1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I was told I have a huge plot hole that needs filling, but can't figure it out.

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

    Basically in my plot the main character, who is a cop, wants to get revenge on the villains because they get away with killing two other cops, for other reasons in the story. However, I was told that this idea is not feasible. It makes no sense cause it's a paradox.

    I asked a writing consultant, who I was considering hiring. He had a look at it, and made a good point. He said that it makes no sense to get revenge on cop killers, because the police take cop killing so seriously that they would be all over it. Even years after the case went cold. If I wrote it so that it skipped ahead in time, to the point where the protagonist was an old man, and the crooks had not been caught yet, then he could have a reason to get revenge before he died. But it's not believable that he would get it in a short time period.

    Another thing he pointed out was, that because of all the modern technology, it's extremely difficult to get away with murder, if not impossible, when it's a cop, since the whole police department will be all over it for decades.

    So murder will just not work for my premise, and it's a paradox. What do you think? Is my story re-writeable, or have I painted myself into a corner I cannot get out of. I can hire him to rewrite it but he says he doesn't believe he can, without changing the whole story, which in that case, I might as well write a different story.

    What do you think?

    I also came up with another idea. What if the cop's wife was raped or something like that? Then he would be avenging a rape which is not taken near a seriously by the police as murder in comparison. Would this work better? He says that will also be hard to swallow because people are much more forgiving when it comes to rape compared to avenging murder. Murder is just more believable when it comes to revenge. But that's the paradox. Murder is more avenge-able, but since it's almost impossible to get away with murder without being caught eventually, there is therefore no reason to get the revenge without waiting a few decades first logically.

    What do you think? Is he right?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No, I don't think he's right.

    First off, a large percentage of murders are never solved. Look it up.

    Second, when I hear that perfected technology stuff I think someone has been watching/reading too much fiction.

    Third, a good lawyer can get many guilty people off (for example OJ), and poor representation gets a lot of innocent people convicted. See what The Innocence Project has documented on that one. If the wrong person is convicted the cops may feel they got their man while the actual killer goes free.

    My biggest question is why revenge instead of an eventual conviction?
     
  3. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    A cop would avenge when the system lets him down. If the criminals are caught but get away with it anyway, then you have cause for revenge.

    I understand the points the consultant made, but his advice is unwise. Sure, it would be harder to get away with killing a cop, but it's the conviction where you can let them get away with it. Plenty of ways to get around the very limited, very hard to access, and very low quality tech we have at large at the moment. Even security cameras in stores don't help identify robbery suspects most of the time. It just helps convict them.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. However, for my story to work, I do not want the villains to go to court over it. Because of some twists and turns, I need the killer to not be identified. Only later, do the vengeful cops find out through their own investigating. But it's still not enough proof to tie them to the murder physically. How can I make the reader believe that they actually got away with it, without going to court though? That is, is that there was no forensic evidence at the scene? How do I eliminate all forensic evidence? Basically I wrote it so that the cop dies in a shoot out. The killers did not have motive, it just happened, sort of thing, but they have time to cover it up per say.
     
  5. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Besides, if modern tech is a problem, set the murder in the 70s or 80s.
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well it's a very low budget screenplay which we are producing ourselves, so I set it in modern times to keep costs down. He says I should at least let the murder case go to trial first. However, earlier in the story the villain is prosecuted for kidnapping and rape. He gets off. This is what leads to other investigations that get the two cops killed.

    But the thing is, is that if I have him go to court a second time, and get off again, it will come off as recycling the same scenario twice in one script, wouldn't it? I don't want it to be repetitive, which is why I wrote it so that the cops are not sure if it's the same man forensically, and cannot prove it.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Can the murderer be in the FBI witness protection program and untouchable that way? Seems like the FBI has protected more than a few murderers when they can get something else from the criminal.
     
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  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That's the seed of a good idea. If the killers are police informants for an even bigger catch, they may get immunity despite being cop killers in order to convict a bigger fish. And that would REALLY rub a cop the wrong way.
     
  9. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Some of the details seem to be getting in the way of the solution. You may need to rework the script in order to eliminate the road blocks you're mentioning. You may have to change other elements of the story in order to fix this one.
     
  10. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Any ideas what I need to change? I want the villains to remain mystery characters. Basically they kidnap a VIP hold some other VIPs for ransom and get away with the whole thing as part of their plan. So a large part of it the story, depends on them not being known, until the vengeful cop finds out later. Only after he finds out, he cannot really use the info, since he did not obtain it legally, and has to exact his own revenge plan, or feels he has to.

    I feel that if I make the villain a protected informant, well... it's just he works with a group of villains to complete the scheme. Is it a coincidence that they would all be protected informants, cause I kind of need them to be all be untouchable, for them to get away with it.

