1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Should I explain flaws in a character's plan in this case?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 26, 2016.

    In my story, it's a thriller, and in the climax, the police catch the villains using a sting operation. But I was told by a couple of readers that the sting has several flaws in it, and yet everything goes right.

    One of them suggested that the hero's plan would be much better accepted by readers, if flaws were pointed out. For example, the cops are surveying the villains, hoping the villains will take them to a dead body they are going to dispose of. So then the cops can catch them in the act of doing so.

    But one of the flaws in the plan, is that the cops do not know if the villains will bring the body out, in outdoor view to be seen at all. If the body is kept indoors the whole time, the cops cannot legally enter, cause they have no probable cause, and it's just all theory, so they wouldn't be able to get a warrant.

    But that flaw is never pointed out, and because of that, the plan comes off as too convenient that the body just so happened to be brought outdoors for a moment, while in the middle of nowhere, with no flooding public around.

    But would mentioned a flaw like that make the plan seem less convenient? Cause I think it could do the opposite and make it come off as more convenient that the flaws just so happened to not be an issue. Is it worth pointing out flaws, if a plan happens to go right, to be more accepted?

    Or is it only worth pointing them out, if the plan goes wrong within those flaws? What do you think?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Who will point this out? My concern is a break/inconsistancy in your POV. Who knows this? Who is telling us? If no one within the story sees the flaw, how are they telling us what they don't know?
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well I assume one of the characters in the on the plan will point it out to the others, out of concern.
     
  4. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I understand what you mean and have used similar ploys before. If something isn't likely to work, have one of the characters state "This will never work." make it obvious that they know they're trying to get lucky.
    You can also easily avoid this by having it NOT work the first time or first few times. You don't need to write out all those scenes, you can just state ... day three of stakeout blah blah blah.
    It always drives me nuts when a character listens in on a conversation and immediately hears what he needs to hear. It would be just as easy to write that the character had to listen in for two hours before he found out anything.

    I'll go back to filling in my own plot holes now. (where'd I leave that shovel?)
     
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  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. But how can I write it so that the plan does not work the first few times? In a sting operation, if it fails the first time, it's not like the cops can try it again. If the villains get away with the crime, the first time, then that's it. They have gotten away with it, and if the police repeat the same sting operation, the villains will know it's the cop's cause it will be obvious, if they are faced with the same operation again, and will see it coming.

    So is it possible to even do a sting twice, in that sense?
     
  6. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I suppose that depends on what you mean by a "sting." If they are hidden and doing surveillance on a group of people they could watch for a long time. If you mean they are jumping out and shouting boo (or freeze police) then only once is going to work.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Sorry, I should have been more specific. By sting I mean trick the villains into incriminating themselves, and then using that as evidence. The villains would only fall for a trick once, I think cause they would constantly be jumpy and paranoid of police after that.
     
  8. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I tend to explain my characters movements by giving either/or explanations, typically through the character 'debating' with him/herself.

    Shannon felt he had two choices: he could either kick the door open and fill the room with gunfire...or he could crack it open slightly, peer inside and then decide if a hail of bullets would be necessary.

    Something along those lines.
     

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