1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I was told that I have a plot hole here, but does this count?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, May 3, 2016.

    For my story, basically the MC, who is a cop, sees a man being murdered while surveying a gang. He tries to intervene and stop it, but he's too late, and the man is dead. The villains, seeing that a cop is trying to stop them, bring their van around, and load the dead body into it, while they are shooting at the cop, who is shooting back, while both parties are taking cover, and trading fire.

    The gang drives off with the body, and the third act is based around finding the body to be used as evidence, and the consequences that come out of that.

    However, I was told this was a plot hole, and that no gang would take a dead body with them while trying to escape a police officer, trying to stop them.

    The cop would have called for back up, road blocks would be made, and the villains will just get caught with the dead body at a road block, and therefore taking the body with them is redundant, I was told.

    But is this a plot hole really? For example, in a lot of fictional stories, a group of crooks may for example, commit armed robbery... when the police are called, the crooks still drive away, with their guns, even though they could be caught with their guns at a road block, and the guns will be used as evidence against them. So even if they don't take the dead body with them, if they are caught with their guns, the chances of them being linked to a left behind dead body is just as likely, so shouldn't you just try to take it with you, in case you happen to escape, as oppose to being caught, and linked to a left behind dead body?

    Or is this a plot hole, and is their any way I can write it so that the dead body can be taken by them for the last third to work out this way?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
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  2. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could see them taking the body with them to hide evidence but then again if the cop did see it that might hold up in court as well. I would think that the cop would call for backup if he was able to but that could be a big if. it sounds like you have a good story in progress there.
     
  3. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I have a difficult time believing that they would take the body. If you think you're getting busted, the idea is to throw out as much evidence as possible, not gather it together. This body would have to mean something to them, otherwise it's not worth risking yourself to take.

    As for the roadblocks, I don't see much of a problem here. It would depend on the resources available to the police. You could make something else going on that causes the police to be tied up, or just make the city small enough that the police don't have the resources to make such a chase. Police occasionally give up chases when they'd deemed to be too dangerous to the pedestrian population, though they usually continue to track them from the air.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Yep I could make it so the villains get past a perimeter, before it's set up. But the plot hole is, is that they take the body with them, I was told. However, you said they want to get rid of evidence. If the villains are currently trying to be stopped by a cop, wouldn't they need to take the evidence, with them and get rid if it later? They don't have time to dispose of a dead body, in the middle of gun stand off though, so how would they get rid of the evidence, without taking it with them, in their getaway, and then getting rid of it after.
     
  5. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    It's a calculated risk. A body in the middle of a street, especially one associated with gang violence is not going to tell an investigator much. You'll be able to figure out what type of weapon was used, but not much else, very little to definitively link a specific gang member to a specific crime. Being caught with the body however, is much worse. That's why you see people in movies throwing drugs out the window or eating them when pulled over, opposed to trying to hide it. Would there be a way to link the murder to the specific people if the body was left?
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay then. Well is there any way to tie the body to them later? I thought by taking the body, and then getting caught with it later, before they could dispose of it, would be how they are caught in the climax. But if that is not the most logical way to write it, is their anything to tie them too the body later, if they do not have it, or if they would have likely gotten rid of the murder weapon?

    I have went over the villain's reasons, and I cannot think of anything they would have, that could be used as evidence, so if their plan is naturally flawless, and I cannot add a flaw without creating a plot hole, then what would the police do to get them, if they do not have a reason to keep any evidence in their possession?

    If the villain's plan is flawless, without creating a plot hole, what then?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  7. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    If I were the cop, I'd memorize the license plate of the getaway car. From there I'd have a short list of suspects, from which I can match bullets to guns.

    This is still problematic with gangs though, most of their weapons are not registered nor would their vehicle registration be all that reliable. Gangs get away with murders all the time, the type of crime makes it very difficult to prove who did what and in a system when the burden of proof is on the prosecutor, that means that most of the time, prosecutors try to add as many charges as possible.

