A Deeper Description…
Although some of the Pop-Ups that we are working through on the most recent Kickstarter are fairly clear. Or I thought they were, but I guess I was wrong considering some of the questions I have gotten in the last few days.
So over the next week or so I’ll talk a little about what these are about and why we picked them.
The first one that every backer of the Kickstarter campaign will get without charge is the Pop-Up How to Make Your Red Herrings Invisible.
Now in fiction, a red herring is something you write that is meant to distract from the real plot line or purpose. Red Herrings have to be true to the story and characters and a real lead to the problem, otherwise the reader feels cheated. But the red herring takes the reader in a wrong direction. Or at least a different direction.
Now this takes a certain skill to know at any point in the story exactly what the reader is thinking. And sometimes, for clear plot reasons, you want a red herring to be obvious what it is, obvious enough that both readers and characters can see it. That is one way to use a red herring in a plot structure.
False leads easily tossed aside. (However, that also can be used to your advantage in something very twisted.)
Another standard path is to make the red herring completely invisible to the readers and the readers follow the character down this side path without problem.
99% of all younger and intermediate writers never think of red herrings, wouldn’t know how to set one up, or execute it, or get out of it without readers being angry. I am fairly certain that a full six-week class on red herrings would be valuable in just the awareness alone for writers.
But for the Pop-Up, we are going to focus on one tiny bit of the overall picture of using red herrings in fiction. And that is some ways if you do try to use one, to make it invisible. And then even more importantly, bring it back to being visible without cheating the readers.
In my twisted mysteries in my Cold Poker Gang series, I use invisible red herrings all the time. But each one takes a set up and a runway to land it, often into a set up of another red herrings. In fact, I did that from the very first book.
Now I have mentioned two types. Invisible Red Herrings and Obvious Red Herrings. But there are numbers of other major types including traps and set-ups and others. A very large topic. Going to be fun to cover just a tiny bit of the huge topic most writers ignore. But awareness is awareness is awareness.