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  1. #1
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    What am I doing wrong in my plotting?

    For the past few months I have not been able to come up with an ending to my story that I am satisfied with and feels holds together well enough.

    I know what I want to happen, but I cannot figure out HOW it happens at all. I have posted a few different outcome ideas in the past few months, but none of them really held together I feel. Basically it's a thriller where the cops are on the track of a serial killer type villain.

    However, I cannot think of a legal method for the police to be able to catch the villain. Every scenario I come up with, would not be admissible in court, for various legal reasons. However, this is the problem as I would like to keep the plot simple, but the law is so convoluted that trying to apply it causes the story to become more and more convoluted, and I still haven't found a way the law can work to bust the killer.

    Their are many other convoluted laws which get in the way of catching the villain as well. One writer suggested that I should just let the villain win, as the law is just not written to catch crooks of this sort, and I should stop forcing it. But why does the villain have to win? Is there not another way?

    But do you think I should, or am I doing something wrong in my plotting that I am not seeing?
    Last edited by ironpony; 03-18-2016 at 10:50 AM.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    If the cops kill him then they don't need to worry about what's admissible in in court.

  3. #3
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    Set up a twist in which the bad guy avoids court punishment but gets his comeuppance through some other means--preferably at the good guy's hands. Use good judgment here. If such an ending is a deus-ex-machina type contrivance (e.g., as the villain skips away from the courthouse, he's flattened by a bus), it will only piss off the reader. But a twist that has been foreshadowed and set up in subplots can be a real gas.

  4. #4
    Member K.S. Crooks's Avatar
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    Criminals are caught because of the mistakes they make. If a crime is done perfectly then the person shouldn't be caught. Go through your story and determine whether you have provided one large or a few small mistakes that the police can use to determine the killer's identity, location, place of employment or their next victim.
    K.S. Crooks - Dreamer and Author
    http://www.kscrooks.com

  5. #5
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    Okay thanks. I could use the whole good guy kills the bad guy to get justice, and all that happens with one villain, I want this other main villain, to go to prison. He is a different character with a different development arc, and I think him going to prison would be better than death.

    As for looking through the villains plan, I originally wrote it so that the cops did find evidence, but I was told by readers way back that it felt forced and that there was no reason to keep the evidence around to be found by police, when they could have just gotten rid of it, after the crime. And that's true, it does come off as forced.

    So looking through their plan, I cannot find evidence that would be found, that they have a reason to keep naturally. What would the police do in this case?

    Everyone keeps suggesting that the police should predict who the next victim will be and use the victim as bait to set a trap, but I see two problems with this.

    1. I don't think that the police would go up to a person and tell them that they think they may be next on a killers list and was wondering if they could help them catch them.

    2. If the police catch the villain in the act of going after another victim, the worst charge they would get is attempted kidnapping or assault or something like that. Where as they will still not be charged with their past crimes and the new charge, is not enough punishment for the villain I don't think.

    I want two things to happen though. I want the police to catch all of the villains at the same time. This is tricky, cause the police would have to come up with a reason to manipulate all of the villains to getting together. And two, the villains would all have to get together to something that will incriminate them for their past crimes. I have been having writer's block on this for months, because I cannot think of anything at all.

    What if the police got desperate enough that they frame the villains for one of the past crimes, since there is not enough evidence? I thought the police could just plant evidence of one of their past murders, in order to get them caught. However, how do you frame someone for a murder, when everything from the crime scene has already been collected before? What evidence could you plant that would actually hold up in court, since the body is already buried, and the crime scene already closed off and done with?

    Is this approach possible, since I cannot think of any evidence they would have reason to keep around?
    Last edited by ironpony; 03-18-2016 at 07:20 PM.

  6. #6
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    In general you should know your ending, or at least the climax, and orther "big ticket" items, before you write the story. Each scene must build on the previous one, in a progression that steadily narrows options while steadily increasing the risk for the protagonist, until, at the climax it's all or nothing, and the protagonist appears to be out of options. And the progression of scenes is such that at the end of each there is a form of disaster that causes the protagonist to stop, rethink, recover, and plan.

    Given that, you might want to know the major points on the road map for the trip to the climax.
    there was no reason to keep the evidence around to be found by police, when they could have just gotten rid of it, after the crime. And that's true, it does come off as forced.
    Were that true everyone would discard "the evidence" and never be caught. Remember, criminals are not CSI, nor do they know how it works. Remember, investigation is a science, and criminals don't have a degree. There is always evidence.
    I don't think that the police would go up to a person and tell them that they think they may be next on a killers list and was wondering if they could help them catch them.
    True, but it's easy enough to use clothing and makeup to have a cop appear to be the supposed victim.
    If the police catch the villain in the act of going after another victim, the worst charge they would get is attempted kidnapping or assault or something like that.
    Don't you watch the crime shows? Investigation, through such things as cridit card usage and tradffic cams can often show the person in the area, once they know who to look for. Things like alibi matter, plus the usual things like footprints, DNA, fiber evidence, etc.
    What if the police got desperate enough that they frame the villains for one of the past crimes, since there is not enough evidence?
    And your cops are supposed to be the good guys? "So...we caught this guy robbing a house. Why don't we frame him for all the other robberies in the neighborhood. That way we don't have to work on solving them and we look good."

  7. #7
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    The cops do not have to be completely good necessarily to catch the villains. I know what I want to happen in the ending and I have it written out. I have the who, what, why, etc. But I do not have the HOW. I don't know how the police would capture them. Plus dressing up a cop as the next victim will not work, because they still will not be able to tie the crooks to the past victims, for their murders.

    If the cops catch them in the act of attempting to kidnap a cop, attempted kidnapping is only a few years in prison, and I don't really feel that is a satisfactory enough pay off and punishment for the whole story to build into. I have the ending, I just don't know HOW to get there, police procedure wise, in a way, in which the evidence would be admissible in court. I have the ending, but the legal system keeps getting in the way, and I cannot figure out how to write within it, in a way that would work. What then?

  8. #8
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    The cops do not have to be completely good necessarily to catch the villains. I know what I want to happen in the ending and I have it written out. I have the who, what, why, etc. But I do not have the HOW. I don't know how the police would capture them. Plus dressing up a cop as the next victim will not work, because they still will not be able to tie the crooks to the past victims, for their murders.

    If the cops catch them in the act of attempting to kidnap a cop, attempted kidnapping is only a few years in prison, and I don't really feel that is a satisfactory enough pay off and punishment for the whole story to build into. I have the ending, I just don't know HOW to get there, police procedure wise, in a way, in which the evidence would be admissible in court. I have the ending, but the legal system keeps getting in the way, and I cannot figure out how to write within it, in a way that would work. What then?
    Sounds like your real problem is being too stuck on your idea for the ending.

  9. #9
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    The Feds put Al Capone away for tax evasion even though we all know he was guilty of worse crimes. Something to think about anyway.

  10. #10
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    Yeah but, the Al Capone thing feels like a cop out to me, at least for the type of theme I am going for which is the villain feeling like justice was served to him. As for being stuck on my idea for an ending, I was told I should come up with the ending first and build into it. If I am to get rid of the ending, and slap a new one on, without it feeling forced, I feel like I need a good reason for doing so, when the original ending, I think is the best way to end it. I just haven't been able to figure out HOW to get there, within the current legal system.

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