    It's very easy to provide plausible deniability of a murder: it was dark, there is no DNA... so hose charges often get thrown out, but possession of an illegal firearm or drugs is much easier since there is physical evidence.


    You mention a shootout. If your hero hit one of the villains, blood will be spilled. DNA from blood at the scene would be pretty damning.
     
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Exactly the vehicles they use are exactly that purpose, not traceable, with phony plates.

    Basically I wanted the hero to catch them all at the same time though. If one gets shot, and there is blood, if they trace the blood to a specific suspect eventually, they will go and arrest the suspect and get him to cut a deal and rat out the others.

    However, cutting a deal, and ratting out the others, just comes off as kind of underwhelming, and anticlimatic to me. I wanted them to all be caught at the same, in a more suspenseful way if that makes sense, hence being caught disposing of the dead body, in the act. But I would like that to be caught in a more suspenseful way later, if that makes sense.
     
  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    The key to any story problem like this is motivation. Give them a compelling reason to take the body. Dig a little deeper than just having them cover up a murder.

    As for the escape, there are tons of reasons how this could work. Get into the details of the escape, the narrowly-missed opportunities to catch them, the plan the gang had in place for getting away (if they did), etc.
     
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  10. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well the only motivation the villains have is to get away with murder. Any other motivations might feel forced, or at least I cannot think of any others in the characters and the story they are set in.

    What if the villains escape and leave the body there, and the MC, not knowing who most of the villains are, decides to take the body away from, the crime scene himself... He takes it away cause he thinks that there will likely not be enough physical evidence to get any leads and tie them to the murder. So he takes the body himself, and once he finds out more about the gang and the members, he plants the body on their property, and arranges for it to be found by the police.

    Would this make more sense, or does the MC not have enough of a reason to move the body from the scene, and keep it till he can use it later, since that may also pose problems, evidence wise?
     
  11. United
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    In your book, do you give any reason why they load the dead man's body into the vehicle?
    Was this man important? Are they going to sell his organs (lol)? Etc. Etc.

    And the MC is a cop. He saw the murder, so he is a witness. It doesn't matter if they took the body or not.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on the kind of gang, I guess, and who the victim is. Where I live gangs are delineated along lines of where they live. They are defined by their neighborhood. Gang wars happen all the time. When the Villa Blanca gang kills someone from the Coralis gang, it's a thing they want to be known. They aren't invested in hiding the information. Quite the opposite.

    A few months ago I had to transcribe and translate a video recording made on a cellphone where an "employee" of a rival drug point was caught selling within someone else's territory and was subsecuently beaten to death in the recording. The recording was purposefully made and disseminated. They wanted it to be known.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No; that's less plausible than the villains carrying the body away.

    Why do you need the villains to carry the body away?
     
  14. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    He's a witness to men in masks and gloves though. He wants to get them convicted later, so he wants to do something other than rely on a dead body at a scene which will probably likely not carry enough evidence to convict all of them, especially since he doesn't know them and cannot identify them later.

    I wanted the villains to carry the body away so no one finds it, and they can get away with the murder, easier. But also, it gives the villains a chance to be caught later, when they are disposing of the body. Mainly, if they are caught now, the story is too short, and I need to delay them being caught to keep it going to an acceptable length. But if they are not caught with the body of the victim, I cannot think of any other evidence they would have to convict them later.

    What if I wrote it so that the gang leader villain had collateral on his fellow gang members, in case they ever turned on him, and the police come across this collateral, and use it as evidence against them in court?

    I asked a couple of people and got mixed opinions. One says it does not make sense for a villain to have collateral on the others in case of betrayal, cause he is just setting up evidence against himself, to get taken down by the police as a result, when it would be better to have no evidence at all that anyone can use against you, including within the gang itself.

    The other says he can see this working. But does that count as a plot hole too, if the villain were to have that, even though he normally wouldn't want to have evidence stashed away that can be used against them?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  15. United
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    Well, if your villains were masked, readers might ask "why?" To a reader, there should be no reason for a gang member to wear a mask to kill someone. Especially if it's on their own territory. But if it's not on their territory, then a reader might ask "why were the gang members in a different territory?"

