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


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The final draft of your book is done.  Now you get to  relax?.  No, you can’t.!

The next step is to self-edit—the edit you, as author, should do. After all, it is a Draft , and only you are familiar with the story, and can easily correct  all self-made errors , like noticing  where your story wanders away from  the scene being played out. Or when characters are not clearly defined ,and how about incorrect spellings, punctuation errors, and poor  word choices.

First print all the pages of your book. Then as you read, correct the errors you find on the printed  page, and  then on the computer.


  1. Use words your reader can relate to—Simple words and not  words needing the use of a dictionary.  Remember, the more the reader stops, the less interest he or she has in  continuing.
  2. Show don’t Tell.— Use an action word to show, anger, instead of saying : He is angry. Example: He slammed the door behind him
  3. Do not use the word almost. Example, She almost cried.   The character either cried, or did not.
  4. Don’t sermonize or preach to your reader.
  5. Try reading your novel out loud. You may find areas where improvement is needed
  6. Omit Clichés and use “said” for dialogue instead of “explained, declared, etc.”

After you complete your self-edit, then retain the services of a professional Editor so your book is finally ready for publication,  and, at long last, you can either rest, or begin another story.


Don’t ever give up in frustration, Paula







Are you a fiction writer?   Check this out

I tried several Editing programs,—all good, but one stands out for me: AutoCrit— WHY?

AutoCrit is designed especially for Fiction Writers.

The program di-sects your writing, looking at pacing, word choices, repeated words, pacing, sentences, phrases, dialogue, and more; analyzes it, and presents its findings.

AutoCrit’s editing program sees what you miss, and advises you, making it easy to revise without changing your meaning.

A huge plus is comparing your writing to others also writing in your genre. I find it valuable to know how my fiction compares to other successful authors.

Try it, FREE, by clicking on the link below.

Happy Editing, Paula