Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing

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How to Write a Red Herring

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers! Sorry about the strange cartoon fish, but it’s the best I could find. Last time, I talked to you about the sidekick. Today we’re talking about red herrings, or the literary misdirect. I admit, all these years of writing them, and I never knew why the plot device was called what it was. So I looked it up.

The journalist William Cobbett is credited with originating theterm“red herring” in an 1807 story. Cobbett criticized the press for prematurely reporting Napoleon’s defeat, and compared that act to using strong-smelling, smokedred herringsto distract dogs from another scent.

When I read that, I was stunned to see it went all the way back to 1807. Then I wondered what it was called before that, because such misdirects were in use before then. In any event, now you know where the term comes from. And…

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Why Writing a book is Like Taking a Road Trip #MondayBlogs

I’m halfway through writing a book and I can’t help thinking this process feels like a road trip.

Here are the similarities:

Stage 1 – Everything is going to be just fine…

This is the start of the road trip / writing a book. Delusion sets in as you say everything is going to be just fine. You’ve done this journey before. You know the pitfalls, the bumps in the road, the frustration and the emotional highs and lows.

You’ve also spent ages planning this particular journey / novel, which is new for you. Normally you just have a good idea of where you are starting, where you need to get to and a vague idea of stuff in between. A proper plan is bound to make things easier.

You will have a selection of road trip accessories; water bottles, waterproofs and a variety of chewy, filling inducing, sweets. Your…

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