1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I am stuck on how to get a plot turn started.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Aug 23, 2015.

    In my story, which is a thriller, I want the villain to incriminate himself to the police by going to a self-storage facility, where he rents a storage unit, and he keeps some things in their that would incriminate him, such as his money, an illegal weapons cache, things like that.

    In the unit he has it all stored in a large safe. I want the police to follow him there, where he will open up the safe and incriminate himself, by them watching.

    However, he doesn't have a reason to go there on his own. Since he is not in desperate need of money or weapons and is just living a free life, not caught yet, he has no reason to actually go to the storage unit, and is better off for him to not do anything to incriminate himself and appear innocent in case he is under investigation at this point.

    So since I cannot think of an explanation for him to actually go there and open it, the police will have to create a reason to send him there. But what could that reason be? The police do not know about his storage unit, so they would have to find out he is renting one and that it has his evidence valuables in there.

    I could write it so they watch him pay off the guy who owns the facility. But just because you go to a storage facility and hand a man some cash, would that cause them to assume that paying him for renting one, and would they assume that there is something of criminal importance it, as oppose to something in it that is not criminal at all?

    Basically I want him to go to the safe and open it. But I also want the police to be listening in on him with a parabolic microphone. They record the audio of the safe open and this is how they figure out the combination for later, by the sounds.

    But would the police have a logical reason for aiming the mic at him just because he goes into a storage unit? I could have so he is talking on his cell phone at the time, but if he is, he would only be making a call to one of his criminal friends to tell them that he has to go to the safe and get something out for whatever reason.

    If he thinks the police are onto him, he would not call his friend because he would be aware that the cellphone may be tapped.

    So I need a reason for the police to find out he is renting a unit that has possibly something to incriminate him in it.

    I also need a reason for him to be desperate enough to go there, and the police would likely have to create one.

    And I also need a reason for the police to be logically recording his movements with a parabolic microphone at that time.

    So does anyone have any ideas or suggestions, because I am kind of stuck on this one. Thanks for the input :)
     
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  2. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    Does he have a partner in crime or a girlfriend? Either could do something that would make him concerned about what he has in his safe. If he thinks he is more at risk by not going there to check on this item, he would go. Like if someone else in his life did something stupid that could get him caught so he goes there to get rid of that piece of evidence only to get himself caught.
     
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  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. He has some people who are complicit with him in the crime but none are willing to turn on him and go to the cop, so the cop would know about it, if that's what you mean.
     
  4. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    It sounds like that a string of improbable and unbelievable events will arise to corner the villain for the sake of plot and convenience. Not a lot of information to go on here, but a smart villain would not take unnecessary risks without extreme reward.
     
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  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Yeah I don't really have a lot of information to give at this point. All I know is that his criminal valuables are in the safe, and he has to go there and open it to incriminate himself and it has to be recorded. Hmm. What if the cops were tailing him and they saw him pay off the guy who works there in cash. They then figure that he must be paying him off in cash for renting a storage unit that is not in his name since he does not have on there.

    So they call him on his phone saying they are the police and that they found out he has been renting a storage unit there unofficially, and that it has been broken into. They want to get his statement about it. This causes him to go there and check it see if it has and if the contents are still in the safe. What do you think?
     
  6. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    It would be better that said criminal kept a few "valuables" aside and tries to find a buyer, but ends up crossing a person who is wise to the situation. Unloading and liquidating the assets comes with risk. Unless the police already suspect him through another logical avenue, this might serve to put pressure to "cut and run". Though paying cash for petty services is not suspicious.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. The villain isn't interest in finding someone to buy his valuables though. His valuables are money and an illegal weapons cache. They are for use in emergencies such as when the police come after him. So he has every interest to keep the contents for himself.
     
  8. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Those places typically have security cameras and it would be rather silly to keep currency in a storage center instead of in a major bank. If you are trying to hide something, a location like that is probably very low on the priority list. Given that this cache is not with said villain, it is something that is a backup at best. There is just so much more to be said about burying the cache somewhere remote on an escape route instead of illegally storing illegal weapons under a fake name in such an industry where police are likely involved regularly. If it is this type of place, how often do you think that a "fake name" person can't pay their bill and Johnny gets to claim their junk to re-coop costs? I just find it illogical, but you might make it believable with some careful work.
     
