1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Should I use coincidental timing as a red herring?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 1, 2016.

    For my story, a woman does not want to testify at a criminal hearing against people that are after her. She refuses in order to safeguard herself, but is forced to appear in court by subpoena.

    Because she is being forced to testify, she wants police protection, but the police will not give her any since she refuses to give any statements, or cooperate in any way, other than being subpoenaed to do so.

    So since she cannot get any protection, she decides to stage an attempted break in, at her house, and attempted tampering with the phone lines and what not, to make it appear that someone was trying to break in and attack her. This way she gets the police to look at it, where she will hope to convince them to get her protection.

    However I am wondering on how to fool the reader into not guessing that she staged the attempted break in herself, since I want it to be a surprise for the reader later.

    The reader will probably guess that it's possible she could have done it herself, since none of the break in is actually shown. She is a main supporting character in the story who gets lots of time, but then all of a sudden it just skips over the break in, she reported without showing it. The reader will think this is suspicious that the writer chose to skip over it and will probably conclude that she very well could have done it herself therefore.

    So I would like to create a red herring to keep the reader from figuring it out. I was thinking that the people that are after her, could go to her house to break in and silence her, and on the way, they talk over their plan one more time, then are going to break in and sneak up to her house.

    The story then goes to inside her house, she calls the police and the gang, hears the police being routed there, on their scanners, and take off therefore.

    This sort of can create the thought in the reader's mind, that it was them who attempted to break in, in order to take suspicion off of her, where she did it as part of her ruse, and had no idea that the people after her came close to, almost at the same time, right after.

    It's not a coincidence since both parties had reason to break in. The one party has reason to silence her, where as she, has reason to get protection, if it means manufacturing a good enough reason herself.

    But it is coincidental timing in the sense that they almost came across each other, at the same time of the night. What do you think?

    If I write it so that she attempts no break in at her own place at all, and the gang after her, just does the break in instead, but she has a reason for doing it herself that says something about her character and I would like to keep that about her character and have her do it therefore.

    What do you think? Does it come off as the timing being too coincidental or odd in any way?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
  2. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    The way I'm reading things is that it would be plausible if they were very close to trial (say the night before)—so both their hands are being forced. I wouldn't have any issue at all with it then as long as it's not left as a loose end and dealt with in the story's resolution.
     
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  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks for the input. The story is the night before the deposition or pre-trial hearing. Basically their needs to be a hearing to see what the witness will say, and weigh the evidence, before going to trial, so it's the night before the deposition, where she will first testify. Even though it's not trial yet, her statements can be recorded at the deposition and used in a trial later, so they go after before the day of the deposition. Does that still work?
     
  4. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    It'd be enough of a crunch point I figure. Are the criminals intending to silence her once and for all or threaten her?
     
  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    The villains aim is to break in and get her to talk about what she told them since they figure that she must have said something in order to get subpoenaed, even she didn't say anything which is the reason why she got subpoenaed was to get her to talk. Whether or not they kill her depends on what she says I guess, but it doesn't go that far, since the police are called and they get out of there. Does that make sense?
     
  6. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I think its critical you get across how high the stakes are and feed in that other methods of private access to the victim are a non-starter.
     
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  7. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    You can do it as long as it's done believably.
     
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks.


    What do you mean by other methods being a non-starter?
     
  9. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    That they can't do anything else. He's saying that this plot point works better if it feels like they really are desperate.
     
  10. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Yes, like accosting/threatening the woman while she goes about her day away from home and intimidating her on neutral turf (thereby not risking the breaking and entering charge and/or leaving evidence). Like you said though, things seem time critical so it'd be plausible for more chances to be taken.
     
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I could have it so that she is subpoenaed the day before the deposition. Since she was not being cooperative originally, I can write it so that she was avoiding the courts attempts to subpoena and they do not catch her till the last day before the deposition, cause on the last day, their attempts at subpoenaing her are much more aggressive. But would a deposition date be set, before the witness is subpoenaed?

    Cause I would like to the gangs attempts to break in, be the first encounter with her after the kidnapping. Or I could write it so they do attempt to accost her while she goes about her day, and she tells them that she didn't say anything, but would they still attempt to break into her place to squeeze info out of her later, of what she told the police?

    Could they maybe accost her, but not believe her, if she was subpoenaed?
     
  12. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    The law where I reside is different; well not so much different but termed differently. We are asked to give a statement and if we do we can request a copy of it prior to any hearing. Our equivalent here to a subpoena is a witness summons but tbh, I'm not that up on this subject. You could maybe direct your villains to break into her property with the aim of obtaining any evidence of collusion with the law (looking for statement copies or any paperwork that proves any communication) that ought to be reason enough for them to then decide what they'd like to do with her.
     
  13. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Breaking in to look for a statement is a good idea. Thanks.

    Is the statement given at a hearing, where both lawyers on opposite sides of the case, cross examine the witness, to see if there is enough to go to trial? This is the deposition I am referring to, if that's what you mean.

    I was thinking about what you said before, about how the gang might threaten her while she is on the street. If this happened, and she reported it, would the police put her in protection then, or would they still send her home, if she refuses to give a statement and cooperate? Would she still be home later, for the gang to break in, if they threatened her earlier that is.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
  14. Pauline
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    Or she could set up a discovery with a witness, possibly a Police officer and act all scared and what not
     
  15. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    What do you mean by set up discovery, in this case?
     

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