Misleading your readers can be super important in writing! Especially if you want a plot twist that works, sometimes foreshadowing can get a bit obvious but throw in some red hearings and you’re back on track. 

When it comes to unreliable sources, there are a ton, but it is preferable to choose one that your readers will believe. For this I mostly use characters, see, most readers will believe the protagonist or important side characters when they say something. They won’t even question it. But there’s a lot of reasons your main character may not be telling the truth. 

They might be retelling an explanation they made up in their head a long time ago and can’t even remember was made up. 

They might have been lied to. 

They might of misunderstood something they were told.

They might be talking to a child and simplifying or lying for their protection. 

And if you don’t say anything, people will assume whatever they say is true. But characters are allowed to make mistakes. 

Remember, if you have an all knowing neutral narrator, they can’t straight up lie. But character’s aren’t all knowing and often think they are. 

Another form of unreliable information can be extracts from books, or essays. Books are full of misinformation! Either because of politics, interests or simply new evidence coming around. How many things were supposed to be true until proven otherwise? And students can be terrible! The amount of lies I’ve told in my essays purely from misinterpretation is terrifying. 

For both of these you have to be careful. If every time you pull out a book it’s all lies, well, readers aren’t dumb, they’ll pick it up quite quickly. If it is mostly true, with a couple of lies spread in between the pages, now we’re talking. 

You can also combine the two. A characters reads something in a book, tells others, they believe it and go with is as though true. Nobody ever corrects the misinformation. The reader certainly won’t be suspecting anything at that point. 

Anyway, I hope this was useful. 

As usual,  check out my book, stories I’ve written plus other social medias: here.

How have you tricked your readers?