Friday, December 16, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about foreshadowing recently. It's one of those things that writers often use. Sometimes they're little hints you don't even realize until you've finished the book. I have to say that J.K. Rowling was always very good at this. When you have a plan and know where it is going to go, it's hard not to slip in little clues. Perhaps it's out of some sense of duty to prepare your readers for a big event. And even when you tell a story about your own life, it's hard not to slip in little previews of what is to come. But on a daily basis, foreshadowing does not exist. Sometimes things you aren't planning for just happen. It's like Katcha, Mark's beloved dog, having a stroke two nights ago. He had spent the whole year missing her, looking forward to spending time with her, and remembering all the good things about her. Then two weeks after we arrive, she has a stroke. Wednesday night she was perfectly fine, and Thursday morning she was vomiting buckets. She's a bit better today, and the doctors have apparently given her some hope, but she can hardly move on her own, and scarecely nibbles at food. It's a horrible tragedy, and we didn't see it coming. This happens so often in life. The end of this month will mark the one year anniversary of my dear friend Becky's death. She was just on her way home from work on a Thursday. Nothing remarkable, except that it was a rather nasty weather sort of day, but her family, and she herself, did not have some lurking feeling that horror was on the horizon. Now in retrospect, we can often see signs. If I were writing the story of us, I might say that the way Katcha responded to Mark when we arrived was a sign that she was pulling away, preparing for disaster. He was so thrilled to see her, and she was reserved, almost resentful even. I teased that she was giving him the cold shoulder for being gone so long, but now it can be reinterpreted as something deeper. Perhaps the very fact that I was thinking about foreshadowing before this happened was foreshadowing enough. I continue to make progress on my book, but I'm writing it in a different way than I normally do. After reading a book in High School, by Gilbert Morris of all people, I got in the habit of layout. This is actually a very usefull tool when getting something accomplished. If I plan out what will happen in advance, all I have to do is fill in the pieces. It's also useful to have models written up of each character, so you don't accidentally change them from being brown eyed to blue somewhere in the middle. I suppose an editor would help with things like that too, but this time, I'm just wingin' it. There can be no foreshadowing because I don't exactly know where I'm taking it. This is rather dangerous, because it often leads to "Never ending story" Syndrome. But it also means when things happen in the story they happen more organically. They come to pass in the moment, rather than having informative music playing in the background, telling you exactly how you should feel about the upcoming scene. I'm sure when all is said and done, we should be thankful that we cannot see the future. While it might force us to hold the ones we love a bit more dear because we know the exact moment when we will lose them, it would most likely also blind us with fear. It must be enough to say that God is in control.

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