s family leaves her at the house to sell Grandma’s nineteen horses. Anna meets Sabaska and realizes the horse is more than she appears. Sabaska can travel between worlds, and Grandma was killed while on a mission to save Travelers. Now Anna must take over.

Horse lovers will read this book over and over. Sabaska’s personality is enough to make her special, but then you learn she can Travel between worlds! Anna is a lucky girl to be chosen by Sabaska. I like Sabaska’s magical powers, but I especially like that she is very horse-like throughout the book. She never loses the feel of being a horse. Anna struggles to learn about Travelers and their worlds, and it’s not resolved in this book. That means a sequel, or a series, is coming. I can hardly wait!

In addition to Sabaska, the characters of Anna, Cody, and Cahir are well done. They each have their backstory and interact with Anna in a believable way. It may sound odd, but one of the things I like most about Anna’s character is that she is constantly having to check in with her parents. She has to hide the whole traveling through worlds thing, but she has to call them. This is very real for a teenager. I hate books where the teenager disappears for weeks and never wonders if their parents will worry.

Middle grade and young adult readers will enjoy this book. The horse lovers in the younger readers will snap it up. For older readers, there’s a hint of romance between Cahir and Anna, although I am rooting for Cody myself.