Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 35

red herring

the introduction of a memorable object, event or character that you lead the reader to believe is crucial, but turns out to be a distraction - sleight of hand. This covers the seeding of a crucial element that is hidden in plain view. This is a popular device in mysteries. Irony is the key to its success, otherwise it is merely a device and not an engaging element.

Edward C. Patterson

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