1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure what to do with this character for my ending.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 21, 2015.

    In my script, I wrote it so that there is a character, who is not main, but a side character who plays a role that effects the plot.

    There is a gang of terrorists going around committing their acts of terror, making demands from the city and the government. One of the new members, who is also a cop, is that character. Let's call him Cop A. However, when it comes time for him to prove his loyalty and do something aweful, he can't do it, and has a moral epiphany about his beliefs. He then flees and becomes a risk to the organization. Eventually they catch up to him as the plot moves along and they kill him.

    Other cops he worked with, did not know he joined the group for a short time, nor do they know anything of his beliefs in that area. So believing him to be a good cop, they decide to form a death squad, go after the terrorists and avenge him. After so many acts of terror, their cop friend was the last straw for them.

    However, after giving the script to some people to read, they pointed out a plot hole, I didn't see before. Apparently for the climax and ending to work the way I want to, I cannot have that character die.

    He has to live, for certain things to work. This is okay, cause there is another cop, let's call him Cop B, who plays a smaller role in the first act, that I can kill instead. He is not part of the terrorist group at all, but he gets to close to finding out about them so he can taken out too. And instead, I can have his death be the basis for the other cops' revenge.

    However, I do not know what to do with the Cop A now. His avenging was suppose to be meant as a dramatic irony to the audience. If I change it so that Cop B is killed instead of him, I can write it so that Cop A feels guilty because of the death of Cop B, after leaving the group. Because Cop A, choosing to fail his assignment and leave the group, did lead to the series of events that would kill Cop B. This is a plus, cause he feels guilty and it's part of his character development.

    The dramatic irony is suppose to be that Cop A, is the cause of a cop's death by the gang, then he is killed by the gang, and then all of his cop friends he worked, with want to avenge him and stop the gang. That was the irony, I intended for the story. However, since I have a plot hole, I now have to fix, I have to make Cop A live, and not sure if I can create the same irony by doing so.

    I can write so that maybe he is injured, and the other cops want to avenge his injury along with Cop B's death. But the revenge for Cop B, may overshadow the revenge for his injury by comparison, and therefore, the irony will not be felt by the audience with the same intention.

    What do you think? Can I create that same irony theme, and have Cop A live now? Thanks for the input :).
     
  2. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    I really like the first idea you had. I think I'd find it harder to believe that this group would be out to avenge an injury(although it would be for cop Bs death too I agree the death would outshine the injury). Is there any way to address the plot hole instead of changing the story?

    However if cop A lived could you perhaps add a dramatic moment where the other cops find out about his involvement and they have a moment of despair thinking it was all for nothing and perhaps thinking that cop A is setting them up. I think you could still get some tension in that way. Obviously I don't know what would work to still fit in with your story. Really interesting idea you've got I'm sure you can make it work.
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Actually I thought of a good idea that might work, but in order to know if it's the best way to go, I need to ask this. What if I made cop A the main character all along, and he becomes the leader of the death squad, who avenge a different cop? Which idea is better?

    A cop who is corrupt but has a moral ephiphany. He tries to do redeem himself and find a way to catch his gang bosses with proof and bring them to justice. But as a result, he ends up getting a cop killed. Angered and feeling guilty, he then forms the death squad to avenge him.

    Or the original idea:

    A cop who is corrupt but has a moral ephiphany. He tries to do redeem himself and find a way to catch his gang bosses with proof and bring them to justice. But as a result, he ends up getting himself killed by them. Another cop feeling responsible, since he was meant to be the target, forms the death squad to avenge him.

    Which of these is better, or should I ask, what would make for a better main character story as well? That way I will know what direction to go in to make it work. Thanks.
     
  4. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I like the first idea better, and it's actually where my mind went after reading your post. I would say option A fits the theme of irony, which seems to be what you're going for.
     
