WHAT IS A RED HERRING?
A red herring is a misleading statement, question, or argument meant to redirect a conversation away from its original topic.
Authors use this form to keep readers in suspense while writing a mystery. In the Hound of the Baskervilles, the obvious suspect is the butler. One of the important clues is the murderer has a beard as does the butler.
In “The DaVinci Code”, Bishop Aringarosa is the red herring. The author implies that the bishop is the mastermind behind the plot of the book, and readers suspect him the entire time.
You can use the red herring technique when writing in any genre. It is useful in political debates, where one candidate changes the topic to distract the opponent. It is successful in advertisements to convince the reader to purchase the product. It is the choice of defense lawyers to draw attention away from the main point. Using misleading techniques can create continual suspense for the reader, until the last page.
In all of these instances, the red herring is a misleading, false clue, aiming to draw the attention of the reader away from the current point of view that is the main plot of the story. This information is available on- line if you want more examples of the technique. Try it! Paula