Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Foreshadowing 2

To create Type 2 Suspense (anxiety), foreshadow by hinting but holding out. Here is an example of foreshadowing from The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum. It takes place on a street in Kowloon, China and involves a heshang monk and his servant:

The sign came — two abrupt nods — as the priest turned and walked through the beaded entrance of a raucous cabaret. The Zhongguo ren remained outside, his hand unobtrusively under his loose tunic, his own eyes darting about the crazy street, a thoroughfare he could not understand.

The hand unobtrusively under the servant's loose tunic hints that he is carrying a gun. Both that and his darting eyes hint at danger. These hints raise a number of story questions, such as Is the servant carrying a gun? Who are those he's on the lookout for? What is the danger? and What is this monk up to?


It was insane! Outrageous! But he was the tudi; he would protect the holy man with his life, no matter the assault on his own sensibilities.

Inside the cabaret….

Thus Ludlum hints and holds out by leaving us hanging on these hints.

A pivotal character foreshadows conflict in his uncompromising nature. So, when you introduce your pivotal character, show him as uncompromising, relentless. Perhaps even ruthless. Iago is the pivotal character in Othello. He won't accept being passed over for promotion and, as the play opens, he is already working revenge. The Montagues and Capulets are the pivotal characters in Romeo and Juliet — unrelenting foes. Because they won't compromise, they must fight to the death in a struggle for survival. Macbeth is the pivotal character in Macbeth, and Hamlet in Hamlet — though his father's ghost is also a pivotal character. In fact, any ghost is the epitome of an uncompromising character: otherwise he would rest in peace. The six dead soldiers are the pivotal characters in Bury the Dead, Oedipus in Oedipus Rex, Orgon in Tartuffe, Helmer in A Doll's House, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, and the sharks in The Old Man and the Sea.

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