1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Is there a way I can get readers to believe this scenario?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Jan 27, 2016.

    I got some feedback from readers, where they didn't believe the scenario in my thriller.

    A cop goes undercover to infiltrate a gang, but they said that it's not believable because the cop is from the same city as the gang and the police department would bring in someone from a different city, to avoid the gang, not ever recognizing the person from somewhere.

    However, I have seen several works of fiction where they do the same thing, and I would assume that in a big city, the police count on the criminals not knowing everyone, since a lot of other works of fiction, bet on the same assumption.

    However, does this come off as a plot hole, like the feedback suggests, I was wondering? Thanks for the input. I really appreciate it
     
  2. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Are the gang of the same ethnicity as the policeman?


    And as far as I know, I always thought that the police reduced gang criminals sentences considerably if they betrayed their gang and became moles. I'd have thought most undercover people would be ex-gang members.
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Yes they are the same ethnicity overall, why?

    Also the police were not able to get any of the gang members to turn, so they have use an undercover cop to infiltrate them.
     
  4. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    You can make the reader believe anything if your words are strong enough ;)
     
  5. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Because it's easier to infiltrate the Sicilian Mafia if you're a Sicilian Italian rather than a US policeman.

    On another note, the people reading your manuscript are doing so with a "critique mindset". Your average reader will suspend their disbelief more than a critique-er, keep that in mind.
     
  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I can see the beta readers' issue. Maybe your cop could be from a different precinct in the city, where the gang doesn't have eyes? It'd also depend on how competent your portray the gang - if they seem to be really on top of things otherwise, yeah, it'd stick out if they're not familiar with a cop who's been around for a while. If they're a bit less organized/competent then I'd excuse it more easily.
     
  7. Davek74
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    Davek74 New Member

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    Or there could be reasons why it would have to be that particular cop and why it would be safe to use them ? Perhaps the cop has particular language skills, but has been looking after the evidence store for 3 years due to annoying the bosses... could be loads of ways to make it feasible ☺

    Edited to add, I think the point I was making is that there are other roles in addition to front line policing roles, that could explain why they are not recognised.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Actually the police do not know who any of the gang members are. The gang has been going around committing their crimes while wearing masks. And they are recruiting members while wearing masks. They do this so in case any of the recruits reject them. That way if any of the recruits want to tell the police that the gang attempted to recruit them, they will not be able to give any of their names to the police, since they do not know who they are.

    The way I wrote it though, is that it's not exactly explained how the undercover cop got recruited. The story starts out with this first scene, if the undercover cop meeting the gang for potential recruitment, but it's not explained how he got in exactly. A lot of thriller stories do that though, where they will start out, right in the middle of a mission or an operation, and not know how the cop or spy got there in the first place. It's just left up to the reader's imagination.

    The openings of the movies Skyfall and Lethal Weapon 2, come to mind, as to starting out in the middle of an operation, without explaining how the hero got there, especially since they do not even know who they are after in both examples.

    So I wanted to start of my plot like that, already in the middle of encountering the gang for the first time, but could this be a problem, if the only explanation is in a few sentences by the superior officer, giving a briefing to his superiors on what happened later?
     
  9. Electralight
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    Electralight Member

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    I think the only thing you have to watch out for is how the police man gets infiltrated into the gang. If it is something like he just walks in and proves his loyalty (or something) then it wouldn't be that believable. It needs to seem like an accidental encounter (at least to the gang) or something of the sort.
     
  10. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    Well see the thing is:
    Any kind of fiction, there is always going to be parts of the audience that know a great deal more about it than you do, especially if you've never taken part in what you're writing about.

    You can do all the research you like, you aren't ever going to get every detail right unless you have personal experience.

    To be honest, the vast majority of people would believe any kind of cop story to be true, because most people don't know much about it. The lovely thing about fiction, is no one is really expecting it to be perfectly realistic, especially if it tells a good story.

    So I'd say it would be quite easy to make readers believe it. But there will be a portion who knows otherwise who won't.

    Kind of like that guy in the science fiction and/or action movie who has to point out every single thing that wouldn't work in real life or the way it was presented. But most people are just like "OH COOL,".

    Similar concept.

    So I'd recommend you do some real world research: Go look up some documentaries about real life under cover cops, as well as read a few articals about how it would work, and I'd say you'd be perfectly well armed to write a believable story.
     
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well in my research before I watched a few episodes of FBI Files. It seems that more of the time, they get someone from out of town, and sometimes they don't.

