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Student Testimonies

* I took two Creative Writing courses at our local college several years ago and madeno advancement in creative writing skills.Once I found Creative Writing Institute, and sent a short manuscript for evaluation by Lynn Carroll, I knew this was the most hopeful doorway for me and signed up.After only three lessons of Creative Writing 101, the drive to become a student and writer again was confirmed and on I went.  My tutor, Jo Popek, cheered me every inch of the way. Even the busy CEO, Deborah Owen, took time to write encouraging words. What a great staff. Betty C.

* I just wanted to let you guys know I was assigned to create a newsletter in my technical writing class. We had to write articles based off a fake company we created. I, of course, chose to "own" a used bookstore. So the articles in my newsletter had to be about things people who shop at a used bookstore would read. I wrote several articles, turned them in, and got and 100%! She said my articles were amazing, informative but encouraging, and she absolutely loved them. I wanted to thank both of you and let you know. You really have trained me well! You given me skill that will help me with future jobs, and school! Thanks!! Arial P.

* This is exactly what I've searched for - [Introduction to Poetry] - poetry forms and rules, punctuation and line breaks. I constantly stumble over the latter. I deeply appreciate your comments and suggestions. There is nowhere else for me to turn for help. Thank you for spending your valuable time teaching this class. I've searched hard for a [poetry] class like this one and am excited to find it at CWI. Terri C.

* I have been absorbing more than I ever dreamed. The dynamic non-fiction course is just that. Dynamic. My dearest friend and writing buddy has her master's thesis in the Library of Congress and has been reviewing my assignment analyses with me at the end of each lesson. She can't get over how extensive the material is that is being taught. > Lynn answers all my questions promptly, satisfactorily, and with humor. Thanks for everything. Shirley D.

* The [Creative Writing 101] course provided the kind of detailed comments and suggestions for my writing that I have been craving and have not received in other face-to-face classes.  Diane M.



Foreshadowing Techniques and Examples

by Deborah Owen

What is foreshadowing? You read it in every story and see it in every movie, but what is it? With new understanding, you can spot it and learn how to use it effectively in your own work.

Foreshadowing is the art of layering clues to build tension. For example, if a story has a prowler on the loose and there is a scene with an open window in an otherwise locked house, that is foreshadowing.

You can introduce foreshadowing with opening lines, settings, dialogue, imagery, poetry, articles, stories, Ouija Boards, fortune tellers, séances, or even advertisements.

You’ve seen stories where a man is about to stab a woman in the shower. The act of a hand holding a knife and reaching for the shower curtain is foreshadowing. Or how about the drum beating, heart throbbing fin of Jaws? The horror genre has built morbidity on this technique big time, and it would seem thousands of followers love to nibble their nails into the quick.  

In my story, There’s the Someone I Will Kill, a teenage girl suffers a breakup with her boyfriend. Home alone, she takes Mom’s Valium, drinks Dad’s Vodka, and then finds a gun. The scene is set for something crazy.

First she plans to kill her boyfriend, but decides to win him back; however, the murderess rage won’t stop until she kills... someone. Drunk and doped, she pockets the gun and walks the aisles of a local store, looking for an old, sick, or disabled person who would surely rather die than live in their present condition.

As she scans one candidate after another, guaranteed... the reader won't eave to raid the refrigerator.

Now, let’s look at the foreshadowing in these scenes:

  • The breakup (scene charged with emotion)
  • Drunkenness (psychological changes)
  • Complicated by Valium (loss of conscience)
  • Weapon (opportunity)
  • Decides she will win boyfriend back (twisted reasoning)
  • Devilish mood (hate and anger, about to be acted out)
  • Store scene (high tension)
  • Selection of victim (the pinnacle)

All of these bread crumbs escort the reader to a surprising ending.

It has been said that the first part of the story should be foreshadowed, and the last part should be foreshadowing acted out. Writing is all about techniques and formulas. When foreshadowing is done well, it's a terrific recipe for success.

Your Assignment: search for ten foreshadowing plots in a story or on TV this week. Find more great tips in The Writer’s Choice Newsletter at



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Deborah Owen and Creative Writing Institute, Inc., its board and staff make no warranties or guarantees of any kind. Writing success comes from knowledge and persistence. We endeavor to be accurate in every way, but the publishing industry and research material fluctuates almost daily. Therefore, Deborah Owen, Creative Writing Institute, Inc., its board and staff may not be held liable for any kind of damages. Travel the writing road at your own risk. We all do. Direct questions to




CWI Sponsors Cancer Patients in Writing Courses

Creative Writing Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity that sponsors cancer patients in free writing courses. As a nonprofit organization, we can provide extremely competitive prices for the public. We go the extra mile that others only talk about. Get your private tutor here. No extra charge!

Meet "Charlie Faye," who has graciously consented to be our cancer poster lady. Donations (left column) are tax deductible. If you're a cancer survivor and wish to apply for a scholarship, see


Get your Free Writing Evaluation!

Learn the truth about your writing skills in this 20-point evaluation. If you don't know what your problems are, how can you correct them? Directions: send a 1,500-word short story written in past tense, 3rd person (he, she, it). Write EVALUATION in the subject line. Material must be G-rated (no swearing, graphic scenes, etc.). For the best evaluation, use dialogue. Submit to our CEO, Allow two weeks. One evaluation per person, please. Follow directions. That's the first mark of a real writer. See evaluation testimonies below.


