Human nature is not black and white but black and grey.
One way to think about human nature is to consider the role of red herrings in controlling reader perceptions. While red herrings are commonly associated with crime fiction, authors of all genres can implement them. Memoirs, literary fiction, and literary nonfiction benefit, too, because red herrings add layers of complexity to plots and characterizations.
Crime fiction writers use red herrings to paint the innocent with the colors of guilt. It’s a sobering responsibility. We authors wield awesome power. The words we choose can convince readers that someone who’s innocent is, in fact, guilty, and can allow the ...