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.

Clichéd Scenes

1. Morning cliché
Clichés come in all sizes. There are as many clichéd scenes as phrases and words. For instance, how many times have you seen a book begin with the protagonist being “rudely awakened” from a “sound sleep” by an alarm? Have you written an opening like this? Where to start, you opt for the morning. Speaking of slipping into a cliché, I’ve been there and done that. We all have. Do not ever do it like that.
Joining that cliché is having the “bleary-eyed” character drag themselves from their bed, squinting against the intruding sunlight. Compounding that is showing the reader everything the character sees in that room. What happens next? They’ll pass or stand opposite a full-length mirror, and we’ll get the full rundown of the look and condition of the protagonist.
Are you cringing? I’ve made the same sort of clichéd scenes. Decide to leave that kind of morning-routine cliché to the writers who’ll begin to enter the writing like yourself. Do not start things in the morning or getting a cup of coffee/tea, but open in some action.

2. Answering the phone cliché scene
Another dangerous cliché scene is how people answer the telephone. This does happens even in the movies or on a stage. Be cognizant of yourself the next time your telephone rings. It’s such a common occurrence that we do not even think about it at all. But one thing you do not do is look up, surprised. You merely rise and answer it.
If your character gets a phone call and says, “Hello there?”
“Hi, Tom?”
“This is Jane.”
“Hi, Jane. What’s up?”
Enough already.

3. The confusion of detail in a scene; the info dump
There may be a lot of information the reader needs to understand the following action. Listing all the information in one paragraph is awful. I do know about this as I have done it in my first chapter.

4. Coincidences
I do love coincidences. I’m fascinated by them, the happy ones and not the unhappy type. In fiction, if there is more than one in a novel that is too many, and even that one has to get managed well. The good coincidences and not realistic. They happen in real life, but in fiction, it is too convenient. Upsetting and unfortunate coincidences occur in life a lot, I know about that. Unhappiness is more realistic in fiction.