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Does this part of my story need to be explained? (1 Viewer)

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ironpony

Senior Member
For my story, which is a crime thriller the main character is a cop who is assigned to protect a witness and goes to her place to pick her up and takes her to a safe house. The way I wrote it so far is that when he goes to pick her up, the villains are watching her place, and see that she now has police protection and they panic and try to kill her before she can get away... And they fail and the main character takes her to the safe house.

However, I thought it might be better if I save the attempt on her until later, because then the main character and her have had more time to bond before the attack happens then. But I couldn't figure out a way for the villains to figure out where the safe house is though, so I thought maybe I should just have the attempt on her happen beforehand though.

But one reader told me to that I should just write it so that the villains show up at the safe house later, and that I do not have to explain how they found it, and just leave it up to the imagination. But is this okay though to do this, or is it sloppy? I cannot recall ever seeing something like this in fiction before where the villains find someone and it's not explained how they found them. Unless it's okay?
 

druid12000

Senior Member
That would be a HUGE hole in the story, IMO. I'm picturing reading this and thinking 'What the hell? How did they get there?'.

Nothing says bonding like saving the dame in distress, though :p
 

Backstroke_Italics

Senior Member
There should be a reason for the villains to defeat the police's strategy. Otherwise there is no emotional impact to the strategy being defeated. The classic way to do this is treachery. Another police officer tells the villains where to go. And their motivation is tied to the other major plot thread, which seems to be the relationship between the main cop and the witness. If we're going to classic tropes again the motive here would be jealousy. So The second cop is jealous that the witness is getting too close to her crush and tries to use the villains to eliminate her rival.

Or have two attacks. Why not? Your reader will thank you for it if you're writing a thriller and each attack adds something new to the story.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Well I suppose one way the villains could find out is to aim a parabolic micriphone towards the police station to try to pick up the conversation about the where the witness is being taken to. But if the villains find out this way, would the audience be thinking if finding out police information is that easy then why don't most criminals do that in real life?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I'd stick with your original idea. Getting two complete strangers together under such a stressful situation, will throw up some interesting narrative beats and give you the opportunity to build a unique relationship.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
There should be a reason for the villains to defeat the police's strategy. Otherwise there is no emotional impact to the strategy being defeated. The classic way to do this is treachery. Another police officer tells the villains where to go. And their motivation is tied to the other major plot thread, which seems to be the relationship between the main cop and the witness. If we're going to classic tropes again the motive here would be jealousy. So The second cop is jealous that the witness is getting too close to her crush and tries to use the villains to eliminate her rival.

Or have two attacks. Why not? Your reader will thank you for it if you're writing a thriller and each attack adds something new to the story.

Actually yes there is a second attack later as well, it's just I wonder if I should save both for later, because then them being closer together may be more exciting, or so I thought.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
I'd stick with your original idea. Getting two complete strangers together under such a stressful situation, will throw up some interesting narrative beats and give you the opportunity to build a unique relationship.

Oh by that you mean the idea that the villains attack her home first as the cop picks her up?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Oh by that you mean the idea that the villains attack her home first as the cop picks her up?

Yes. Think of the interesting relationship they could build from that one stressful moment. No slow burn, just 'there you go' instant partnership. Deal with it! But what would that relationship be like?
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay. That's how I have it written right now, but one reader told me that I should do the opposite and have the attack later because then they've already formed that bond and have it for the attack then, if that reader has a point as well?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Oh okay. That's how I have it written right now, but one reader told me that I should do the opposite and have the attack later because then they've already formed that bond and have it for the attack then, if that reader has a point as well?

No, that reader doesn't. It's YOUR story. Tell it how you want to tell it. If it doesn't work, then consider altering it later. In the meantime, set yourself the goal of making your OWN idea work. Always take advise on structuring, grammar, word choice etc. But never take the advise of people who want to change your story.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay thanks, I can do that. I actually thought it sounded like a good idea, because then you have more both attacks happening closer to one another which I thought be more exciting. But I couldn't think of how to make it so the villains know where the witness is, unless aiming a parabolic mic at the police station to find out would work.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Why can’t they figure out where the safe house is? If they are watching the house? Why aren’t they following them? Why can’t they throw even one of their Apple watches in the car with them or something? Shouldn’t there be a way now that the policeman has been discovered? How far is he taking her? Across town or to the other side of the USA?

Are they watching by camera or from another house across the way?
There’s got to be a way to work this.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh he is taking her across town. Sorry, when I said they are watching the house, what I meant is, they are watching her house, before she is taking to the safe house, if that's what you mean?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh he is taking her across town. Sorry, when I said they are watching the house, what I meant is, they are watching her house, before she is taking to the safe house, if that's what you mean?

Right. Why can’t the villains just follow them across town? It would build tension if the villains thought they lost sight of the cop’s car at one point and then saw it at a gas station and kept following. Waiting to attack at night when they were all together but the cop hadn’t gone home at all and was watching the house? Or if they lost the car completely then maybe the girl sneaks out to go to her friend’s wedding and gets seen and then they follow her back to the safe house? But again, the cop wasn’t gone at all. Wouldn’t some combo of this work? Why can’t the villains follow the cop car? Do the villains have a tech guy who can place a bug on the cop’s car? I don’t think I see why you can’t set it up to where they are following the cop and then know that here the safe house is?
 
