1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Do any of these plot points hold together well enough?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 20, 2015.

    I want to get better at writing plot when it comes to thrillers. I think I am better at character development and motivation, but getting twists and turns to hold together in a web is a challenge for me.

    For my screenplay, let me know what you think of these plot points.

    The first is a cop, COP A who is guarding a witness, who is under protection, because she in danger of being assassinated before a trial, that she is going to testify on. Some gang members come to take her out, and a gunfight ensues. The witness is part of the gang, but she is being forced legally to cut a deal and testify.

    Another cop, COP B is undercover and has infiltrated the gang. He doesn't realize that he and the gang are going to where the witness is staying to assassinate her but he figures it out just as they arrive. As the gunfight ensues one of the gang members drops his gun. The witness grabs it, and while COP A is preoccupied in defending her, she shoots COP B to death, thinking she was one of the gang members who has come to kill her.

    Now I want to write this so that COP A will call it in of course, but still wants to take her to the trial tomorrow, and act like everything is still a go. That way, they can still get her testimony, and afterwords, they can then grill her about killing the undercover cop, perhaps even on the stand, after.

    Or does this not add up at all, and they would take her in for questioning, and delay the trial? For the story to go my way, I need the trial to still go on as planned the next day, timeline wise.

    Another plot point is, is that later COP A wants to get revenge for COP B's death. I have a plan for him to execute, but need him to ask his captain to go along with it. Is it far fetched though, that if a cop is going to get revenge, and kill some gang members, that he would risk getting caught by asking his captain to join him?

    What do you think? Will these two plot points make lodgical sense, or do they create holes? Thanks for the input!
     
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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like your story premise. I think you should write it and go from there.

    And, welcome to the forum. :)
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. But these aren't really premises, they are just smaller plot points in a bigger story.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "Story premise" doesn't translate to "premises" as you are using the term. Maybe you misunderstood what I meant.
     
  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh yes, that's true, I misunderstood. Do they hold together though, in when it comes to logics and legalities? Would readers buy it? It's really tricky cause the characters have to make dumb decisions cause they are flawed, and that's what keeps the conflict going, but you don't want them to be too stupid.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no legal expertise. My non-expert reaction:

    - Why wouldn't the witness's shooting of Cop B be self defense? She didn't know Cop B was a cop rather than someone trying to kill her, right?
    - Either way, I can't see why they would grill her, at a trial about one crime, about another subsequent crime.
    - A cop asking a higher-ranked cop to help him commit deliberate murder suggests a deeply corrupt police force.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh okay thanks. I'm not saying it wouldn't be self defense. It's just that some of the other cop characters still blame her and want justice because she is part of the gang, and is part of what they stand for, so they still blame her, even so. But legally it will be deemed self defense. They only grill her, cause she is 'one of them', as they don't like members of that gang killing cops.

    Yes, that's what I mean. The force is a normal police force, and not generally corrupt, so the cop would have to ask his superior in extremely good faith, if the audience buys that.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't see it being realistic for a law enforcement officer to ask another law enforcement officer to break the law to an extent that could send them both to life in prison.
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I can understand cop a wanting revenge for the death of cop b but there's no way he would ask his boss for help, his boss didn't get to be in the boss' chair by being corrupt (one would hope) but I could understand the boss taking cop a to one side and either talking him down and making him take the legal route, offering his help that way or even going as far as to say something like "I know what you want to do but if you do it, I can't protect you, you do it on your own time and you do it alone ..."
     
  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ If Cop B is undercover, who knows? It would make his position within the gang very insecure if other cops (e.g. Cop A) know - there will be at least one bent cop in the force! That makes it unlikely Cop A will care enough to plan revenge...especially as it's just a one-man vendetta against a whole gang. It's not as if he's going for gang boss Z who ordered the hit. And if Cop A is enough to take that much vengeance upon the gang, why hasn't the force just let him loose to clean up Dodge City entirely on his own?

    2/ As soon as the prosecution (it will be prosecution lawyers doing the trial, the police will only be called as witnesses; they will have no say in how the case is prosecuted) started grilling the Witness about the shooting of Cop B, they would be stopped because it would not be relevant to the case being tried. Besides, they'd have more chance of breaking her in the seclusion of their interview rooms than in the civilized and very public courtroom.

    3/ If they're planning to grill her after the trial, it sounds as if they're planning to renege on the deal they've done with her for her testimony.

    4/ I don't see a problem with the trial going ahead tomorrow. The gang's attempted hit would have added urgency to the force's desire to get the case dealt with.
     
