Ready for R!
Continuing with my Blogging from A to Z Challenge theme of literary devices, today is red herring.
An English-language idiom that commonly refers to a logical fallacy that misleads or detracts from the actual issue. It is also a literary device employed by writers that leads readers or characters towards a false conclusion, often used in mystery or detective fiction.
The origin of the expression has a number of theories. Conventional wisdom has long attributed it to a technique of training hounds to follow a scent, or of distracting hounds during a fox hunt; however modern linguistic research suggests that it was most likely a literary device invented in 1807 by English polemicist William Cobbett, and never an actual practice of hunters. The phrase was later borrowed to provide a formal name for the logical fallacy, and is also a formal name for a literary device or technique.
Why, you might ask, is there a picture from the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo series?
As soon as I decided on red herring, Scooby-Doo cartoons popped in my head. First, there was always at least one red herring per episode. Second, there was an actual character named Red Herring in the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo series.
Although it's obviously a tool for mysteries, a lot of paranormal novels play with this concept. Is the vampire/werewolf/angel bad? Or, does one seem good that ends up bad or vice versa? Such a fun tool!
Do you have a favorite example of a red herring?
Please take a moment to visit some other R blogs today here.