Things other writers do that annoy me, #2

Posted: September 16, 2013 in Regarding writing

And so onto the second in an occasional series of minor rants regarding things other authors do that annoy me…


Note, I’m not talking about the good foreshadowing here, where authors deftly highlight things that may happen later, laying literary booby traps in chapter four for their protagonists to step into in chapter eight and making the reader go “Aha, I knew something was up when they made that vague reference to coffee earlier!”

No, I’m talking about the cheap, lazy end of the chapter you-don’t-want-to-be-surprised-do-you foreshadowing that even the supposed masters of the craft still do. You know;

“If only I’d realised then that it was the last time I’d see Jen.”


“Little did Ron know that within the hour he’d be fighting for his life against a terrorist army.”

I know it’s tricky to end a chapter, you want to give the reader some incentive to carry on, and cliff-hangers are fine, posing questions is fine, but why’d you have to tell people what’s coming? This doesn’t make me want to read on, it makes me want to throw the book across the room.

Maybe Jen dies, maybe Jen moves to Bognor, the trouble is I know something bad is going to happen to Jen, so the shocking reveal that Jen’s giving up her career as a neurosurgeon to open a bed and breakfast by the seaside is somewhat neutered.

“Little did Paul realise that during his best-selling author future he would end up falling into the same trap, eliciting cries of hypocrite, HYPOCRITE! Luckily he was so rich and successful by then that he really didn’t care…”

  1. Hehehe! You wrote a very good ending there.

  2. starkers70 says:

    Thanks, I think the ending’s probably better than the article!

  3. […] I’d like to highlight that Terry Hayes now has the dubious honour of being the worst example of “Things other writers do that annoy me, #2” namely foreshadowing. Please believe me when I say it isn’t hyperbole to suggest that a minimum […]

  4. […] about what’s going to happen, and as you know gentle reader, this is something that can irritate me. It also prevents some of the characters from really coming alive, especially when we’re […]

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