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  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I want Cop A to have help though, cause the revenge scheme I have particularly will require more than one cop. Is there a more plausible way he could acquire help, if asking is not a good idea?

    What do you mean Shadowfax, when you say there will be at least one bent cop on the force? Are you talking about Cop A? I do want to make it a vendetta though. The vendetta is not successful entirely, but I the reason for Cop B, dying is to give Cop A motive to get revenge. The witness though, has maniacal behavior and actually uses the killing of Cop B, to her gang's advantage, so it was more sinister than just self defense, which is why Cop B is more angry than usual. If that doesn't work, can I do anything to improve it?
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    In the movie Magnum Force for example, there are at least three cops and a police Lieutenant who conspire together to murder several felonious criminals in the city. So it seems that in order for something like that to happen, one has to ask the other, and one of them happen to make rank to Lieutenant, even though he is the type to commit murder out of a vendetta if pushed far enough.
     
  13. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    Cop B's brother is on the force (not present at the shootout) and teams up with Cop A. Definitely they don't tell the boss.
     
  14. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks, but I can't give Cop A a brother, it just complicates the plot and Cop A's character development. I need it to be a friend but no blood relation if I can get that to work.
     
  15. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    "I can't give Cop A a brother"

    I said give Cop B a brother.
     
  16. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh sorry. Well I was thinking about my story and where I need it go. I need to have a whole team of cops working together to get the gangsters, but by illegal means. I need at least five posssibly to have the ending go the way I want. But they don't have to kill the villains, if not be. What if I wrote it so that a group of cops who wants justice for Cop B, tells the captain that they know that the gang will be committing a crime soon which they can be caught in the act for and busted?

    They tell the captain, "nevermind how we know this information, we just need your help to get a sting authorized, and to help it be successful, after it's over". They also tell him that they cannot tell him in advance when the crime will happen, but will tell the captain when it will happen, soon before it does, so they will have justification to execute the sting on a moment's notice, cause if they tell the captain in advance when it will happen, then it's not in their best interest in case the captain is not in for it. Will this be a better appproach to get the captain involved, or is this not convincing either?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But then when the cops kill every single one of the gang members, isn't the captain going to proceed to arrest every single one of the cops?
     
  18. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I'm thinking just a couple of cops start killing, and things get heavy from there. And yes the captain will be after them after things go wrong. Does this work better?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  19. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, if Cop A knows that Cop B is undercover then how many other cops in the force know? It does sound as if it's common knowledge, and, like I say, there will be at least one bent cop who will "let it slip".

    Also, that vendetta...the person who killed Cop B was a witness under police protection, and presumably had cut a deal. So is the new police stance that if the mob doesn't get you before the trial, we'll get you after you've done your job? Or are they now prepared to kill random gangsters just because they can? The first gives a great incentive for a grass to keep quiet, and the second is a totally corrupt police force justifying murder and mayhem on the streets because they're the toughest gang around...oh, and by the way, we've got badges to prove it - they no longer have to bother with fitting somebody up, they've just elected themselves judge, jury and executioner!
     
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  20. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Greetings and welcome, 'Elder Ryan'! ;)

    My initial thoughts are;

    COP B has infiltrated the gang to help take down the gang...why else then, would he (or she!) have infiltrated it? So, even COP B dying would not stop the whole point of the combined endeavour, which is to get the witness to testify, no matter what.

    The dramatic priority is the survival of the witness to testify...delaying that to question the witness detracts from that.

    And the (much) higher ups, the ones who have set all this in play to bring the gang down, will know, or have been told by this time, that the killed gang member was actually an undercover cop. But you know what, that is the cop's job...to possibly die in the service of his/her duty. So it will be put down to being killed in the line of duty.

    Of course, if COP A has an issue with this, then that possibly points to some failing in him/her. You can't really blame the witness for trying to protect themselves. Cops die in the line of duty, it's a dangerous occupation, so they can't decide to go and murder someone who killed their buddy.

    If, however, the witness is a villainous character, or just a downright stinking piece of crap, then COP A might justifiably be pissed off enough to knock him/her off.

    But there would have to be some good reason for the Captain to go along with it (ie, they feel the same about issues with the predicament, ie, corruption, criminal witnesses as bad as the crooks getting away with it, or has a terminal illness and wants to stick it to the man before he goes) Otherwise, the Captain would maybe not turn in COP A, but attempt some obstacle.

