1. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Stuck - need ideas for a minor crime

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mckk, Jul 23, 2017.

    I've been stuck on this since before I even started writing my WIP (and it's been 4 months now...) Any ideas welcome!

    Basically, my MC was given a public whipping for some offense when he was say, 17.

    He was innocent. It was actually his 2 friends who were guilty. Let's call these two friends R and A. My MC wants to protect A's reputation because they're kinda into each other, and R says he would certainly rat A out if the MC rats him out. So my MC keeps quiet, and takes the punishment on himself. The result is lifelong scars on his back that he's rather ashamed of - the humiliation sorta lives in him.

    I need ideas for what on earth this offense could be :superthink:

    I've tried googling what crimes may have deserved a public whipping but I just get general history stuff on medieval crime. It needs to be something that seems trivial or innocent enough that A would go along with it (at the encouragement of R), and somehow the whole thing needs to be blamed on my MC. It would be great also if R could somehow prove A was there, just to make his blackmail a bit more convincing.

    I need A to somehow be at fault here - that she could have saved my MC from the whipping and chose not to.

    This is fantasy, and all these characters are teenagers, like 16, 17 at the time this happens.
     
  2. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    How about if they steal fruit from a market, and MC is caught with it because he was carrying the bag. It's trivial, could conceivably have resulted in a whipping (harsh by today's standards, but not in a fantasy/medieval setting) and his buddies have plausible deniability if they weren't carrying the fruit.
     
  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    What's your world look like? A public punishment is more about deterring others than reciprocity toward the offender. The humiliation aspect of it is designed to break the will of a "social" criminal inclined to influence others, whereas murders or thieves can be simply executed or thrown in jail. Some kind of crime against society would fit best... be it vandalism, sedition, rabble-rousing, anti-social behavior, insulting the local governor, or trying to organize workers against the state. I like the last one--trying to unionize against management/the state/corrupt regime/etc... Or even if your MC was caught with contraband or anti-social literature. That was huge in Soviet Russia. Someone who liked to read a critique of the Party was likely to teach others in their minds. I don't know what your government looks like, but if they're whipping seventeen year olds in public I'd imagine it's pretty oppressive.
     
  4. Walking Dog

    Walking Dog Active Member

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    Google flogging. Flogging could be a sentence for many things, such as not doing one's duty, stealing, or defamation. Flogging could also be a passage of rights, such as a boy becoming a man. Remember the movie A Man Called Horse? Being hung by the skin isn't exactly a flogging, but taking a whip to the back to show courage could be similar to this.
     
  5. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    out of Singapore, here is a real life caning, or whipping using a rattan cane

    Two Germans to be caned, jailed for Singapore train graffiti
    The Germans' act of vandalism sparked an international manhunt that resulted in their capture in Malaysia
    March 5, 2015 11:57AM ET
    A Singapore court sentenced two Germans to nine months in prison and three strokes of the cane on Thursday after they pleaded guilty to breaking into a depot and spray-painting graffiti on a commuter train carriage.

    Andreas Von Knorre, 22, and Elton Hinz, 21, both expressed remorse while being sentenced in the state courts of the island republic.

    "This is the darkest episode of my entire life," said Von Knorre. "I want to apologize to the state of Singapore for the stupid act. ... I've learned my lesson and will never do it again."

    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/5/two-germans-to-be-caned-jailed-for-singapore-train-graffiti.html

    reminiscent of a similar occurrence in 1994...

     
  6. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

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    Is there not some way that you can relate the offence in question to the plot somehow? That might give you some initial ideas as to what you're looking for.
     
  7. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    @Homer Potvin - rallying workers for some kind of protest might work. My MC and R are both lower class and A is actually the daughter of a high-ranking official in the city, so very much upper-class. What if R were raging about some workers not having been paid and ropes A into helping him write/print anti-government posters? A helps them because she wanted to fit in, be their friend (they're 16, 17 after all - would be realistic enough right?) Without A's knowledge, R slips these posters and letters into I dunno, regular letters that my MC might be delivering? (MC's poor so he would realistically be working odd unskilled jobs in general, holding down multiple jobs etc) Then MC's caught with the stuff and flogged as an example.

    Does that sound all right? Realistic enough? It would be high stakes for A, really, if she was caught doing this - her father would probably terminate or threaten to terminate her education and she would bring shame on the family. MC has the hots for her, so it makes sense he might protect her in this case, and so by default also R because R would rat A out otherwise.
     
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  8. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    My first thought is theft but then another idea came into my head.


    Does it even have to be intensional? Like. What if it was something stupid. Like boys would be boys style play and something broke. If you want it to be a tad more innocent.

    I think the true trick is that it is trivial and you knew that coming in.

    So my random thought is just that. Asking if the idea needs to be them doing bad on purpose or would an accident work for your uses?
     
  9. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Nah, it needs to be intentional, as the theme and the relationships hinge on guilt and redemption.
     
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  10. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Guilt over letting someone else take the blame? Or guilt over the crime itself? Because if the latter, that would have implications for the nature of the crime.
     
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  11. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Primarily guilt of letting someone else take the blame, although guilt over the crime itself can be present too. But focus is more on the guilt of using my MC as a scapegoat, because they were supposed to be friends - still are friends. The romantic affection is actually mutual, on top of that.
     
  12. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    If your MC is lower class, I have a hard time believing he's be ashamed of just being thought of as a criminal. If he's living in a society where injustice is rampant, then he probably knows a few people who share similar marks and would see them more as a mark of injustice rather than a mark of shame. Unless flagellation was a specific punishment used for a specifically embarrassing crime (like being intimate with The Queens pet goose) then they would more likely be judged on that, than on being a general criminal.
     
  13. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like the politically motivated crime idea. I think you should go in this direction because it isn't as generic as stealing.
     
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  14. C.F. Boehlke

    C.F. Boehlke Member

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    Drawing erotic pictures. I know this is way out of left field, but there's an explanation. I just watched Titanic. :p
     
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  15. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Yep, makes sense to me. Teenagers in love do stupid shit all the time. Adults too for that matter.
     
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  16. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    This made me chuckle lol :-D might take the edge off the seriousness somewhat though haha.
     
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