Saturday, April 08, 2006

Foreshadowing 3

You can foreshadow what a character might do under great stress by showing what he does under everyday stress. Say, for example, he kills a cat or dog that irritates him. Or perhaps he flies into a road rage at some other driver who "cuts him off."

You can use characters to foreshadow the actions of other characters. For example, a minor character might warn your protagonist about a major character.

"Too bad you don't know 'Mother Teresa' the way I do," Jane replied.

Or you can foreshadow what a character might do by showing how another character reacts to him or her. For example, in 1938 a train speeds from Germany to France with a mysterious woman on board. The conductor notices her as he moves down the aisle, checking passports.

As he was handing the passport back, the conductor noticed a woman seated near the rear of the car, watching him. His heart plummeted to the pit of his stomach. In confusion, he pretended to be interested in the man's passport, too, but he could focus neither mind nor eye on it. He hesitated then, as he handed it back, stealing another glance at the face in the rear.

Thus, the conductor's fear of the woman shows that she is dangerous. We get further foreshadowing in the look on her face as she gazes at him:

It had not the slightest expression in it, and the eyes you could not see into. Light seemed to come out of them. They watched him steadily, intently, looking through him as though he were but a shadow.

After doing something shocking in Paris that we don't understand, she takes a table at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, where we get further foreshadowing:

A few minutes later, amid the streams of human protoplasm flowing up and down the street, they came. Four men in suits, abreast. Each was a man who could give looks. One was the picture of prevarication in his walk. She smiled. Approaching together like this, they reminded her of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Like a rack of mounting thunder heads, each cramping the others' style, they came.

Some of the foreshadowing about these four characters is in their appearance, and some is in her thoughts about them.

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