1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Is there anything I can do about this plot hole?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Feb 29, 2016.

    I was told by some readers that they do not understand the character behavior in this section of my story, and think it's a plot hole.

    Basically what happens is, is that a cop is assigned to survey a woman's house, because they believe that she is likely the target of a serial killer type character, who is after her. This is plot hole #1 as I was told that they would assign two cops, but for the story I want, I think one works better, and you read why in a bit.

    The police cannot get her protection away at a safe house or anything just yet, so the cops are assigned to watch her house, one officer per shift.

    So the cop is watching the house at night, and he notices that all the power to the house goes off at the same time.

    He goes to have a closer look and notices that someone with a flashlight is looking throughout the house for her. He knows she is home cause he saw her go in earlier in the story.

    He calls for back up and then goes to the door. Seeing that the figure with the flashlight may be advancing his way looking for in the window, he kicks in the door, and looks around to save her. Or if kicking in the door is bad, he can try to get in another way? He announces that he is the police and comes in.

    This is plot hole #2 I was told, as no cop would attempt to save someone this way, without waiting for back up to arrive I was told. It's just too dangerous. But I thought he would be compelled to try to save her cause the danger may be immediate?

    Then when he looks around the house with his own flashlight, the woman then knocks him out with something, and takes his gun. He says he is a cop. The woman said she heard him announce before but thought it was the killer who broke in, since the power was cut and the door broken into after. She didn't know he was a cop, and thought that him announcing it, could be a lie that the killer was saying. It was actually her who had the flashlight while looking around, since her power was cut, but he thought it may have been the killer perhaps.

    Once another cop arrives to explain things, the two cops decide not to arrest her for hitting the officer. They figure it was a misunderstanding and she thought the cop very well could have been the killer breaking in, so what's the point of arresting her, when it will just come out as a misunderstanding anyway.

    This is plot hole #3 I was told as no cop would NOT arrest someone for hitting them in the head, even if in a situation where the cop was simply mistaken for an intruder.

    The second cop who also responds as back up, is off duty at the time, and he only answers because he was nearby in the area. I wanted him to be off duty for the plot to go in directions later that requires him to be, but I was told that this is plot hole #4 and he would leave it someone else.

    What do you think? Do you these count as plot holes, like the readers interpret them as and do I need to rewrite a lot of the story? Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  2. Judahml
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    Judahml Member

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    Well, you could do the research and go with police protocol and try and make your story work in that way. Just some thoughts for if you wanted to keep this idea though.
    One, maybe the police are considering having the lady watched but haven't done it yet. Enter your character...he is on his way home after his shift but can't get the thought of her being in danger...doesn't have anythibg better to do with his night so he figures he could just swing by and check on her. Thus giving you just your character without backup. He goes over to the house and while he is looking over the place he sees something in the bushes. Just a brief glimpse but it looked like something...he sees the lights on upstairs but not downstairs so he sneaks over to check and make sure it's all okay. (Your character would have to be a little bit of a reckless hothead for this to be in character...or really worried about the girl)
    He sees the lights go out and then the flashlight. He is off duty so he doesn't have his radio, and he is already out of his car...he could text his budy who lives in the area and who is a cop for some "unofficial" back up. As he is off the clock and technically trespassing. At this point you would have to write it so he thinks he has no choose but to go in, as he has no backup he tries the door first to see if it is unlocked and sneaks in to get a jump on the bad guy, as he has no backup and doesnt know if the intruder is armed. For this to work you need to really do your homework by calling a real police officer and asking him for the flaws in your plan. That way you can tell the story as it fits for your plot but let your character know what he should do and choose not to. Police officers are still humans and make irrational mistakes just as often as everyone else.
     
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  3. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @Ryan Elder don't take this the wrong way, because it is meant to be helpful, but between your beta readers and posting so many aspects of your plot &c. here in the forums, it seems like you're writing this book by committee. At some point you've got to follow your vision of the book and trust in what you want it to be, not second guess your every move or try to modify every piece that anyone objects to. Down that path lies madness and, in my view, a lesser end product.
     
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  5. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    My suggestion in tackling anything that's based on procedure:
    Do a little more research and run the characters through procedure. There is room and flexibility for personalities to breach procedure based on situation. When guns are drawn and someone is going to die, breaching procedure might be the right thing to do but that is all based on the moment, the specific situation. What you have described would get every one of the officers a visit by their superiors and the Mayor wondering why they have a book to follow in the first place.

    So if you want your action piece the way it is, you can have both pieces of cake to eat here. Just create variation in the personalities of the officers that follow procedure, or are allowable variances to the procedure. If someone was in danger and he had to kick in the door to save her, give that officer a little more to go on to make that decision to throw himself into the situation something he must do, but before he does, he has got to call for backup as something is in progress.

    The other officer "swinging by to check on her" while off duty? Well, I wouldn't say off duty guys should stop, go up and knock on the door or anything but I would say driving by out of curiosity is the closest thing, and that officer would know that a car is stationed outside watching already, so as he drove by he would notice anythign out of the ordinary and if something was wrong, I think an off duty guy would call in first before doing anything at all.

    Just my thoughts about it.
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Oh okay. Well the second officer coming by, is involved in the case, but he thinks that it's suspicious that the officer watching her, has left his car, if that makes sense.

    And yes the cop does call in first before going in, I didn't mean to imply he didn't call.

    What is it that would get the officers a visit from the superiors exactly? Is it kicking in the door, even if you believe that someone is in danger, which is why that witness was being watched in the first place?

    I asked a real cop and he agreed with the readers' assessment.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well I kind of see what the other reader's are saying. What if I just wrote it so that the main cop is the one watching her, while on duty instead of off? I was told by readers before that this would not happen. Earlier in the story, the same cop saved, the woman in the house from being kidnapped. But I was told that it's too much of a contrived coincidence that the same cop who saved her, would be assigned to protect her weeks later, and the police would realistically get someone else to do it. But I feel that the MC should be in this part of the story.

    So either I do it when he is off duty, or I have him assigned to watch her, even if contrived. What do you think?
     
  8. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    You would have to have your MC watch her on his own. But even that does not play out right. There would definitely be two other officers watching her. It's procedure. How would it pan out that he saves her while the others looked on?
    Also, catching a serial killer is almost impossible. It would probably be the first time in history they could pin down who the killer was going after. Police can break down possible victims, but the list would be hundreds, if not thousands. How could they watch them all. So the bad guy would not be a serial killer. If she escaped an attack from this killer, there is no way he would still go after her.
    Another thing is an off duty cop does not go around carrying a radio. They carry their gun, but it not realistic that they would also have a radio. So you can't have an off duty be second to the scene.
     

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