Does this come off as a coincidence in my plot and can I fix it?

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Thread: Does this come off as a coincidence in my plot and can I fix it?

  1. #1

    Does this come off as a coincidence in my plot and can I fix it?

    For my story, in the beginning in the inciting incident, the main character is a cop who is on patrol who spots some suspicious activity and decides to take a closer look, but finds out something big is going down calls for back, and it all leads to chase, etc. One of the villains is arrested by the MC, and the rest get away.

    However, I am told that it comes off as a coincidence or a convenience, beacause the MC happened to be at right place, at the right time, so the rest of the plot can happen, and it makes him more of a passive character to open him with as a result.

    If this is so, is there a way I can make it less coincidental and convenient, and more natural perhaps? Thanks for any advice on it! I really appreciate it!

  2. #2
    You could have him investigating a call from a neighbor or someone who lived in the area.

  3. #3
    I could but does that make all the difference though, if one person calls the police as opposed to a patrol car being there? If it makes all the difference than I can write it that way. How long would it take the cop to get there if he is called though? Since it's a chase, if a person sees it and calls 911, by the time the cop gets to where he/she called from, the perps would be gone then, wouldn't they?

  4. #4
    I've received comments like that. Oh, that was too convenient that an FBI agent was willing to work with them. And no matter how you shade it, the results are the same.
    Like they say ...Fiction should make sense, reality not so much.. If your MC only catches one of them, where is the convince in that? Write your story and let more than a few decide. I know from past stories you have skills. Write on……

  5. #5
    It seems like an easy thing to ask a cop, maybe. They could have sent in the closest guy on patrol. I’m not sure that it bothers me or not to have him notice... but remember I’m the one who wants him to have a background with gangs. Is this the gang stuff? He could be keeping an eye on them so to speak?

  6. #6
    Oh okay. It's just that because of the rest of the plot, there is no way the police would know who any of them are at this point in the story though. I need the police to know the what, which is the crime that happened, and I need one of the to be caught, but I don't want the police to know who any of them are though. If that's possible, without it coming off as a convenient coincidence?

  7. #7
    Yeah, he was the one on patrol who was nearest. Someone called in. I think it can be that simple. Or he could be out there watching some other development and that all happened. I’m not sure that it bothers me... but I’m not a cop. A cop would know.

  8. #8
    A cop with good instincts catches a lot of badguys exactly the way you describe. They know when to look where and for who. I know a retired cop who would say to himself "If I were a crook..."

  9. #9
    Oh okay, that makes sense. Well I was told it was a coincidence that the cop happened to be in the right place, at the right time to be able to look was the problem, not the looking itself.

  10. #10
    In theory, you could argue that if your cop was not at the scene, you would not have a story to tell. Or it happened to be that cop who was thrust into the story because they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and turned it around for themselves.

    If it was a different cop on scene, then would the story be about them? There are many different routes this could go, and your cop being in the area is plausible.

    Plenty of real stories exist about off duty or undercover cops just going about their day at a roadside store when someone pulls a gun and tries to hold up the cashier only to get apprehended on scene. Convenient? Sure. A coincidence? Maybe. Possible? Absolutely.

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