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  1. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    Red Herrings?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by suddenly BANSHEES, Oct 11, 2011.

    (Not sure if I'm using that phrase correctly, but...)

    A large part of my current story involves the protagonists seeking information about aliens. I've been toying with the idea of misleading them for a bit - two characters, a homeless man and a seemingly "normal" man, both claim to be in talks with aliens, but both in different ways, and the things they say don't match up with each other. This throws the protagonists off for a while, as they believe the both of them, until it is revealed that the "normal" guy is actually just crazy, and nothing he's told them is actually true.


    I was just wondering, would that seem like lazy writing - like I'd written myself into a corner and just pulled that out of my arse? Or would it just be annoying? This is the only point in the story where the characters would be misled like that, but is one time too many?
     
  2. colinbeckett
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    colinbeckett Member

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    Red herring usually refers to the distraction of the reader, rather than the characters.

    But in response to your question:
    I think if you used it as an opportunity for character development, it wouldn't be so bad. As long as something comes out of it, whether or not it brings them closer to the goal, it's not a waste of time.
    I would just write it, and you can always cut it later if it doesn't work out.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    colin's right about what a 'red herring' actually is... as for whether what you want to do will work, or not, the proof's in the writing... no one can say till they read your book...
     
  4. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Red Herrings are a delectable dish. Integrating them into your meal can be ideal if it complements the taste you wish your food to have.
     

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