    Hope my ten cents worth help! :cool:
     
  21. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    And following on from this, wouldn't it be in the police department's interest not to let the gang know the dead Cop B is really a cop? So no police funeral (yet) and so on, until the gang is taken down?

    @Ryan Elder, you could do something with this. Is there someone, perhaps a family member, whom this pisses off?

    I really like your basic idea about Cop B getting killed by the witness under protection. It's shocking and tragic and something I could see happening. I wonder, though, if you're forcing the Cop A Gets Renegade Revenge angle. Do policemen usually "get revenge" for the deaths of their colleagues, in that extra-legal, violent fashion? I doubt it. Seems to me the death would just be a greater incentive to bringing the gang to justice in the usual way.

    If you're totally dedicated to the violent revenge idea, you've got your work cut out to convince me, the typical reader, why that particular cop reacted that way and why his colleagues, in a force that you say is not corrupt, would go along with the plan.
     
  22. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. And yes, the witness is a sociopathic scumbag, and the cops know this, which is why they are pissed off. However, perhaps I have not structured it in the most convincing logical way. Basically here are two things I need to happen to build into the ending I want. I want Cop A, and some other angry cops to go after the crook to get revenge. It doesn't necessarily have to be murder at first. They could just be setting up the crook if need be, but things go wrong, and it turns to revenge murder after.

    But I also need the rogue cops to be pursued by honest cops who are out to arrest them before they find the crook and do any harm. So I need the rogue cops to have motive for revenge, since the legal system has failed them, enough where they are willing to do jail time to get justice. And I also need the honest cops to find out about this in advance, and want to arrest them in advance, cause they know they are going to do it.

    But I am stuck on how to make this work logically, since most cops would wait to see what happens in the system for quite a while. Any ideas on how to get these two things to work?
     
  23. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I would start with dirtying up the police station in general. Nothing big but some minor corruption. A little corruption, perhaps a hint of something bigger in the not so distant past. Maybe more then a few complaints of excessive force from multiple people.

    Then I would have the police and this gang be pretty much at war at this point. Cop B ends up being the final straw. But before Cop B is killed several other cops have been killed. A few more seriously wounded. Perhaps one disabled in some serious way.

    The cops by this point are really gunning for this gang. Tensions are really high and then... Cop B dies who is beyond a doubt everyone's best friend. Everyone just really likes him.

    Anyways Cop B dies and this is what sends Cop A over the edge along with the others.

    Now all you really need is a good cop to discover the rogues and go after him. Perhaps this good cop seeks help from the Feds or something. They get involved or maybe they round up the cops that are still good and go after the rogues.

    Of course if you want to write about the a upstanding police station and it's fall then you can ignore the corruption part. But you will really need to sell just how brutal it's been.

    What you need is to give us a reason to believe these cops would go so far. As tragic as one of them dying is... It just won't do. Well it might for Cop A but they might not get any support or even feel remotely safe asking.

    Anyways just so e thoughts
     
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  24. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. One of the reasons why I was only planning on having one cop be killed is that earlier in the story, a female cop is brutally sexually assaulted by the gang. One of the gang members does it without the leader's permission and the leader is disappointed, thinking it was a bad idea, to get back at them, the way he did.

    However, I want the female cop's ordeal to be taken seriously, and for it to be the main concern for the police to be frustrated for the first half of the story. Not the whole first half is about that, but their main concern is her. However if I have it so that other cops are killed before her assault, I am worried that the cops would not be so worried about her assault. Basically when she cries out to them for sympathy, they might have the attitude 'boo hoo for you, other officers were killed'. So if other officers are killed before, than her ordeal might not be treated as serious and too overshadowed. What do you think?
     
  25. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well that depends on how heartless you want these cops to be. Cops tend to stick up for their own. They are one big family. It really doesn't matter if another cop doesn't know the other. They will have the others back in a heart beat. When one is shot or assaulted they all tend to mourn. Look at any cop funeral. Many who attend might only know the other in passing if at all. Yet the whole department itself will mourn. In fact cops from other states probably will mourn as well. Unless there happens to be some serious bad blood between the cops I doubt they would dismiss her so easily.

    Or you could have the sexual assault be the catalyst for the war between the two groups. Once learning about it they begin to seriously crackdown on this gang doing everything they can to bring them down and everything sort of goes downhill from there. Soon there are more exchanges of gunfire that become deadlier and deadlier.

    Whatever you do end up doing you need to find a a very good reason for these good cops to turn rogue and take justice into there own hands.
     

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