    And also, even without a body, the cop could trace the vehicle back to an owner. He could go back to the gang and ask, "hey, does one of your men own a car like _____"
    (The car in question would have bullets or windows shattered due to the shootout from earlier, so the gang members will have to hide the car or abandon it. And if the gang members abandoned it, the police would find it eventually and trace it back to the owner.)

    Also, street/store cameras could record the vehicle on the road, possibly leading to the finding of the vehicle/gang members.
     
  16. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    The reason why they wear a mask is even though they are in a secluded area, there is still a chance someone might see them. Plus what if they fail to kill the victim and the victim gets away? Then the victim can still ID his attackers, so wouldn't it make sense to wear masks for those two reasons? As for territory, the gang has to kill a witness because he knows too much no matter what the territory.

    The vehicle has phony plates and cannot be traced since the gang uses that vehicle specifically to commit crimes with. As for cameras, I could use that angle, but since they wear masks and have an untraceable vehicle, the cameras wouldn't do as much good I don't think, would they? That's another reason to wear masks, in case there happens to be a camera somewhere around.
     
  17. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe the gang know or suspect the victim was carrying expensive drugs or other contraband in his body cavities, and had always intended to take the body along? Or maybe they originally planned to kidnap him, take him to their hideout, extract the drugs, and kill him later--- but some dispute or fracas arose that made some trigger-happy fool shoot him there on the street?

    If your cop is undercover with this gang (is that what you mean by "surveying the gang"?), does he know they're going after this victim already? If he knows and the original intention is kidnapping, I could see the cop having arranged for a sting at the gang's hideout, where they'd get both the gang he's infiltrated and a way into the rival gang who's procuring these illegal drugs. But then it all goes wrong; the gang grab the drugs-laden corpse, and disappear who knows where.

    And maybe the reason the cops don't catch them on the road is that our undercover cop assumes they're heading for the hideout and calls for the roadblocks on that route. But they don't go there.

    Now, if your cop is merely staking out the gang from a safe distance, the plot hole, in my opinion, is, why is he alone? Do cops ever do stakeouts on their own? Sounds off to me. And would he necessarily run in and intervene? Would his oath "to protect and serve" be enough to motivate that? Or if he knows who the victim is, a member of a rival gang, might he not be hardnosed about it and let the thing go down? And if the cop does run in, why isn't he shot, too?

    A lot, IMO, depends on who the victim is and why he's being offed. And what the MC knows about it ahead of time.
     
  18. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    The cop is watching them from a safe distance. Basically there was a suspect the police had before but they had to let him go, because of lack of evidence. The cop then digs into the person's life on his own, because he becomes more personal and obsessed with the case. The suspect meets up with some other people, then the cop follows those people, after the suspect separates from them. Those people put on masks and gloves and kill the guy, while the cop is following them from a safe distance in his car. The cop didn't have time to save him and the reason why he is alone, is because he took it upon himself to investigate, after the one suspect was released before.

    The MC had no idea they were going to kill someone though. But he cannot identify the killers, and the original suspect he knows was somewhere else at the time, would have an alibi, and say he doesn't know what the police are talking about, when being questioned about meeting up with some men who went to go kill someone later. It would be the his word against the one cop's, and not enough proof.

    His oath to protect and serve is enough to attempt to intervene, at least the way I see the character as written. The cop isn't shot cause he takes cover, or something like that.
     
  19. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK. But could it still turn out later that the gang took the body because it contained the contraband they wanted? That might close your plot hole for you. And really mess with your MC's head.
     
  20. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well the person who is killed, was recording the gang's phone calls and conversations earlier, to get some evidence and collateral on them, so he could have the recordings on him. But if the only reason that the gang wanted the body was to get to the recordings, wouldn't it just be quicker to search the pockets for the recordings and take them, rather than take the whole body with them, if they would logically not care to dispose of it?
     
  21. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, actually, I was trying to suggest a reason for them to need to take the dead body with them. So I'm not the one who needs to answer your last question. You're the author, so it shouldn't be a question at all.