  9. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Not all storage facilities have security cameras though. I checked out one in my city for research and there were none, I even asked. I also read a story about where a guy was robbed and there were no cameras to help him in a storage facility in a larger city. Banks have cameras too. Plus the safe deposit boxes in banks are not near as large to carry weapons in compared to what you could have in your own storage unit. So I thought that would be more logical to keep it in a larger room, with less eyes around compared to a bank it seems.

    As far as a fake name person not paying his bills, all he has to do is pay the bills on time and no one will re-coop it. So it's not a problem with him cause he always makes his payments on time.

    What if the police saw him pay off the man who works there, and even though it's not suspicious, they are so desperate to think of something to connect him with his crimes, that they come to the conclusion that he might have something stored in one of the facilities, which is what he is paying for.

    So they get a police dog to catch his sent from his car or something, and then the dog will follow the sent to the storage unit he is renting. That way they know which unit he is renting. Perhaps what they could do then is call him and tell him that they found out he was renting a storage unit unnofficially, that it was broken into, and they want to ask him questions about it. Could this be enough to send the villain into a panic wanting to go check to see if the safe inside, was opened as well?
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    What else is in the safe that he might need...? Besides money, guns, etc. Maybe something unrelated to his crimes, but important enough to him that he keeps it in the safest place he has access to.
     
  11. Jaro
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    Jaro Active Member

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    I wouldn't have the police using the mic to determine the safe combination. That (while I could be wrong) doesn't seem possible, since Safe Crackers use a stethoscope to listen, and they still have to look at the number on the wheel to use. So logically the police would need to see the number, AND hear the sound. That being the second problem. It is highly unlikely that you would be able to hear the sound of a tumbler in a safe lock making any sound, through a mic however far away.
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks, but what if it's a touch tone key pad? What if they recorded the beeps of the keypad and matched up the tones, by using a similar sounding keypad, in order to figure out which tonal sounds are which buttons? Are beeps loud enough?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    jannert likes this.
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with @ChickenFreak on this one. I think you're stuck because this whole plot turn simply doesn't work. It's too complicated AND basically implausible, given how storage facilities work and what his reason for having one/going to the safe—while the police watch him, and THEN get the combination via some technological jiggery pokery? Uh.

    What did you intend the result of this scenario to be? Cops catch criminal, end of story? Or something else? I'd start there, whatever it is, and see if you can come up with another way to achieve that goal. This is your story, and it's part of the writer's job to work through these kinds of sticky bits. Of course you could also spend more time thinking about your present scenario, and maybe a eureka moment will occur to you and you'll find a way to solve the problem simply enough so it's believable to the reader. But my suggestion would be to turn this on its head and start again.

    Have you actually written the story to this point, or is it still in the planning stages?
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Don't know if these ideas have been suggested:

    He needs to hide some new evidence in the safe.

    A bluff by the cops leads him to need to check if [fill in the blank] is still in the safe.
     
  16. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd have to wonder if safe companies would have a tone sounding for each key press.

    Also, if the police have a warrant, they bring in their own brute-force safe cracker with a blow torch and big drills. They don't care if they make a mess or if the owner knows they've been in his safe. They might notify him so he can be present and might even give him the opportunity to voluntarily open the safe for them. But if he didn't, they'd do whatever was needed to get into it... as long as, as I said, they have a legally-obtained warrant.
     
  17. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I used a safe once that had a touch tone key pad that made the noises which is where I got the idea from.

    I do not plan on having the villain get caught by opening the safe. This is the middle of the story. I have written out the outline and am stuck on this part. Basically I want the cops to record him opening the safe and then of the cops, figures out the combo, but comes back later and opens the safe for himself, for other reasons. But I also want the villain to find out the police are onto him near this point so he can take necessary steps that will lead to the third act. I just want two things to happen. Villain to find out and take steps, and the cop to open the safe for himself, without others knowing.

    I could write it so that the cop has to break into it, but I think that might complicate things even more, rather than him figuring out the combination. It just calls for a longer scene and he would attract more attention when he is trying to be discrete. He is also not a safecracker though but just a cop, so there is that as well. Should he just acquire the combination then?

