Does this character sound necessary for my story?
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Topic: Does this character sound necessary for my story?

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    Default Does this character sound necessary for my story?

    For my story, basically it's a thriller set in modern times, and the main villain is a mystery to the police. The main character, a cop, does not want the villain to continue to keep getting away with crimes, and becomes obsessed on finding out who he is.

    He knows that this mystery man villain has a lawyer that represents him, so he hacks into the lawyers computer files to find out who it could be. Of course the villain would want to hide himself as much as he can, such as only paying in cash, and things like that. So the hero may have to hack into the banks as well to crosscheck payment withdrawals to see if they match in price or something.

    So since the main character is a detective, would he need an expert hacker to help him, or could he maybe break into the law firm building himself, and hope that the files of the person who payed him are on record, on paper, to look up, and he doesn't therefore need to break into such a computer?

    But even if they were on paper, does that mean I need to create a character to assist the MC into getting his hands on it still, as well? What do you think?

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator   Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? mara's Avatar
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    I don't understand why you keep coming back to hacking into the lawyer's files, as none of that info is admissible in court.

    But if you want to use an expert hacker, I'd suggest sticking to getting into bank files to get enough info that that data can be subpoenaed - even if the detective can't get sufficient info to prosecute the villain on the crimes that he committed, he might be able to go after him for money laundering. Think of it as the modern equivalent of jailing Al Capone for tax evasion.

    You can either (a) establish from the beginning that the cop is a tech genius, so it's reasonable to believe he can do the hacking himself or (b) include a character that the cop can pressure into doing it for him, perhaps in exchange for going light on a prosecution.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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    Oh I know it's not admissible in court, but the main character wants to find out the truth about what is really going on and who is really behind the crimes.

    After the MC finds out the truth, he will then figure out how to build a case. But in order to figure out how to build a case, he needs to find out the truth first, and then the case second. Does that make sense?

    Also the villain is not guilty of money laundering at all. There is none of that going on so the MC can't use that at all.

    I also thought of creating a hacker than maybe the MC agrees to get rid of evidence or something in exchange for his help, but there is something about that, that seems off, as if I could come up with something better for the story. It just doesn't feel like it fits this story, theme wise, for some reason.

    When you say you don't know why I keep coming back to the hacking into the lawyer's files, are you saying that I overuse it? Cause I only use it in one section of the story and that's all, unless you mean something else?

    Do you think it doesn't make enough sense though that he would hack into the lawyer's files even though it's not admissible in court?

    For example, in the movie Seven, the main character cops found out who the villain was being doing something that was not admissible in court, but that didn't stop them from doing it, to find out what they wanted to find out, unless mine is different?


  4. #4
    Super Moderator   Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? mara's Avatar
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    The lawyer simply makes no sense unless you think that he's part of a criminal conspiracy.

    Have them hack into the villain's computer - now THAT makes sense.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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    Okay thanks, but why does the lawyer make no sense though? Basically the lawyer defended a client. The client couldn't afford to pay, so the client's criminal associate, who is much more wealthy paid the lawyer's fees.

    Now the person paying the lawyer's fees would be in the lawyer's records. So the MC figures that whoever paid the lawyer, could very well be the leader of the gang of the villains. So he wants to figure out who paid the lawyer. That way, he can find the leader.

    So the lawyer is not part of a criminal conspiracy. But he does know who the leader is. So that is why the MC wants to hack into his files to find out who the leader is. What part of that does not make sense that I am missing?


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    Super Moderator   Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? mara's Avatar
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    Because if the person has half a brain, they either (a) paid in cash or (b) laundered the money through multiple locations so that it's untraceable.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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    Okay thanks, I see what you mean. But even if you pay in cash, the person paying still wants status reports on how the case is going. In order to legally get these status reports, the person has to sign confidentiality agreements, in order to get the status reports. The person paying still needs to be on record legally.

    I was also told by a lawyer in my research that the lawyer would keep the person paying on retainer. And in order do this, the person's name would be in the retainer files.

    So if a lawyer has to keep the person paying on retainer, how are they suppose to do that, if the person is not even willing to tell the lawyer who he is?

    Last edited by ironpony; 09-12-2018 at 03:07 PM.

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    How about the cop romances the lawyers secretary and gets her to agree to help him to catch the fiend, by looking up the lawyer's files on him?


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    Well the cop is already married and he is not the type to cheat. But even so I feel like maybe Mara has a point that the villain would go through extra hoops to hide his name though maybe.


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    You know what I could do instead of having the main character having to jump through so many complicated hoops that involve lots of research, which seems to lead to plot holes, what if I had just the main character break into one of the character's homes, in a mask, with gloves and a gun, and just threaten to kill him unless he talks...

    Cause this would be a shortcut, and would make everything less complicated. As far as writing what I know, I don't know torture, but torturing information out of someone, would be easier than all these complicated technical obstacles that get in the way of the plot.

    However, readers might not like how the main character decides to make such a drastic move, just because he didn't want to figure out a different way. Plus torture alerts the villains that you are onto them as well, which is the downside of it. But at the time same time, it does get him the info a lot faster, just not sure if readers would think it was a cop out, since I did not bother to continue doing research, till I found something that would work for the plot in a different way.


  11. #11
    Super Moderator   Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? mara's Avatar
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    Most experts say that torture doesn't work, for the simple reason that people will say anything to make it stop.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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    Yeah but I thought that the person might blurt out the truth to make it stop, cause he was in too much fear and pain that he couldn't think of a creative enough lie to sell, under the circumstances.

    Torture worked in other movies and TV shows as well, so not sure if it would work in mine then.

    But I thought about what you said, about how the villain would not have his name in the lawyer's bookkeeping when it comes to the bills. So if this is the case, not sure what else the main character can do to get the info, rather than beat it out of a character, since all the trails are at a dead end now it seems.


  13. #13
    Super Moderator   Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? Does this character sound necessary for my story? mara's Avatar
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    If the "trails are at a dead end," then you as the writer need to add another trail that the detective can use.

    Is there someone else in the criminal organization who might be vulnerable to other forms of persuasion? One of the most common ways for the FBI etc to crack an organization is to find someone on the inside who is willing to flip in exchange for a new identify or a lighter sentence. Why would one character be open to that? Perhaps (s)he wants to protect a loved one? Or has been wronged by the ring leader and so the person is no longer completely loyal? What weakness can be exploited to get someone to turn? That could be your "aha" moment - when the detective finds the weakness in the organization that he can exploit.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

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