Red herrings are elements in your story that lead the protagonist in the wrong direction of reaching his or her goals. If you’ve ever read mystery novels like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, you know the value of red herrings. They help to add tension and conflict to a story.
Let’s say you want to write for children. It’s something you’ve always wanted to do. But, coming up with a great idea for a story can be daunting. Don’t let writer’s block get you down, though. The first thing you should do is think about the story concept.
Does your story have an MDQ? What’s the MDQ you ask? The BIG QUESTION, i.e., will your character blank? “Will Billy find his bicycle?”, or “Will Janie learn to eat her vegetables?” Basically, “Will my protagonist achieve his or her goal?” The MDQ, aka the Major Dramatic Question is pretty important when writing a story. Without this question there is no story.