1. Lixue

    Lixue New Member

    Jun 11, 2013
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    Reasons for a group of people to not fall under suspicion?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lixue, Jul 22, 2013.

    I have this piece of writing that was born from a one-line writing prompt, and recently I've been trying to develop it into a longer work (short story or novella). But since it wasn't originally planned to be a full-length piece, I'm having to work out the plot from scratch, and I just hit a major snag logic-wise.

    The main character is a foundling who was raised from infancy in a highly superstitious village. In order for the events of the story to take place the way I want them to, she has to get out of that village. The way I had originally written it, the woman who took her in, cared for her, and believed that she was good died of old age, and the MC ran off to be alone upon hearing this. While she was gone, another woman in the village was brutally murdered, causing the villagers to automatically blame her due to their distrust and superstitions. They were going to hang her/put her to death in some way for the crime, but the husband of the woman who was like the MC's mother goes against his nature and sneaks her out.

    I decided to simplify this so that the MC's adoptive mother is the one who gets murdered, in order to have the MC want to find out who killed her. But the problem with this is that the MC can't return to the village, and logically, it looks like one of the villagers was the murderer (so that they would have a good excuse to be rid of the MC), even though this isn't the case. So it's a gaping plot hole, because if the MC doesn't also realize this, she'll look like an idiot, but if she does realize it, she can't go back there anyway. And the story isn't about her trying to sneak back into her village to find the murderer. I'm not sure how to get around this, as the only universal motives I can think of for people to NOT kill someone don't apply here. The villagers aren't categorically opposed to killing people, because they wanted to kill the MC for her "crime", and they didn't particularly love the woman who was killed because she defended the MC.

    It is fantasy by the way, so there could be a "magical" way around this; but it's closer to historical fantasy than anything else and the only fantastical elements I've introduced so far are mythical creatures.

    Any suggestions would be awesome, I'm kinda pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to work around this. :confused:
  2. ManOrAstroMan

    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

    May 8, 2012
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    Unless you want to develope this into a medieval crime procedural, and have all the villagers interviews to eliminate them on reasons of motive or opportunity, the only thing you're left with is means.
    It should be obvious that the victim was killed in a way none of the villagers could perpetrate. Maybe she was blown up with a firespell, maybe she was ripped to pieces by something incredibly strong, maybe she was turned to stone and shattered--you decide. But unless you want to use the pretty flimsy device of "they were all at the fete/meetinghall/temple blessing", it should be clear to just about anyone that none of the local yokels could have been physically capable of the murder.
  3. randomme1

    randomme1 Member

    Aug 22, 2012
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    So you're trying to find a good excuse, for the sake of your plot, for your MC to NOT return to the village? I would say that the only way to do this is have the victim murdered by something that your MC is capable of, the actual murderer is capable of, but no one in your village is capable of.

    Basically, what ManOrAstroMan said.

    This would be best since it would give your villagers a legitimate reason for accusing her besides the whole "she's an outsider, it had to be her" thing. It would give your MC perfect evidence that the killer is not a villager, and she wouldn't have to go back.

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