    It just feels like a plot convenience that comes out of left field that serves no purpose to the story, other than making them untouchable. I mean these guys are not the criminal types at first but only turn criminal when they commit this kidnapping. They have no reason to be informants previous to that. They are off the radar kidnappers, not known gangsters or anything like that. They have to be off the radar for the story to go in other directions. I could write it so that they become informants intentionally as part of their plan to get away with it, but I mean how do you apply for that position? Do you just call the FBI up and say you would like to be one, no questions as to why? And what do they have to offer them really?
     
  11. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    This story is starting to sound way too complicated for a film script. What's the story? Is it the revenge? Or is it the kidnapping?
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    It's the revenge, the kidnapping is just what gets it all started

    If the cops being killed does not work cause it presents other problems then how about this. Only one of the cops is killed early on, which they can get away with much easier. The protagonist wants revenge for this.

    So he talks another cop, who has the same feelings as him, into faking his death. The reason why, is because it will give other cops motive for revenge against the gang, because the police department will not have enough evidence to prosecute since their is no body. They will be avenging a faked murder. The protagonist can say he saw his cop friend killed by the gang, don't know where they dragged the body off to. This can give the other cops a reason to be pissed off and give the protagonist assistance in revenge, because the department has no forensic evidence of a murder to investigate it as a cold case for the next decade if they wanted to. The plan is a bit obsurd, but if these two cops have descended into revenge enough to cook up a scheme like that, could the audience understand and relate to it?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Cool, so you know you can change the kidnapping if needed. Obviously I don't know the script well enough to suggest proper changes, but since the revenge is the most important part, are we following the hunt for the killer during the story, or sitting in on the kidnapping? This seemingly deviates from your question, but it's all linked. And that's the problem. Everything in your story is linked, so to fill the plot hole you need to pull the script apart and rebuild it so there's no hole. It's a painful process but the only sure way to eliminate a complex problem.

    Scripts are my thing, btw, and I've done a bunch of editing and consulting so it's not new to me.
     
  14. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well the kidnapping itself has to be done a certain way, so certain repercussions come out of it. Basically the one cop has to be killed in order to set the main character on his course of revenge. The second cop does not have to be killed per say. He is part of the kidnapping but once the cop is killed and the kidnap victim put through a worse ordeal than she was meant to, he becomes morally conflicted and leaves the gang. He wants out, but now the gang see him as a threat. I wrote it so they kill him, but again maybe the protagonist as well as other cops would not want revenge because they would just wait years to see if they can find something that links to the kidnappers before going to kill someone.

    Also, I could write it so that the morally conflicted cop, conspires a plan with the main cop to fake his death in order to protect himself from the gang, but it would also cause other cops to want revenge because they think he is dead, so they come after that gang. They cannot prosecute the gang, because since the death was faked, they don't have a body, but the two cops could rely on the other cops taking revenge.

    Another idea, is to have the kidnap victim's rape, not only affect the crooked cop who is part of it, but also to affect the main cop as well, because he can relate cause of other character background reasons. This causes him to take it real personally as well as the other cop, since he is responsible and feels guilty it got out of hand. They get revenge on the gang, with rape being the motive for their revenge. However, is rape enough? Or does a cop have to be killed to actually push them that far?

    These are all three ideas I have on how to end, it, and that's including the first one. Does this help?
     
  15. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, in order to avoid the "Cops will be all over a cop-murder case" you're only going to have only ONE cop killed?
    And then have a cop lie about seeing another cop killed in order to get the team to investigate the original cop-murder?

    I prefer the witness-protection idea.

    An episode of Silk had a similar scenario, where a woman is accused of murdering her brother and, ultimately, the case gets thrown out because the police were withholding evidence because the brother (and the other male members of the family) were under surveillance for drugs offences.
     
  16. Mckk
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    What if the cops thought they'd got and even convicted the cop killer, which means, case closed? Only your MC finds some discrepencies and starts digging. You'll have to engineer some reasons why that's discouraged - it might make the dept look bad cus it's been 3 years, closed cases cannot be reopened except for X circumstance which it doesn't meet, etc. This means the whole police dept wouldn't be looking anymore cus they've had their peace, but MC's still struggling with it and takes matters into his own hands.

    Alternatively, perhaps the cop killer is a cop himself - a high ranking one who has the power and means to tinker with evidence and contacts higher up. He is well-respected and loved by many and have many successful cases under his belt. Heck, maybe he leads the investigation :D MC suspects him, but who would believe him? It's true the police dept is "all over the case" but they're being lead like blind sheep, so MC takes matters into his own hands.

    The first scenario would be more standard crime fiction. The second scenario sounds like it's got a whole host of possibilities in my opinion! :D I wouldn't mind reading it at all actually.
     