    One thing is though, is that I am not sure how the cop gets infiltrated into the gang. I wanted to have the cop be put through a test to prove his loyalty right in the opening scene, actually. So already the plot starts off with him about to prove his loyalty, without any set up, prior to that. A lot of stories start out that way though, where a cop or a spy, is already in the middle of an operation, and you do not know how they got their.

    The thing is though, is that my cop has no idea who any of the gang members are. He ends up having to blow his cover, after failing to prove his loyalty. Basically they want to him to do something such as kill someone or something and he has to blow his cover to attempt to stop an innocent person from being harmed.

    But then the gang members get away, but he has no idea who the were, and they all wore masks. So he would have to get recruited in the gang, in a way, in which he does not know any of them. But this is safer for the gang though, because then they can recruit people, without those people having to know who they are, in case the new recruits cannot be trusted or anything like that.

    However, I am not sure how exactly he would get recruited into a gang, in which he, or his police department, do not know any of the members. They know there is a gang going around committing crimes in masks, but I want him to infiltrate them intentionally, without knowing who they are.

    One story, I can think of that did something like this was the opening to Lethal Weapon 2. In the opening, the cops are chasing after some drugdealers, and the crooks get away. The police captain, said it was routine drug bust gone wrong, when talking it over, with other officers in the scene later.

    However, if the cops were going on a drug bust, how did they manage to do that without knowing who any of the drugdealers are? They all got away as a result.

    I would like something similar where the MC is infiltrating the gang, but not knowing who they are. But I do not want to explain the details. Like the Lethal Weapon example, I want to leave it up to the reader's imagination, and open in the middle of it, to start off with a bang.

    Is that possible, or do I have to come up with a very specific explanation for the reader to grasp it?
     
  12. IsabellaS
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    IsabellaS Member

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    Have you seen the movie The Departed? If not, I recommend you do. It's about two cops fresh out of the academy, one goes undercover in the Irish mafia, the other is a member of the same mafia and reports back to them whenever the cops are on their trail. I think the movie might give you an idea how to make your scenario seem more plausible.
     
  13. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Yeah I saw that movie, but throughout the whole movie I kept asking why self, why didn't they give the undercover cop any one surveying him or any technical support.
     
  14. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Because Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg knew some portion of the police department, including their own investigating division, was directly involved with Jack Nicholson. Any assets tied to DiCaprio would leave a trail to him.

    Deep Cover with Laurence Fishburne was a really good movie with the same idea. A beat cop is recruited to specifically become a criminal in order to flush out drug suppliers. He bought and sold coke, killed when he had to, worked completely independent of the police department save for Charles Martin Smith, a DEA Agent.

    The simplest way to infiltrate would be to have the MC deal in whatever the gang needs or sells. If they supply drugs, MC deals drugs. Guns, guns. Whatever. The introduction will come through reputation, trust will come from business.
     
  15. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I saw Deep Cover as well, and it's one of my most favorites. I understand that this happens in movies, but I feel like I need a WHY. I can't just write my story a certain way, just because other movies do it. Even though I want to go in that direction I feel like I need a WHY so I can understand why my characters choose to operate like this, and know the characters better.

    Especially since the cop has to use his word against the criminals, as his only proof, and even though a cop's word is often believed in court, the crooks can still have alibis and lawyers to chew it up and spit it up, so I feel like I need a reason as to why it's just one man's word only and that's the whole case.

    I mean in my story the police are unaware of any moles. Perhaps I could create a mole character if that's better, but I think that could contradict some things that happen later in the story per say.

    When it comes to a cop infiltrating a gang, I want the gang to give him a blood in, where he has to kill another person to prove his worth to the gang. When they give him this, he has to break cover, and save the victim from being harmed by them, since he does not want to do it. How long would a gang have you around before they decide to see if you are worth the blood in?

    He doesn't know who any of the gang members are since, the gang has been recruiting members without giving away any of their identities. They recruit using social media, that is untraceable, and they wear masks the whole time with new recruits.

    So since the cop does not know who any of the gang members are, how long before they would get him to perform a blood in, do you think?

    I could write it so that he has to perform the blood in, and break cover, on their first encounter with them, but it would it take more meetings before they ask that if of him? Would it be too stupid of the gang, to intimidate a newcomer to perform a blood in, on the first meeting?

    This gang is the type of gang that doesn't waist any time, and doesn't start people out in small crimes, so would the first meeting be too soon?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016

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