1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    What would my character do logically in this situation?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, May 6, 2015.

    This may be more of a plot related question, but here goes. I want to make sure my protagonist is behaving logically since this situation is tricky to write. In my story, a police detective is surveying a suspect to see if he is linked to a criminal organization. He follows him around for days, but no luck, and it seems the guy is just living a normal, law abiding life.

    After waiting, the detective gets impatient and decides to phone the suspect anonymously. He doesn't say who he is, he just says that he has now acquired evidence on him and that he has him by the b#[at]$$, and that he's finished. He then hangs up. His intention was to cause the suspect to go into a panic, and make contact with his connections or do something to incriminate himself, while trying to find out who that caller was.

    After the phone call, the suspect then goes to a storage facility and the detective follows. He follows by car and this may be a problem cause if you got a threatening call from someone like that, wouldn't you notice if someone is following you? Or can I just cut ahead to the next scene, and the audience will buy it?

    Aside from that, the suspect gets to the storage facility and the detective watches him from afar, probably with binoculars or something like that. He notices though, that another character, whom he knows from before in the plot, is following the suspect as well. He becomes very suspicious and wonder what this guy he knows is doing there, watching him as well. The suspect then goes inside a storage unit, he rents. Then comes out, locks it, and leaves. However, the other man following him, appears to be going in a different direction on his own now.

    This leaves the detective now with three choices:

    1. He can continue to follow the suspect.

    2. He can follow the other character, who he is surprised to see is somehow involved.

    3. He can wait till they both leave, and then break into the storage unit himself to see what is inside, or what was inside, since the suspect may have taken something with him and put it in his pocket. The detective doesn't know though, or didn't see him carrying anything.

    So the question is, what would the detective do next logically?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  2. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    1. Continue following the suspect. Either the suspect picked up something or transferred away something. If he picked it up then where he goes next may be important.

    Probably not 2, although it is not an unreasonable choice. If the suspect gave away something to this guy, it may be hard to deduce anything from where the guy goes next. And since the detective knows who he is, more research on him is still possible.

    Not 3. I'd expect a police detective to follow the rules unless you have established him as operating outside the law. If he has enough evidence, he may be able get a search warrant for the storage unit.
     
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  3. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    Logically, he'd continue to follow the suspect. He wouldn't divert his attention after a suspicious trip to a storage unit, which are infamous for illegal activity.

    However, depending on whom the other character is, curiosity could get the best of him. It's hard to say what your MC would be thinking without knowing more about this secondary character. However, I doubt a logic-based officer would change his focus so easily. Especially after making that phone call, and then following the suspect to a storage facility.

    Number three is illogical. Even if he found something, law says it's illegally confiscated evidence since he broke into the unit. He could end up being charged with breaking and entering. This would be the wrong thing to do.
     
  4. J.C Adkins
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    J.C Adkins Member

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    I have to agree with B93.
    Where he goes next could lead to another location where an item was dropped off, or something in general happens. If it's an item he took, it would not be in the box which eliminates 3.
    And 2 can be questioned.

    As to the driving dilemma. This may be kind of cheap, but there are two options I can think of at the top of my head:
    1: weather makes it hard to see who is following
    2: The detective planted a tracking device on the suspects vehicle, and follows closely on side roads for the most part.
     
  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. The other character is an innocent bystander witness from a crime scene before in the story, so he is wondering what is he doing. Although the bystander witness has taken advantage of by the crooks, for seeing too much. He wasn't hurt bad, but the attempt was there. The detective knows this about the character.

    I too would think he would go for option number one. However, option number one leads to a plot hole that I am trying to fix. Basically the suspect goes to meet up with his co-conspirators to tell them that someone is on to them. If the detective follows him there, he will see the suspect and the other goons argue it out, and then they all get into the cars and drive off in a hurry. The goons are really going back after the other bystander witness character, but the detective does not know that. He is just following.

    Here is my possible plot hole. The detective would probably normally call for back up at this time as he sees them argue, and them run into the cars and drive off in a hurry, right? However, I need him not to for my idea to work. This is why I thought he could just follow the bytander (which is what I was hoping for), and then as he is following him, the suspects will meet in a different area, argue, and then drive off to go get the bystander. They then will arrive to ambush the bystander after the detective is already following him.

    If I have to the detective follow the suspect to meet the goons, not only do I need him not to call for back up, as he is following the goons as they speed off to go somewhere.... But I also need him to figure out that they are going to kill the bystander. He will figure out once he sees them arrive at the bystander's place, but I need the detective to be able to pull over, and get in their to warn the bystander before they get ahead of him. Is this believable, or how should I write this so that the goons, the detective, and the bystander all end up in the same place at the same time, which is what I need?
     
  6. animenagai
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    animenagai Member

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    I don't feel comfortable making any suggestions without understanding the character better. What's he like? Is he conservative? Does he get impulsive and hot-headed? Is he someone who makes decisions purely on facts and cold logic? Oh and don't forget the most important bit -- what's his motivation, consciously and subconsciously?
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    The character does have issues from before that make him hotheaded yes. So he can act out of hotheadedness as long as it's a natural move.
     
  8. animenagai
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    animenagai Member

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    Can you describe him in more detail? Can you give me a profile of him? What are his hopes and dreams? What insecurities does he have? What motivates him?
     
  9. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Well, instead of binoculars couldn't he have a camera with a long lens? Logically, he'd take a picture of the other person and continue to follow his original suspect. Breaking into the locker would be illogical, at that time, since he already knows where it is and would be already following the prime suspect. Until he is out of his sight he can come back to it at anytime without fear of it being tampered with. However if the suspect did notice he was being followed, perhaps he did this on purpose to draw the attention away from the unit and towards him. The other person could be waiting until the cop had diverted his attention back to prime suspect and then disposed of any evidence before he finishes following the other character.

    I could see some angry exclamations coming from him after that. Though it would be odd if I got that type of phone call and just up and left to go dispose of my evidence. I would expect a little bit more finesse from someone who's able to come off as a normal person day after day. Thinking a Dexter type. Hell, go to a nearby diner first and eat. If anyone is following you they'd either have to be stationed in their car the whole time or have to come in to not seem suspicious. That narrows it down and if someone is watching you, well it's easy to tell in a small crowd. I'd place my back against the wall with a good view of the outside from the windows. The door would be in front of me and I'd see everyone who came and went out.

    Of course this all my own logic + Jason Bourne + Dexter speaking. However, it does make sense.
     

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