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ironpony

Senior Member
Oh the villains can follow the cop car, but for the plot I need some things to happen in the plot during while the cop and witness are the safe house... These things in the plot need to happen before the next attack. Which means the vllains would have to be outside the safehouse and wait on the next attack or hold off.

I don't have a reason for them to hold off though, while they are put on hold temporarily. That is why I thought maybe it's better to have the attack happen before the main character and the witness reach the same house, because then it's out of the way then, for other plot points to happen. Unless maybe there is a reason they would wait for a few hours, and I'm not seeing it?

I also thought that maybe it's a plot hole, if the villains follow them instead of choosing to make an attempt on her before she goes to the safe house, rather than waiting till then, unless maybe it's not a plot hole?
 
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Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh the villains can follow the cop car, but for the plot I need some things to happen in the plot during while the cop and witness are the safe house... These things in the plot need to happen before the next attack. Which means the vllains would have to be outside the safehouse and wait on the next attack or hold off.

I don't have a reason for them to hold off though, while they are put on hold temporarily. That is why I thought maybe it's better to have the attack happen before the main character and the witness reach the same house, because then it's out of the way then, for other plot points to happen. Unless maybe there is a reason they would wait for a few hours, and I'm not seeing it?

I also thought that maybe it's a plot hole, if the villains follow them instead of choosing to make an attempt on her before she goes to the safe house, rather than waiting till then, unless maybe it's not a plot hole?

Not at all. They’ve got to wait for Victor to show up or something. Also they don’t ALL have to be watching her house. It can be one guy who then follows and they need time to wait for the cop to leave... but he’s not gone. There can be so many reasons for the villains to re-group and decide that it’s safer at night or when they think the cop has left. Or when the cop is asleep.
 
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ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay, well the cop will not go to sleep since he is on duty, but will they think he will maybe? I can try to come up with something.

It was said before on here that it's better if they attack before she goes to the safehouse though, because then the main character and witness have a stronger bond then, if that's true?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh okay, well the cop will not go to sleep since he is on duty, but will they think he will maybe? I can try to come up with something.

It was said before on here that it's better if they attack before she goes to the safehouse though, because then the main character and witness have a stronger bond then, if that's true?

How do people bond? Trust and vulnerability is my answer for this moment. In the case of this story both ingredients of time and of protection (both use trust and vulnerability) are going to be there at some point. It’s up to you to figure out which ones come first. It’s more sexy to give them time, imo. Let the tension build. Suspense works the same for a relationship or for action. Place the bomb and show that people might be getting killed rather than having it just explode. Placing the bomb makes suspense. Exploding a bomb is just a “now what?” without suspense.

Where is the rest of the story going after the attacks?
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay, I thought that maybe if I place a bomb first to set off the bonding, then it's a matter of waiting for the next bomb to go off, whichever bomb that may be. Unless I just save the first bomb for later as well, and then you have two bombs going off later on, in closer proximity?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh okay, I thought that maybe if I place a bomb first to set off the bonding, then it's a matter of waiting for the next bomb to go off, whichever bomb that may be. Unless I just save the first bomb for later as well, and then you have two bombs going off later on, in closer proximity?

As far as I think of it or understand it, showing the bomb in this case means showing whatever horrible thing the villains want to do. Whatever makes you worried for her and the cop. So showing a primary attack could be placing a bomb as long as you know they are planning a 2nd attack. As their relationship grows the suspense would grow because (depending on how you write it) we want them to be happy and maybe at that point we care about the characters. Okay, let me see if I can write this out to see if I even understand it correctly. That might help me too. I learned this just a few years ago from an Alfred Hitchcock interview, but it helped change the way I write a bit and also the way I started to see movies.

Suspense:
—Show baddies placing a bomb under a table in a room
—Show the timer on the bomb— say 3:00 minute countdown
—Show innocent people walking into the room
—Increase the amount that we care about these people if wanted, increase their value and therefore the possible impact and therefore the suspense. For instance, does a child walk into the room? Does a pregnant woman? Does a darling young woman who is excited she just got her medical degree? Just by knowing the people a bit more you can increase the suspense.
—Show us the timer or the villains
— Increase suspense by showing us the hero’s difficulty in getting there. Add hurtles/obstacles as needed. Play with that and the timer.
—show the hero saving the people just in time.
—Show the bomb going off. Whew! Those people would have been blown to smithereens.

No suspense
— Show a bomb going off. Nice fireworks for a minute. Now what?

I think with yours it’s:
— Show villains discussing the murder and when or how
— Anything you show with the cop coming and the moving to another place just means you’ve got the clock still ticking. Getting to know her, upping the value. seeing a relationship develop ups the value and potential impact of this murder. You can play around with obstacles for the villains— thwarting their ideas. Or play around with things almost going wrong for the hero. Both are playing with suspense because the audience knows what each is trying to do.

if you want a first attack, then that CAN be like placing the bomb. Basically you’re showing us what the villains want to do. That would be fine, then the rest of the chase and suspense of trying to get away from those guys happens. I guess what I think is that as long as you know someone is out there with something awful that they want to do, then that’s suspense.

I think a good package trying to get somewhere that doesn’t get there but has obstacles also builds suspense. You’re playing with what the audience wants to see happen or dreads seeing happen.
 
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