    As for what GingerCoffee suggests, it has been said by others that the villain would not fall for a bluff if he knows the cops are onto him so what kind of bluff would work since the villain is too smart for that?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  18. Jaro
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    Jaro Active Member

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    Your safe keypad made different tones for each button? That seems odd. The reasons phone do it (at least originally) is because it used this sounds (or pulses on a rotary phone) get get the call where it was needed. A safe wouldn't have need of that to open up since they operate on different technology. In fact, it sounds like that would be a major security issue, for the exact reason you are wanting to use it in your story.
     
  19. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh sorry I should have been more specific. I sometimes forget to explain things if I do not go through my notes as thoroughly. The villain has a customized key pad that was installed after the safe was built. The keypad is built to call his cellphone to alert him that the safe is broken into. In this situation it would make sense to have different tone sounds in each button, cause he took practically a phone key pad, and built it into his safe, so it will call his phone if opened.

    Does that make more sense?
     
  20. Jaro
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    Jaro Active Member

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    So his passcode is his phone number? And if that is the case will the safe call other people if a different number is punched?
     
  21. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I suppose it could but the chances of someone else punching in a ten digit phone number into the safe is probably small. If they didn't know the correct code, they probably wouldn't bother to keep typing in random numbers to try to open it. But it would just be a wrong number on the other person's end, and that would be the end of that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why the police need his combination. It's not going to be legal for them to use it. If they're going to open his storage unit illegally, they don't need it. If they won't open it illegally, they have no use for it.

    I also don't see why the combination needs to be conveyed to them by sound. You seem to be absolutely desperate to make that work, and I don't see why you need it. If you just wanted a cool scene where the police use a parabolic mike, it would be better to have them use the mike for something else.

    This business about someone trying ot use the safe accidentally calling someone whose phone number matches the safe combination..it makes no sense. A phone-style key pad doesn't have magic phone abilities. Tearing a phone apart to try to MacGyver the parts into a safe keypad is incredibly complicated and implausible. The idea that a wrong guess at the combination would call a number is a great way to give away the combination--HE just types one number wrong, and the combination is all but given away. Making the combination his phone number is even more horrible security.

    None of it makes sense. Why are you so desperate to have the combination given to the police, and so desperate to have it given to them through the parabolic mike?
     
  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm returning, because this seems like an example of the kind of problem you keep having: You go too far down your plot path before you start to fix things.

    You need a private police officer to get evidence against your villain.

    So you decide that he keeps his stuff in a storage unit, and his storage unit has a keypad, and the police need to get the combination to the keypad, and they need to get it audibly.

    Only then do you start to see the problems, but you don't back off--you try to force the elaborate scheme that you've come up with, to work.

    Why don't you back off, detail by detail, and try to find something that makes sense?

    You want the police to have the combination--but it doesn't really have to be a audible. How else could they get the combination?

    You need a police officer to get in and see his stuff---but he doesn't really have to get the combination. How else could he get the storage unit open?

    You need a police officer to find out something about him--but that something doesn't really have to be in a storage unit. How else could he find evidence about him?

    The core of this is that you need a specific police officer to learn something, privately, about your villain. Right? So why not give up all the elaborate details, and think about that problem in a more general way?
     
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  24. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I need the cop to get proof against the villain, proof that can he used in court. But I also want the villain to be alerted by silent alarm or something that the cop has acquired it so he can get there to stop him. So I do not necessarily need safe that is audible in figuring out the combo, it was just my way. I need the cop to acquire proof, and for the villain to be alerted via silent alarm. It has to be in a public place like a self storage facility or something like that though, because if it's at a privately owned residence, it will steer the police investigation in other directions that will not work for what I am going for.

    Do you think that when I try to come up with a story I should ask other writers advice on every plot turn before going ahead and creating more? I think that is my problem is that I get carried away and create too much of the story with confirming if every one from section to section works.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suspect that "silent alarm" is another detail that you can dive below. You need the cop to acquire proof and you need the villain to...what? Arrive at the same place as the cop? Find out that the cop found the evidence? Why the "silent alarm"?
     

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