Testimonies from Free Evaluations

I'm happy to have found your writing site as your cause is dear to me. I am a many-time cancer survivor and love the opportunity you have taken to help cancer patients. At age 23, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that had metastasized to ten lymph nodes. In 1997 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. I have also had 3 squamous cell and 2 basal cell carcinomas removed. Yet, here I am at age 72, happy, healthy, cancer-free and writing. Anonymous __________

The CWI is a great organization that fosters the love of creative writing in everyone. Kudos! Paul T.___________

The evaluation helped me because I had no idea what my strong points were. It showed what parts of my story was weak and that I should focus on those areas until they become strong points. Annette T.___________

Wow and way wow!! I really didn't expect such a complete job. So kind of you. I feel like I owe you big. I know I have some weaknesses but I never could find them. I can go over other's work - I do it all the time in class - but not my own. I want to communicate my stories to others. I believe it is my one gift that God has given me to share his love. I am a natural storyteller. However, I have always told instead of written. I so appreciate the direction. I have earnestly been praying for this and I feel like this is my first real solid answer. I will be seeking to hone my skills. I will be seeking YOUR HELP in my new mission field. Lavonne C. __________

Lynn was very thorough, thoughtful, encouraging, knowledgeable and motivating. The one-on-one class experience is like no other class I've attended. I believe this promotes the desire to learn and helps with follow-through. Lynn gave me such a confidence boost, all the while being candid about my strengths and weaknesses. He was understanding when I had a crazy couple of weeks and allowed flexibility for homework. I so appreciated Lynn's honesty and heart. You said you enjoyed having me as a student, but you have no idea how the whole class and mentoring system helped me. I'll be forever grateful for all that you, Lynn, and Jo have given me. You are all truly unique. Linda C. __________

[I] received a wonderful and detailed writing evaluation of a fantasy short of mine from @deborahowen ; she's awesome; I highly recommend her. Tracy K._______


Brag Corner

Reader, Student, and Staff Accomplishments

1. Writing for Children's tutor, Diane Robinson, has won another award for Sir Princess Petra in the Reader’s Choice International Book Awards (K – 3rd grade). This is the 3rd award for book one and it is short-listed for another.

Diane said, "I’m very honored and humbled because the writing itself seems to come from a higher power than myself."

Book two released September 24, 2013, and is now available at

2. CWI student and volunteer staff member, Jianna Higgins, is all aglow. Her first book, Just Looking, is a finalist in the Best Indie Books of 2013 in short fiction: Heartwarming and funny, Just Looking also took 1st place this week in the Kindle store. Check the preview at Congratulations, Jianna!

Step right up and be counted. No matter how big or how small your accomplishments, send them to



Our Goal

To rescue storm tossed lives, one by one, and escort writing students from their present level to their highest potential.




Chris Lotts

Brief bio: His agency’s clients include Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, and Robin Hobb.

Works for Lotts Agency

Looking for sci-fi and fantasy.

Contact Information: Query via and first 5-10 pages of story, no attachments.

Ginger Clark

Brief bio: She has worked with Curtis Brown since 2005. She currently lives in Brooklyn and graduated from Bryn Mawr College.

Works for Curtis Brown Ltd.

Looking for Juvenile (young adult and middle grade) science fiction, horror, romance, and fantasy.

Contact information: send query letter, synopsis of work, sample chapter, and brief resume to

Sarah LaPolla

Brief bio: Sarah earned her MFA in Creative Writing from The New York School, and has worked with Bradford Literary Agency since May of 2013.

Works for Bradford Literary Agency.

Looking for young adult and adult fiction. On the adult side, she is looking for literary fiction, science fiction, magical realism, dark/psychological mystery, and upmarket commercial and/or women’s fiction. For YA, she is interested in contemporary/realistic fiction that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of adolescence. YA sci-fi, horror, mystery, and magical realism are also welcome; and she would love to find a modern Judy Blume for the MG market.”

Contact Information: Send a query, first chapter, and synopsis to

Pooja Menon

Brief bio: Pooja graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BA and later received her MFA from The Otis School of Art & Design. She’s worked with Kimberly Cameron & Associates since 2011.

Works for Kimberley Cameron & Associates

Looking for fantasy novels that are original and layered, with worlds as real and alive as the ones created by Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling. In YA, she’s eagerly looking for submissions across all genres (contemporary, adventure, realist, paranormal romance, gothic, horror, historical, steampunk, dystopian, magical realism, urban fantasy, and new age). Pooja is also acquiring nonfiction adventure and travel memoirs, journalism and human interest stories, and self-help books addressing relationships and the human psychology from a fresh perspective.

Contact Information: Send query letter, one page synopsis and 50 pages as an attachment to



Getting Started in Writing

What would you give to be a good writer? Would you be willing to study hard? Would you be willing to start at the bottom? Would you be willing to invest in yourself? That’s what learning the writing trade is all about, and you can learn it in two years or less.

Writing will fulfill you.

Writing will be worth the sacrifice.

Writing will make you more than you are.