What is it when an author starts the book with a future event, goes on for maybe a paragraph or a page, then stops and returns to the present?

  • You might have better luck on r/tipofmytongue. Identification questions are rarely helpful to future visitors. Jan 16, 2021 at 5:35
  • 1
    For the downvoters: How would "research" answer this question when one doesn't have access to some rare volume listing literary techniques?
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 16, 2021 at 13:59
  • @HotLicks Agreed. This is one of the less appealing aspects of the site. I am tempted to ask for an old word for "a drop of mucus on the nose" and see if the downvoters argue successfully that I could have done successful research first.
    – Anton
    Jan 16, 2021 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


This is an initial Flash-forward or prolepsis. The device may be used at any point in a tale (except at the end) and applies to your context.

A flash-forward (or prolepsis, also sometimes known as a flash-ahead) in a narrative occurs when the primary sequence of events in a story is interrupted by the interjection of a scene representing an event expected, projected, or imagined to occur at a later time. The flash-forward technique is used less frequently than its reverse, the flashback, or the flash-sideways.


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foreshadowing : an indication of what is to come

"If the history of the world were a novel, the events so strikingly chronicled in the photographs in this book … would seem a foreshadowing of the recent events …"

Merriam Webster


Narrative hook.

In medias res.

Non-linear storytelling.

Framing device.

  • 2
    You should include definitions for each of these terms. Jan 16, 2021 at 12:53

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