Posted in creative writing, reading, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Foreshadowing vs. Foretelling

Foreshadowing is a great way to create anticipation in the reader, but it can easily be confused for foretelling.

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Foretelling is to predict or tell the future before it occurs (a prophecy), while foreshadowing is to presage or suggest something in advance. It’s a subtle difference, but it makes a big difference in a story.

Foretelling is direct and explicitly tells the reader what will occur. While this is more common in young children’s literature, it’s usually not the best choice for other fiction forms. Foretelling takes the discovery away from the reader. It doesn’t make them work to understand the hint and can spoil the mystery or anticipation.

Foreshadowing involves the reader more full yin the story by asking them to put in the effort to not only pick up on the hints given, but remember them and fit them into the rest of the information and events. Readers feel more invested in the story when they feel like they are participating in it.

What do these two look like in fiction? Here are a few examples:

detective-152085_1280Foretelling: Had I known the darkness forming in my mind weren’t my own thoughts, I would have attempted to defend myself.

Foreshadowing: These thoughts feel so foreign, but I can’t deny they’re in my mind, constantly nudging and pushing me to see Alex’s words and actions more clearly.

In the first example, the reader is told the dark thoughts come from an external source and the character has lost control of their own mind. This asks the reader to do no work and requires them to simply wait for the character to realize the manipulation or see how it all shakes out. Reader investment and participation is very low.

In the second example, there is a hint that the dark thoughts aren’t usual for the character, but is contrasted by the hint that the change might be needed…if Alex’s words and actions truly are harmful. This creates anticipation because the reader doesn’t know for sure whether the character is being manipulated or is starting to see things more clearly. This creates a sense of wariness and anticipation to figure out the truth. Readers will pay more attention to find more clues and figure out the mystery. Reader engagement and investment is high.

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Posted in books

Stress Relief: Author Style

Stress and I don’t really get along. It makes me sick, literally. There’s always a certain amount of stress involved in being an author thanks to reviews, deadlines, decisions, writing the actual book if you ever have time, and dealing with criticism.

blue houseAdd in a rather sudden decision by my husband and I to sell our house so we could buy a new one we really, really wanted to buy. Needless to say, since seeing the house for the first time on January 1st to closing three and a half months later…there’s been a lot of stress involved.

So, how do we combat it?


43b04-moviereelOur go-to family stress relief is heading to the movies. We all love watching movies at the theater, and if there’s nothing good on, we’ll have a movie night at home and pretend all the other craziness doesn’t exist for a few hours.


last of usIf it’s just me and my hubby feeling frazzled, we’ll either play video games (Last of Us has an excellent story!) or have a Netflix marathon.


When it’s just me that’s on the verge of a meltdown…I have a few hidden gems.


GhirardelliDarkChocolate-SeaSaltSoireeAnd I mean hidden, because my kids will eat my treats if I leave them out! Dark chocolate is my absolute favorite, but cupcakes or brownies will do in a pinch as well. Or froyo. Or peanut butter M&Ms.


dr-pepper-10-sodaStress=headaches=exhaustion. Solution? Dr. Pepper 10.


W7fcc5-yoga1hen I get stressed out, it feels like my muscles are all slowly twisting together. Roll out the yoga mats! Deep breathing, stretching, relaxing…definitely a must during stressful times.


way of kingsWhen I really need to unwind and clear my head, I reach for a book. Reading takes me out of the craziness and lets me focus on something else. Sometimes it’s an old favorite, and sometimes it’s a new find. Or both at once! Right now I’m listening to Brandon Sanderson “Way of Kings” on audio book and reading Jana DeLeon’s first book in her Miss Fortune series…again.


So, tell me, what do you do to unwind when things are too stressful?