1. taariya

    taariya Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Illinois

    Setting up a murder

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by taariya, Dec 8, 2016.

    So there's a point in my novel where all of Elias's (my MC) actions and inactions culminate to begin a slip and slide where he loses control of life as he knows it and, with some finality, enters a new one. The secret/ambiguous antagonist murders/sets up the murder of a member of the cult he leads, and Elias ends up getting tangled up in it with no clear way out.

    Option number 1 is that Elias commits the murder from self-defense, panics, and then Frans comes to the rescue, helping him hide/dispose of the body and clean up and avoid police involvement. That's just easier to see than Frans convincing him to murder the guy ahead of time. But then I'm stumped: how can you set up a violent altercation between two people that guarantees that one of them dies and that the one that dies is the one you want to die? In a way that doesn't break the reader's suspension of disbelief and cross the line into being ridiculous?

    Option number 2: Frans establishes the impression within Elias that the target is violent, dangerous, and volatile. Some time later he and Elias are set to meet somewhere private. He schedules an earlier meeting with the cult member, murders him, and allows Elias to stumble upon the scene. Frans only needs Elias's fear, shock, and sympathy to cause him to help Frans clean up and/or get rid of the body. If that happens, then Elias reporting the crime would be out of the question since he's now an accomplice to it. My reservation with this option is that I don't see it being so foolproof. Elias could easily come to his senses and/or discover the truth, report the crime, then claim he was under duress/manipulated and probably get an easier sentence. Frans has much more to lose by taking the risk and less power than if Elias had been the one to do the deed.

    I've been trying and failing to work this out for a while so I figured it was time for some outside perspectives. Which is more believable/effective, are there ideas or holes that haven't occurred to me, how in the hell could anyone pull off option 1, that sort of thing.
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    18,121
    Likes Received:
    21,113
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    How about Elias has an angry confrontation with the cult leader in public then frans murders the cult leader and frames elias by planting weapons and bloody clothes in his house /somewhere elias would hide them
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,414
    Likes Received:
    2,923
    1) You start with a violent altercation. 2) One character dies ;)

    Coming up with a way for one character to survive unrealistically is more often than not harder than coming up with a way for the same character to survive realistically. Don't start by coming up with a bunch of extra reasons why the fight did end the way you want it to, just start with the basics.

    If you're coming up with a grand conclusion to the plot-line, then you need to add extra reasons why events did happen that way, but if you're just working on one of the early-to-middle steps, then all you need is to remove the reasons why events wouldn't have happened that way.

    What are the reasons you're seeing for why the fight wouldn't work the way you want it to?
     
  4. taariya

    taariya Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Illinois
    Then it would become apparent too soon that Frans was outright manipulative, unless I wrote Elias having no memory beyond the confrontation and then waking up, finding the evidence, and being told by Frans that he had killed the mark. That would involve Frans somehow sedating Elias or knocking him unconscious, which Elias would remember or at least come to realize later on. Otherwise normal people don't just go randomly passing out or losing memory of long stretches of time, after all.

    The easiest method to direct the mark and Elias toward a violent confrontation would be for Frans himself to incite it. He could either directly tell the mark to kill Elias, or he could completely distance himself from the act itself by provoking the mark to the point of physical violence against Elias without giving a direct order.

    If the mark has gotten it into his head that Elias should die, then chances are he's going to come with a loaded gun and corner Elias. Elias, unaware that the mark is out for his blood, would probably be caught off guard and unarmed. Even if he did get cornered and tried to use his surroundings (like you see in horror movies where the killer is on top of their next victim strangling hem or something and then the victim desperately reaches out and finds a doorstop or something to bash them over the head with), you'd have a guy untrained in any weapon and not particularly fast or strong up against a marksman with no serious physical disadvantages. Who do you think comes out on top?

    There are other factors but I think those can be worked around easily enough. In my mind there's no way Elias should/could win that doesn't involve some blatant form of deus-ex-machina and plot contrivance.
     
  5. antlad

    antlad Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    96
    I think the fact that they are in/tied to a cult would weigh heavily on whether or not one were to talk. It is the cult's ties to the community, or lack of, that would determine the action taken by most members.
    Have they isolated themselves?
    Are people always trying to gain entry to 'help' members?
    Do members get anonymous notes offering help if they want to leave?
    How long have they been there and what is the leader really like?
    How do members live vs leader?
     
  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,414
    Likes Received:
    2,923
    Sounds like that wouldn't work.

    Maybe the cult leader wasn't planning this either?
     
  7. taariya

    taariya Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Illinois
    Well the cult doesn't physically isolate its members from the greater part of society and Frans' control of the members is more psychological than otherwise. Because he focuses much more on creating and maintaining control over existing cult members than on expansion, there are only about 10 total members in the cult's inner circle (which doesn't include any family members who may have been included in the outer circle/front of the cult to bring them under control and quell their concern and interference).

    Most of the cult members have been there a while. Frans boasts at one point that they had almost all been in the cult for about 10-15 years, but he (inwardly) feels they're all rather disappointing and will probably start to die soon, and he wants to replace them with a fresh younger iteration of members (which Elias is to be the first example of). All of them are upper-class but Frans has significantly more money than any of them (in no small part because he collects theirs).

    So the mark isn't necessarily armed and ready to kill when the altercation happens, evening the playing field between the mark and Elias? That could work if I recast Frans' intentions in recruiting Elias as just being a potentially useful new member instead of specifically the agent of a murder, and then have Elias and the murder prove useful to Frans later on.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice