For the last two days, I've been substitute teaching in the public school system. This is something I've fallen into due to my interest in teaching (though at a college level), which has been a fun, if not tiring experience. On Thursday I subbed at a middle school, in a Language Arts classroom. It was fun for the most part. Of course, when some kids walk in and see a substitute teacher, they know the day is pretty much a wash--but we had fun overall, anyway. It was really enjoyable when I had the opportunity to speak with students 1-on-1 which didn't happen often, but here and there.
Yesterday I subbed at an elementary school for an art teacher--and. It. Was. AWESOME! The classroom was decorated from top to bottom with books, experimental handmade, self-bound books, puppets, drawings, paintings, models, you name it. And I couldn't believe the facility they had there. Within this art studio was a wood shop, complete with a garage door that opened to the outside. In a small, closet-like room, there was a wheel and kiln for ceramic. Dust was everywhere and books like The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter, and The Spiderwick Chronicles were set out as beautiful pieces of decor. I wrote and drew stories with k-5 all day. Made stories about space-dogs (literal dogs in space), about castle sieges, and shark attacks. . . those last two didn't go together. Overall it was great, and I really hope I get to sub there again soon.
I've begun drafting my second novel. Some people find it difficult to draft more than one piece at a time. I find it essential. Jumping from piece to piece makes me certain I won't become board with a project.
This new piece I started yesterday is much different than any piece I've written before, in terms of planning--anyway. When I've created characters in the past I started writing and they took on personalities as I delved deeper into the story and their lives. This new novel has percolated in my mind for some time, it's grown like a palmar granite, waiting to be cracked open and exposed with all the little juicy seeds inside, and I have a little pocket-sized sketchbook I use to store those seeds or ideas. The sketch book is filled with research ideas, such as Shintoism (the religion will play a part in this piece) and Japanese culture. But another, more interesting note--to me anyway, is whether one of my main characters is male or female, black, or latino, Jewish, Christian, atheist. The story will vary dramatically depending on the answers to such questions. In the past, I never discounted these aspects of character, but for some reason, these aspects seemed to come from thin air--they were not a choice I consciously made. In my last novel (which is seeking an agent right now) I have a collection of main characters, some of them white, a couple Native Americans, a young girl who I imagine to be latino, but seeing as the world she lives in is fantastical in many aspects, readers might not come to that conclusions--and many other peoples. These characters were just the way they were when I wrote them, because, it seemed to make sense in terms of story. This new piece, however, feels more deliberate. Or it's more obvious to me now, how changing the ethnicity of any character will impact the plot of the piece dramatically. It will change what they carry in their bag when they travel, what books they'd keep on their shelves at home, even what kind of beer or wine they enjoy with dinner. This level of conscious consideration is new to my writing--welcome and new. I've often felt, in regards to my writing craft, that I am on a precipice of understanding the craft in a more thorough way. Just if I could remember all that I have seen there, exactly how it was, looking out from that high place, would I have a more thorough and lasting understanding of the writing process. This is one of those times. One of those moments where I have been introduced to a larger world.
This week I learned, or looked further into the differences between prolepsis and foreshadowing, as many people perceive them as the same thing. Now, in terms of literature or any narrative, they actually have distinct differences. Within a narrative, prolepsis is the condensing of time, in which, the narration jumps ahead in plot, in order to inform the audience what will happen, before it happens.
Foreshadowing, on the other hand, is much more subtle. Foreshadowing doesn't break the narrative timeline, it doesn't transport the narrative to the future, then back to the chronological time the audience has been living in, it simply alludes to something that will come into play, or happen later--but it doesn't show it, or make this a certainty.
For instance, I've been catching up on the HBO series Westworld, which is every bit as amazing as people claimed it to be, and the whole show is packed with foreshadowing. The narration never strays from its timeline to inform us what will happen in the end--however, there are many lines from Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris that make me pause and say, "Ah-Ha! That's another piece of the puzzle!" I don't want to give anything away, in case you haven't seen the show (it's certainly worth watching--but not, not for kids) but this show constantly deals with how narratives manipulate people--the audience--and reveals how narratives makes the audience care about the characters, even while the audience knows the characters aren't "real." (Don't worry, you'll understand by the end of the first episode.)
So, to get back on track: prolepsis skips forward in time, revealing essential elements of plot, foreshadowing alludes to items, events, themes, that may be essential in the future, but doesn't ruin the story by revealing the actual events