  5. Cwylldren
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    Cwylldren New Member

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    Hmm. It would help a bit if you could tell us what exactly the plot hole is that you're trying to fix. Is there any way to do this without bringing Cop A back to life? Maybe he had a friend in the organisation who also had his/her doubts and who was going to leave with him - but backed out at the last minute, and is now trying to relieve his conscience by helping the death squad? Or someone Cop A confided in who could provide the necessary action/information?
    Because I really prefer your original idea - it has more tension. Cop killed, other cops out to avenge him, finding out the truth of his death - the shock, the realiazation, the question: does his attempt to leave and make things right give him redemption? Does it make his death any easier to accept? Your second idea (first in your last post) has a lot of internal tension, certainly. But somehow I prefer the sense of betrayal that the death squad will feel when they find out the truth, and the crisis it might originate as they try and decide if they want to go on with the investigation, also in light of what the media will make of it when it goes public, whether they want to protect the memory of their friend or get to truth etc...
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Actually I was never planning on having the death squad find out the truth, in order to get to the ending I want. The think they are avenging an innocent man, and that's all there is too it for them. If they do find out, they find out too late after the revenge is already taken. Does this make the first idea, less than the second, now that I have said that?

    As far as the theme being irony, it doesn't have to be, depending on which idea is better. As far as revenge quests go, one idea is about an innocent man with no flaws being broken down into a mad dog, wanting to take revenge and falls. The other idea is about an already corrupt man, who wants to redeem himself, but ends up taking revenge.

    Is the first idea better, because the man was innocent to begin with before, making his choice to turn to the dark side, or is the second idea still better, even though the dark side is already there to begin with, so the transformation may not be as dramatic? I just thought you would pick the second idea is better because it's more of a Greek tragedy where the character's corruption is leads to his death, which may be more dramatic.

    Also I was told by one writer, that if I go with the first idea, making Cop A, the protagonist, it starts out with a bang, cause right in the first five pages, he has his moral epiphany after not being able to commit the crime he is required to by the terrorists.

    Where as in the second idea, Cop A is reduced to a lesser character, and the leader of the death squad is the main character, but is very generic with no flaws in the first half of the script, before he decides he wants revenge. So the protagonist would also be starting out with much more of a bang per say, if I went with the first idea as well.

    The plot hole I was trying to fill was that, I was told by other writers that there is no reason for the cops to form a death squad for the murder of a cop. Cop murders are always taken to trial I was told, and that the cops would not form a death squad, and instead they would wait to see if the crooks were convicted in the trial first, before doing such a thing. This was the plot hole. No need to take revenge, and go to jail because of it, when the justice system will very likely prosecute the cop killers, even if years down the road, once the case is made. That's the plot hole that needed filling.

    Originally I was going to write it so that the leader of the death squad, before becoming leader, decides to plant evidence on the dead body to incriminate the gang. But the evidence looks like it was planted and looks like a frame, so the gang is not charged because the prosecutor believes them to be framed.

    However, I was told that a DA would not drop charges, just because the evidence looks like a frame, and they would still go ahead with them, so that's a hole too, I was told. Because of this, the crooks have no way of getting off the hook, and they will still be charged. Therefore, there is no reason for an avenging death squad to be formed.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  7. Cwylldren
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    Cwylldren New Member

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    Oh, but what about if there isn't sufficient evidence to charge the gang? What if the cops KNOW the gang has been responsible for various crimes over the past years but could never get enough evidence together - and now one of their own is dead. Or there WAS a trial, and they weren't convicted? That might even make a strong opening scene - the verdict being read out, the reactions of the policemen, the destruction of their faith in the justice system. That could give you your strong beginning (or not, I'm just talking from the top of my head ;) )
    And if you do go with your original idea, I do think at least one of the death squad has to find out about Cop A's involvement. Mayber he doesn't tell anyone. Maybe he makes that choice, to leave his colleague and friend's memory intact. And when everyone's celebrating bringing the killers to justice, this one man (or woman) feeling apart, reflecting on what it is, exactly, that makes a good man... The opportunity for soul-tearing inner conflict is simply too good to let go of...
     
