by Adam Huddleston
This week’s literary device is one that many if not most writers have at least heard of: red herring. It is defined as the use of a topic to deliberately mislead the reader or character in a story. Red herrings are often utilized in mystery or suspense to deter the audience from solving the plot.
It is often believed that a red herring must be false. This is not the case. A true fact may also be used to mislead the intended target. For example: Let’s say a police officer catches a thief. Said thief begins a long, sob story concerning how he needed the money to pay for food for his starving children. The thief’s story may or may not be true, but he is using it to distract the officer from the real point that he is guilty. The use of red herrings in your work can make it more engaging for your readers.