    But there are some things I don't get. If they wanted to whack this guy, why involve the whole gang? (That's the impression I got from your OP.) Why not send in one or two to hustle the victim round a quiet corner and stick a knife in his ribs? Why do it publicly out on the street, even if the place is secluded? What is the victim doing in this secluded area, anyway? Did they come across him by accident? Were they walking around the whole time in their masks and gloves, or did they put them on once they met with the victim? Wouldn't their masked state attract unwanted attention? Heck, how many gang members are involved in this incident anyway? Maybe it is just two or three. Does our MC cop know where the rest of them can be found? Could he have those guys rounded up for questioning, even if the immediate perps get away?

    This gang seem to have everything covered otherwise, with the fake plates on the getaway car and all, but there's a lot about this job that seems amateurish. Or simply imposed from the Outside just to make life hard for the MC. I'm not saying some criminals might not do things as you describe, but if that the way it has to go down, you have to make me the reader understand how and why.
     
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  22. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK, I don't know if this will help or not. But if the guy who gets whacked has been storing up "recordings" on this gang's activity, they won't be tapes, will they? Not unless your story takes place two or more decades ago. More likely, if he's carrying a copy around, they'd be on a flash drive or something equally small.

    So again, what's to keep him from having hidden it up his arse? Maybe he foolishly taunts his rivals with where it is, and they kill him for it?

    What's more, does your MC have to see the murder go down? Can't he merely hear the victim's cries and go running towards the noise? But by the time he gets to the concealed place where it's happened, there's blood but no body?

    In this scenario they take the body because they want to secure the evidence against them, not because they know the cop has seen them (though maybe they hear his footsteps coming). You'd lose your shootout, but would that really hurt?
     
  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    A thought: Does he have to be dead? Maybe it's a kidnapping instead?
     
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  24. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    The whole gang doesn't have to be there. I didn't mean to imply the entire gang is there, just maybe like four people or however many is good. They want to kill the guy quietly, but say for example the guy escapes, runs outdoors, and the killers have to take care of him, while he is trying to escape, and thus the MC sees it. The gang is not wearing masks from the start. Mainly the MC would follow them as they get in their car, and then when they get out, they have the masks on to do the killing. So by the time the MC gets close enough, he does not recognize them.

    But he doesn't recognize them before either, since the one gang member he was following that he new, took off in a different direction prior. So the MC knows where that person can be found, but not any of the other members. He only knows two suspects, and they are both not here at this murder. As for the masked state attracting unwanted attention, isn't that still better than being caught on the camera, of some residence, not too far away, or something? Wouldn't a face being caught on possible camera be worse?

    And no the recordings are not tapes. Basically the man who is killed will have a field recorder with him, in case he needs to record, or a flash drive, or disc card from the recorder.

    As far as the MC hearing the murder and not seeing it, I want the MC to be able to identify the person who is killed. If he knows this can give him different options for ideas on what to do next to bring the story to a close, but he needs to be able to ID the victim, and therefore has to get close enough. So I thought at the victim trying to escape being killed and running in the MC's direction would help that maybe.

    As far as loosing the shootout goes, I was told by a couple of others that my story could use more action, and maybe it's a bit too quiet, so I thought I would add some more in for that reason.

    Well they want to kill the guy cause he knows too much about them. They could perhaps kidnap him and take him away if their is something they need to know. However, the gang has been committing a series of kidnappings throughout the story, which the police have been investigating. I feel that if I were to end the story on another kidnapping for the third act, then it just becomes too repetitive, and I am using the same plot device over and over. I feel that maybe if a murder investigation happens for the third act, it would change things up, and I am not using the same plot device again.

    Plus I wanted my ending to be that the MC frames them for murder. Even though they committed the murder, I wanted the MC to frame them for it, to show that he is resorting to illegal tactics to get them caught. If they commit kidnapping, wouldn't it be harder to frame someone for a kidnapping compared to a murder, without endangering the life of the hostage too much?
     

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