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Actually yes, the leader who formed the death squad knows about Cop A's involvement but does not tell anyone cause he is selfish with revenge and wants the squad to be formed to help him. But no one else finds out, and by the time they do, they disregard it as lies, since they have no proof.

    That was already part of my ending. However, I will go with the first idea if it's better. Just to be clear, we are still talking about this idea right?

    "A cop who is corrupt has a moral ephiphany. He tries to do redeem himself and find a way to catch his gang bosses with proof and bring them to justice. But as a result, he ends up getting a cop killed. Angered and feeling guilty, he then forms the death squad to avenge him."

    As for going to court and having the verdict be not guilty, I could do it that way, but it feels repetitive, because the villains already go to court for their first crimes in the beginning of my script, and are found not guilty. Them killing a cop does not come till later, after they are already acquitted for previous crimes.

    So if I do that twice, it just feels repetitive and I would like to avoid it, if it is. Otherwise it would work. But I need the previous crimes from before to get off with a not guilty in court, before the cop killing later, for the story to go a certain way too :(.

    As for their not being sufficient evidence to charge the gang, I was told by other readers, that they did not by this. They said that cop killings are taken so seriously, that as long as their is a body, they will be charged. If this is true, then it will not work, but were the reader's right?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  9. Cwylldren
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    Cwylldren New Member

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    Oh, well, I'm still all for Cop A getting killed. That could be the verdict at the beginning of the story, with Cop A's actions coming out as the death squad investigate - his story being more subtext than written out. I feel it could be more powerful that way, but then again, I haven't seen the actual story, so i don't know what doing that messes up for the rest.
    I'm guessing that, even for cop killings, there has to be SOME evidence leading to the gang for them to be charged. And just 'cause they're charged doesn't mean they'll be found guilty (jury manipulation, anyone?)
    But it's still your story, so go with what 'feels' right for you ;)
     
  10. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. The jury manipulation thing is one to way to go. Sorry I should have explained more before. If I go with the first idea, that Cop A, the corrupt cop lives and is the main character, he will be forming the death squad himself to avenge another character. So if I go with that idea, and make the corrupt cop the main character, than he will be the leader of the gang, but will not tell the others that he was corrupt and with the gang before. The selfish need for revenge of not telling the others is still there for the leader, it's just that the leader himself will be the secretly corrupt ex gang member, rather than avenging a corrupt ex gang member, like in the second idea.

    Does this make more sense? Which idea is better, now that I have said that about the ending?
     
  11. Cwylldren
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    Cwylldren New Member

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    I think, in a a way, it depends on the POV you'll be using. If you're going 1st-person, then having Cop A lead the death squad works fine for me. Lots of soul-searching and pathos and difficult decisions and secrets. A deep look into one person's soul. If you're going 3rd Person with multiple points of view, I think avenging Cop A's death is stronger. You can play against who knows what and how it affects their perception of the death squad's goal as the novel progresses. To tell or not to tell. Tension between the characters. That sort of thing.
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well in the script, the story is told mostly from the main characters point of view. If I make Cop A the main character, I am guessing there will only be four sequences, without him in, so far in the way I structured the plot and all the scene sequences outlined. But if I go with the second idea, where Cop A dies, and another character feels responsible and forms the death squad to get revenge, that person will be the main character. In that structure, Cop A will only be in six sequences, and reduced to a much less character, because the gang leader will be main and most of it told from his point of view.

    Which of these structures sounds like it will be the better story?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  13. writer23
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    writer23 New Member

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    You could always just make Cop A appear dead and have the whole revenge thing but then he turns up alive at the end (and maybe admits to his crimes).
     
  14. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I could do that but in order for the main character to want revenge, he is probably going to want a body for confirmation, right? I also need to think of a reason for Cop A to fake his death.
     

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