Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing

How to Write a Red Herring

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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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Author: jowensauthor

I'm a geeky, animal/cat-loving author of Fantasy and YA Fiction. I'm a supporter of animal charities such as the WWF. I'm also a fan of anime and sci-fi/fantasy. I'm an avid reader as well, and enjoy mainly reading fantasies, mysteries, and books about animals. I have a B.A. in History with a minor in English. I also dabble in making jewelry, reading tarot, and am interested in the paranormal. You can find out more about me and my various books and writings at my website: http://jeanneowens.weebly.com. You can also find me on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

One thought on “How to Write a Red Herring

  1. Much appreciated, Jeanne.

    Liked by 1 person

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