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  1. #1
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    Which of these two plot scenarios sounds better?

    For my story, basically the prosecutor wants a witness to testify in a case, but the witness refuses to cooperate. The prosecutor subpoenas her to testify at a grand jury hearing therefore, to see what she has to say.

    After being supoenaed at the police station, since talking to her was not doing any good, a cop (the main character) gives her a ride home. He then drops her off and leaves. Moments later a break in happens at her house and she calls 911 to report it. The MC, still driving, is the closest car by and turns around, and huries back to the house to respond.

    When he gets there he sees that the power to the house has been taken out, as well as the back door broken into. He knows that the people breaking in may have come to silence the witness in the case. So fearing for her life, he decides to enter without waiting for back up, as the intruders could have made their way too her, or could do so any moment. He then comes into contact with her and gets her out of the house. While keeping watch and waiting for back up, the MC thinks that she may have set up the break in to the house herself in order to get the police concerned about giving her protection, since she wanted protection before, but couldn't get it. But then intruders follow and a chase ensues, or something along those lines.

    Scenario #2 is similar with pretty much the same pay off, and I am not sure which would be better...

    I asked a cop when writing this for research and he says that the police would not assign protection to an uncooperative witness who had to be subpoenaed to testify at a grand jury, because she wouldn't tell the investigators or prosecutor anything. So I wrote the first scenario that way, where she gets no protection.

    In scenario #2 it's pretty much the same where a cop drops her off, but before leaving he waits for another cop to drive to the house, and that cop will stay and watch her for his shift, as long as he doesn't get called away on emergency. The MC drives away leaving the other cop to watch her. The break in, in the back of the house still happens the same way, and she calls 911. The MC while driving away, gets the call and turns around and heads back.

    The other cop gets out and decides to go in without waiting for the MC to come back, in fear of the witnesses life and safefty. As the other cop goes in, the witness thinks that the cop might be an intruder so she attempts to attack him, but the other cop, knowing she is making a mistake stops her. Or I could write it so that she gets the drop on him in the dark even, if that's better? The MC then arrives to explain the misunderstanding and that it's a cop, not the potential intruders. The MC still believes that she may have set up the break in herself as a ruse to get the police to give her more protection. But the intruders then come to try to get her and chase/stand off ensues.

    So pretty much the same pay off, but done in different ways. Which scenario do you think is better, if any? Thanks for any advice or input. I really appreciate it.
    Last edited by ironpony; 12-27-2016 at 11:15 PM.



  2. #2
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    I don't have an opinion on which of the two choices is better; it depends on how they are written. But in your first choice, I don't think she'd receive a subpoena at the police station. It's my understanding that grand juries issue the subpoenas; the prosecutor wouldn't be able to say she's an uncooperative witness and subpoena her immediately, though I may be wrong about any and all of this. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Okay thanks. The way I wrote it is so the police are questioning her and she is refusing to answer certain questions. The prosecutor is interested so he comes to down to see what's what, and then ends up giving her the subpoena. I saw it done this way in a movie once, unless that's wrong. Basically the prosecutor asks to testify, she refuses, so he has the subpoena faxed over, and gives it to her. Unless I cannot write it this way for some reason? The reason why I want her home to be invaded after she is being driven home from the police station is so the MC has a reason to be close by her house after the home is invaded so he can return to her house and be the first one on the scene early to get involved in the action.

    If she does not return from the police station and the MC is off doing something else entirely, then he can no longer be part of the plot. So this is why I had him drive her home and drop her off, so he could come back and be part of the plot still. Does that not work?

    In my research though, I read that a police officer can serve a subpoena. So if that's true, why can't the cops serve it to her?
    Last edited by ironpony; 12-29-2016 at 01:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Iron Pony, yes, police officers do sometimes serve subpoenas and summonses; depending on the locale and the case, it's likely they WOULD be the ones to serve it.

    Does that not work? I don't know if that works, but YOU should know. Please don't rely for accuracy on something you saw in a movie, particularly if you're writing a police procedural or a story where your credibility on this matter is important. The grand jury being involved might change your situation; not all cases in all jurisdictions involve grand juries.

    My point is be certain of your research. Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Okay thanks. I am not sure how much the accuracy would matter, since this story is overall just a cat and mouse style thriller, and those kinds of thrillers sacrifice realism for suspense all the time, in all the research I have done. So I am not sure where the line is drawn I guess, compared to other works of fiction, that also sacrifice realism for suspense.

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