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  1. #1
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    Do I have to use a coincidence to start the plot off in this case?

    For my story, in order to have an inciding event to start off the plot, I want a cop to rescue a woman from a kidnapping, that gets the ball rolling, and leads to the plot turns I want. The kidnappers get away accept for one, who is arrested.

    However, I do not want the cop to know who the kidnappers are, and want them to remain mystery characters that have to be identified. He also must not know anything about who the women is, prior to rescuing her either.

    I don't like using coincidences when writing, cause it feels too easy. I don't want a cop stumbling on by coincidence, cause it feels like there is too much luck in the police's favor, at just the right time.

    So I would like to write it without a coincidence, but is it possible to do this, if the cop is to not know who any of the kidnappers are?

    Since I am writing a screenplay, I tend to use movies as examples. There are movies that start with a main character tracking villains, but he has no idea who the villains are. Which is weird, cause how could he be tracking them, if he doesn't know who they are? They don't explain it, they just open with him tracking them.

    Three examples, I can think of are Lethal Weapon 2, Skyfall, and Confession of Murder.

    I could write it like that where it starts out that he is already in progress of rescuing the woman, but the case goes to court later, and statements are taken, so I am wondering, if the explanation still has to come out later as to how the cop came upon the rescue?

    What do you think?



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    Yes.

  3. #3
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    Is it bad to use a coincidence though, or does it feel too convenient that a group of kidnappers have been kidnapping and ransoming people for months with no leads or clues as to who they are, but then all of a sudden one cop stumbles upon one by coincidence?

  4. #4
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    Maybe the attempted kidnapping could happen in front of a donut shop? Just kidding! Where is the attempted kidnapping taking place? If it's at the MC's home, maybe the cop is her next door neighbor? Depending on where this is happening you might come up with a good reason for the cop happening to be there.

  5. #5
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Is it bad to use a coincidence though, or does it feel too convenient that a group of kidnappers have been kidnapping and ransoming people for months with no leads or clues as to who they are, but then all of a sudden one cop stumbles upon one by coincidence?
    No.

  6. #6
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    Sorry I didn't explain well enough. The kidnapping has already happened, and the hostage is already in captivity. The cop has to come across it in a different way, because logically, the hostage, will be held in a building with no windows. So whatever way the the cop discovers it, it will have to something that will go along with a building with no windows.

  7. #7
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Sorry I didn't explain well enough. The kidnapping has already happened, and the hostage is already in captivity. The cop has to come across it in a different way, because logically, the hostage, will be held in a building with no windows. So whatever way the the cop discovers it, it will have to something that will go along with a building with no windows.
    Even though by now I figure you have no f-ing clue what you're doing, I'm going to take a stab at this anyway because I'm bored.

    1. Your hostage is in a warehouse-type building and the cop is happening by there for reasons [maybe even working a different case] and hears a scream or other noise that prompts him to investigate.
    2. Your cop receives a tip from someone who overheard the criminal talking or saw the criminal putting the hostage in the building.

    My book Chance of a Lifetime begins with the cop at his favorite watering hole when a well-known snitch walks in to get some cigarettes. The cop suspects the snitch has some information and then coerces him to tell him about a robbery that's going down that night.

  8. #8
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    There are all kinds of reasons for a cop to be anywhere. Maybe he knows the building is not in use but sees a car or van there. Maybe he's hiding in a nearby building on another stake-out and sees someone going in or out when they shouldn't be.

    Get your creative juices going and figure out not just one but three or four reasons why an officer would check out this building. Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Well yes, I can use any of those reasons. But what I mean is, is that each of those reasons would be starting off the plot with a coincidence, and was wondering if that is okay. It just feels that the villains get away with their crimes and the police have no clues, and then by a CONVENIENT coincidence, a cop happens to be at the right place, at the right time.

    I was wondering if that comes off as too convenient to the reader, since it's a coincidence, or a convenience at least? As far as someone reporting the gang to the cop or the cop getting info from a snitch, I do not want the cop to know the villains are.

    So if he uses a snitch or someone who knows the gang, that person would know at least one of the members which I do not want.

  10. #10
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    The argument could, and has been made that everything in life is a coincidence. As long as the reason for the cop to be there is plausible or at least inside the realm of possibility, go for it. It's your job as a writer to seduce the reader into suspending belief so they buy into what's happening in your story. If you can't do that yet, then study, study, study more. Read, read, read more.

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