How to use Foreshadowing
Successful foreshadowing will effectively hint at what will come, without directly or entirely revealing the plotline. The audience should be able to develop ideas about what will or might happen, which can be achieved through dialogue, imagery, and/or symbolism.
To foreshadow in a direct way, the audience is essentially told what could happen. Picture a man standing next to a rapidly flowing river. He states, “If we get any more rain, the river is going to flood the whole town.” In the distance, storm clouds are closing in.
B. Indirectly (subtly)
To foreshadow in an indirect way, subtle clues can be left for the audience to find. Imagine a movie scene where a woman fills a watering can at her kitchen sink. She turns and walks to the windowsill, where she waters several flowering plants. Later, her husband dies unexpectedly. At the end of the movie, we learn that she murdered her husband with a poisonous flower from that windowsill.
C. By Prophecy
In order for the prophesy to work well within a story, its details should be somewhat vague, leaving room for many possibilities for how it will happen. In the Harry Potter series, a famous prophecy exists that states that the villain Voldemort will be defeated by a younger wizard, and that both cannot live while the other survives—but the prophecy does not reveal who the younger wizard is, or the details of their deaths; it is purposely vague.
D. Through Symbolism and/or Omen
When developing a story, small details can serve as symbols that foreshadow greater events. These symbols do not have to be complex; they can be as simple as creating a certain feeling or using specific colors. For example, it is common for the color white to represent good, while black represents evil. Suppose a pair of twins enter a scene, one wearing a black t-shirt, the other wearing a white t-shirt. The one wearing black is a thief.
When to Use Foreshadowing
Foreshadowing is regularly used as a tool to engage the audience and connect them to a situation, persuading them to follow the story until the outcome is revealed and their suspicions are confirmed. It can be used when you want your audience to know something that the characters do not know, which makes them to feel more emotionally invested in what they are reading or watching.