Now back to our previously scheduled viewing, fresh from the keyboard of Delacorte's Next Big Thing: Mary Elizabeth Summer.
Take it away, Mary!
The best mysteries are the ones where you never saw it coming but you totally should have.
Example 1: In The Sixth Sense, **spoiler alert** the protagonist is actually dead himself and doesn’t know it until the end of the film. We as viewers should have guessed, since he never holds a conversation with any living person but the kid, and the kid gives us several clues during the film as well.
Example 2: In the Star Wars trilogy, we’re shocked when we find out Darth Vader is Luke’s father, but Obi Wan gives us foreshadowing about that in the first film by bringing up Luke’s father in the first place. We as viewers should have guessed that something was up with Luke’s dad, because enough time was spent discussing it in the first film to indicate its importance to the plot. The goal is to create effective reversals, twists, and the unexpected, to hint at it just enough in the beginning so that readers say ‘Oh, snap!’ when they get to the reveal.
The answer is it could look like anything. And chances are, if you’ve got some idea of where the protagonist is going to end up, you’ll plant little bits of foreshadowing without even meaning to as you draft. (See preplanning/post-planning tip above.) This actually happens to me all the time, so I’m speaking from experience here.
Mary Elizabeth Summer is an amazing writer who forgot to send Aimee her bio, so Aimee is just letting you know that she isn't the only one who thinks Mary Elizabeth is amazing: Mary Elizabeth's YA Mystery will be published by Delacorte Press next year. Because she's awesome. If you hadn't already noticed...