R is for Round Robin & Red Herring, Reversal & Recognition | #AtoZChallenge

Round-robin story

Round robin is a type of storytelling that involves a number of authors each writing a chapter or part of the novel in rounds.

These novels were invented in the 19th century, and later were often used in science-fiction. Today, the term can apply to collaborative fan fiction, especially on the Internet. The term round robin can also refer to friends and family telling stories over a campfire, or a question and answer session in schools and meetings.

(Source: Literary Terms Glossary, By Wikipedia, TranslationDirectory.com.)

Photo from Dreamstime.com

Red herring

In fiction

Red herring is an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance.”

In a mystery story, an innocent party may purposefully be cast in a guilty light using deceptive clues, allowing the true guilty party to remain undetected for some time. A false protagonist is another example of a red herring.

In real life

There is no such fish as a red herring. However a kipper, meaning a fish (usually herring), that is cured in brine and/or heavily smoked turns reddish from the strong brine and has a pungent smell. This term dates back to the Middle Ages.

(Source: Literary Terms Glossary, By Wikipedia, TranslationDirectory.com.)


Reversal: “Any turnabout in the fortunes of a character,” usually the protagonist.

(Source: Components of Literature, faculty.weber.edu.)

“The point at which the action of the plot turns in an unexpected direction for the protagonist. Oedipus’s and Othello’s recognitions are also reversals. They learn what they did not expect to learn. See Recognition and also Irony.”

(Source: Literary Terms Glossary, By Wikipedia, TranslationDirectory.com.)

“‘Reversal‘ (peripeteia): occurs when a situation seems to [be] developing in one direction, then suddenly ‘reverses’ to another. For example, when Oedipus first hears of the death of Polybus (his supposed father), the news at first seems good, but then is revealed to be disastrous.”

(Source: Aristotle & The Elements of Tragedy, English 250, ohio.edu.)


Recognition is the point at which a character understands his situation for what it is.

“Sophocles’ Oedipus comes to this point near the end of Oedipus the King; Othello comes to a similar understanding of his situation in Act V of Othello.

(Source: Glossary of Fiction Terms, Online Learning Centre, highered.mheducation.com.)

“‘Recognition‘ (anagnorisis or ‘knowing again’ or ‘knowing back’ or ‘knowing throughout’): a change from ignorance to awareness of a bond of love or hate. For example, Oedipus kills his father in ignorance and then learns of his true relationship to the King of Thebes.

“Recognition scenes in tragedy are of some horrible event or secret, while those in comedy usually reunite long-lost relatives or friends. A plot with tragic reversals and recognitions best arouses pity and fear.”

(Source: Aristotle & The Elements of Tragedy, English 250, ohio.edu.)

Reversal and recognition are elements of plot.

Fish GIF is from giphy.com.

All the posts: Components of Literature A to Z

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning disorders and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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3 Responses to R is for Round Robin & Red Herring, Reversal & Recognition | #AtoZChallenge

  1. Pingback: Theme Reveal: Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2017) | Beyond the Precipice

  2. Could guess that for Round Robin. Good to know the other R’s.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JJAzar says:

    Round Robin is a new term for me. Kinda cool! You taught me something today, Eva!

    Liked by 1 person

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