Red Herrings

‘Red herrings’ are hints that intentionally deceive readers, and they can be used to a great effect in writing crime fiction. For example, one red herring may include the murderer’s identification. David Lynch’s TV show Twin Peaks made commanding use of this method. If you have created several likely suspects, the reader may become particularly engrossed when the protagonist is alone with any of them.
You might plan your red herrings so that there are some possible alternatives answers. If you just produce one red herring, then the savvy suspense follower might see it coming, but if you include multiple ones, you may keep readers guessing.
Red herrings do not just link to murder suspects. Just about anything could be a red herring including a piece of information or a situation. As an example, you could create a series of red herrings as a protagonist is walking down a road at night. The protagonist might think a man is trailing her, but he ends up entering a regional restaurant. A little while later she might think she overhears his footsteps again, but it’s only a part of newspaper scudding behind her.
Also, red herrings can work with other elements to develop suspense:
Foreshadowing, atmosphere and mood
Foreshadowing includes suggestions of things that may happen. It may be direct or indirect. For example, an example of indirect foreshadowing might be the protagonist’s arrival at a house during a terrible storm (a well-known cliché). The storm is a suggestion of the awful occurrence the protagonist may have if a crime is perpetrated at the house.
Moreover, for politicians, red herrings do come in handy as they use them repeatedly to dodge difficult questions in a conversation or an argument. They do it by referring to a different issue, which of course is irrelevant, to sidetrack from the original subject under discussion.

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