Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Writing Superpowers - Foreshadowing & Eliminating Inconsistencies


Today, we wrap up our conversation about writing superpowers. Let's discuss ways to keep readers engaged when characters act out of character and how eliminating inconsistencies in a manuscript creates a better story.  

Have you ever been fully into a book when suddenly your main character does something you would never expect? Does it make you sit up and say, "What just happened? They would never do that!" 

Why do readers feel taken aback when a character acts "out of character?" 

First, readers feel a connection with the main character. They invest time and energy in getting to know that character's thoughts, actions, and motivations. The connection breaks when the character acts in a way they don't expect. An interruption in an established pattern can lead readers to feel betrayed. 

Second, unexpected behavior can seem random if it's not properly foreshadowed. 

Foreshadowing provides a hint of what is coming. Whether it be direct foreshadowing that openly suggests a problem or plot twist, or indirect foreshadowing that drops clues that lead to a revelation for the reader, recommended rules are that foreshadowing be relevant to the plot, subtle so that it creates anticipation or suspense, and properly timed so the reveal is satisfying to readers. 

For eliminating inconsistencies, type out character worksheets and a brief or detailed outline. The spelling of characters' names and their physical descriptions can be as hard to keep track of over a 250+ page novel as the sequence of events from beginning to end. Draw a simple map to remember where each building in your fictional town is located (especially important if you're planning a series). 

How did you enjoy traveling through these writing superpowers? Is there another topic you would like us to cover? Just for fun, are you a plotter or a panster? 

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three adult children. Visit Cheryl's website at https://ccmalandrinos.com or her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

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