The Art of Distraction: Red Herrings to Create Suspense






    The Art of Distraction: Using Red Herrings to Create Suspense

    A red herring is a “false clue,” used by writers the way magicians use sleight of hand—the goal is to distract readers from what’s really going on. When done well, red herrings add complexity to plots and intrigue to stories. Red herrings fall into three broad categories: Human Nature (including the halo and devil effects); Details (including the ones readers miss); and Expertise (including trusting those characters with specialized knowledge). Weaving red herrings into your narratives increases suspense as you create engaging and ingenious puzzles.