  17. jen_writer
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    I don't understand how it wouldn't make sense. There's a lot of films etc about revenge. If you look at the policeman as a character and not as a plot mechanism something about him may provide the basic reason why he would get revenge. I don't think you should change it as having a man get revenge for his wife's murder/rape is done too often. But revenge for killing fellow police seems fine to me.
    I'm no expert but as a reader you wouldn't think it's a 'paradox' you don't over analyse things. Has long as he has motive and it's not against his character to do this what's the problem?
    And there are unsolved cases. And in some instances maybe even corruption or lies that stop justice being done?
    I don't understand why this writing consultant has said this, surely as long as ou can prove the character would geninely do it? And its often done in tv etc so why not in a novel?
    Write it and don't worry about that one person's opinion.
    It's the reader that counts. After all it's not feasible that vampires exist or magic but there's books about that
     
  18. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I am surprised you say that the revenge for a wife that has been raped is more cliched, cause I actually thought that a cop avenging a cop is more cliched. I have seen that a lot more in comparison so I thought the wife thing would be more original.

    The thing is, is that the villains are of a very specific type of group, with a different background. I cannot make one of them the police chief and still have the plot work the way I want. And if I make them in witness protection, that won't work for what I want either. Basically they have nothing to offer the FBI. It would have to be part of their plan of getting away with the crime. They would have to offer the FBI fake evidence on something, but I think the FBI would eventually see through it and they wouldn't be in witness protection for very long.

    However, in order to have the climax I want and have all they key characters meet in the same place at the same time, I want the killers to remain mystery characters. The cops do not know who they are, but they know where they will be on a certain day and time. I need it to sort of happen this way for the ending I want. Is it possible for the revenge motive to make sense if the cops are going after mystery characters? We the audience know who they are, but to the cops it's a mysterious group, and this one day and time, is the day to get them, or otherwise they may never re surface again, sort of thing. I would like to end it that way, cause it gets everyone in the same place and time, I need, and it gives reason certain events to occur for the climax.

    So is it possible to have them get revenge on mystery characters and still have it work?

    In order for the crooks to get away with their original kidnapping plan in the first place, I need them to be unknown accept for one, who is caught, goes to court and acquitted on lack of evidence though in the first half. However, the others have to remain mystery characters. It makes no sense to make them FBI informants, because the FBI would not give that job to just anybody they do not know.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  19. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I don't mean to be horribly annoying by going off subject, but what is a "writing consultant" and how do you hire them, and where did they get that job? I've never heard of such a thing.
     
  20. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I found some screenwriting consultants by typing 'script doctor' into google, and a lot of ones come up. They are consultants for screenplays only though, and am not sure where you would find ones for general writing. They got the job by being previous successful screenwriters themselves mostly. However I was also told by another screenwriting consultant that my concept does not work cause I throw logic out the window. But he did not say where and when though. Is their any way I can get much more specific advice to what's wrong?
     
  21. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Didn't read every post but here the thing. The cops revenge is a concept. Concepts don't have plot holes. Exacution of concepts have plot holes.

    If you say the guy killed a cop and has figureprints everywhere was caught on tape and confessed but still got off? Then I would say that is a plot hole. Thing is a plot how this happened. It is up to you to make it believable. Personal I think the concept is completely valid. There are plenty of ways to go with this too. So it is valid in the sense that this is a idea for plot and not actually the plot. Does that make sense?
     
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  22. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks, that makes sense. But I also showed him the script and he said that it was the execution throws logic out the window as well. Perhaps that needs tweaking, but I am not sure if I should hire him or someone else, or anyone at all. I am just trying to make it make sense.
     
  23. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    From what I gather. I wouldn't hire him. For a few reasons;
    1. You make him sound negative. Constructive criticism is not about breaking something down but showing someone how to do it better. Simply saying it doesn't make sense is only half the work.
    2. Probably a dozen of people will help you do that on here for free. (Basic analysis of plot? Yeah I wouldn't mind taking a glance.)
    3. As with anything you're going to need experience to be good. I don't know what your level is but if you story has glaring plot issues it seems likely you have a room for improvement. No sense paying for help when you can just practice more and learn to help yourself.
    4. I think a lot of young writers get impatient and just want to finish now. Paying for help seems like an extension of that.

    Like how long have you been working on it? How much of that time has been writing? How much writing do you have? How many revisions have you done? How many people have seen your work?
     
  24. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I first got the idea in 2011 around and have been developing it since, but did not start writing it till 2012, cause I was busy with other projects then. But I would really like to finish it since I made a goal to pitch it by this year, which I have not done yet of course. I don't mean to make him sound negative. In fact I look up to him. And he has done it for other people and payed considerable big fees for it, so I thought he would know what he is doing more than me for sure. I tried posting a sample of the screenplay on here before, but no one had a look yet. Would you mind going over the 14 page story outline?
     
  25. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it makes you feel better. my main story I been developing since 2008. All over this site you will see people that have spent years working on the story. Basic idea to me is this. Timeframe doesn't matter. One good story will last forever while a unfinished story will fade into the slush pile.

    You didn't mention how much writing you have? Also please use word count. Page count doesn't tell me anything.

    If you looking for more precise critic that is what writing workshop is for. I said I would listen to the basic plot to give opinion on if it had plot holes. By that I mean a discussion. Like writing me a PM note explaining context and us going back and forth talking about it.
     

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