I need a plot fix

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Preacher
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I need a plot fix

Post by Preacher » February 20th, 2011, 12:26 pm

I have a point that needs fixing.

Basically i have a woman who shows up at my MC'S job and says the MC'S missing sister is still alive and needs his help. When he presses for information, she flees in a fit of paranoia, right off the roof. But before she goes she says "start with me." My MC takes that as he needs to first, find out who she is, and then comb through her life. After finding out who she is, he needs to get into her apartment to search. Originally, i had it that after the woman ran off the roof she either left or dropped her apartment key. I do not like that, it seems to easy. I need a fix. Finding out who she is is easy enough, but what do i do about getting into her apartment. Maybe some sort of scam or something to get in, like a repairman deal or something like that.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

That teen writer
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by That teen writer » February 20th, 2011, 1:21 pm

I'm curious why she wants to pick this woman's life apart. Perhaps it's better explained in your text, but be aware it seems unlikely.

Anyway, getting into the apartment...Oh, if this woman is dead, your MC could go to the locksmith and say 'My friend died. I need to get into her apartment.'
Your MC could get the key off the woman's body. And say "I wonder where this goes to?"

I hope this was helpful.

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polymath
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by polymath » February 20th, 2011, 1:24 pm

What would the main character's behavior and personality traits, and motives and stakes influence him to do? Break in? Ask the apartment manager, even offer a bribe? Perhaps the woman has an apartment mate who will let him in. Or he's the kind of person on the kind of mission who doesn't want to leave a trace.

The motive is to get in and search for clues. The W questions are invoked, who, what, when, where, why, and how, especially how. Also, the who potentially contains multiple personas. Not only who in the person of the main character, who else is involved. What will he find that influences how long he has to be there. When does he find the pivotal clue, when does he realize its significance. Where does he find it. Why invokes his motives and stakes. Why does he want no one to know he's been inside the apartment, if he does. Why won't a frontal assault suffice. Why does he need to be covert?
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Preacher
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by Preacher » February 20th, 2011, 1:27 pm

Covert is not a requirement at all. I just need to get him in and have time to search for information. There is no apartment mate so that way will not work. He is not a lock-picking expert so he can not access the apartment that way. Any way that will get him in is fine.

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polymath
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by polymath » February 20th, 2011, 2:02 pm

Any way that develops character and plot and setting, idea and event too, leaves many options. In through the front door, a window, a balcony. Modern building codes require more than one avenue for emergency egress, though many dwellings are grandfathered. A back door, a ground floor window, a fire escape, a balcony or an adjoining corridor or apartment entranceway.

If I wanted to get into someone's apartment without a key, I'd go the path of least resistance. I don't know the main character's mien sufficiently to suggest a particular option. I'm not a lockpick, but know how to force a door quietly. A simple contractor's flat pry bar would force the door jambs of many apartments so that a deadbolt would clear the jamb. Maybe the woman knew she'd be meeting the main character and left him a way in, an unlatched window or balcony door. All he has to do is figure a way to access it, knowing the front door is locked. Or she's absentminded and has a route she takes when she's lost or forgotten her keys. Or she has a hiding place for a spare key.
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Falls Apart
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by Falls Apart » February 20th, 2011, 2:36 pm

I agree with the posts before now; appreciate this as an opportunity to develop your character. In fact, it's kind of an interesting thing to think about for any character . . . hm. Like one of those character development things: if your character had to get into a locked apartment, how would (s)he go about doing it? Interesting :)

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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by GeeGee55 » February 20th, 2011, 3:39 pm

What he decides to do depends upon a lot of things. How does he know where the apartment is? What is the location of the apartment within the larger building? How busy is the street the apartment faces? What is the character of the superintendent of the building? lazy? friendly? suspicious? So, your MC will likely feel his way into the solution and his decisions along the way will let us know who he is. This is just a suggestion: he goes to check out the apartment and notices that she has a cat that, obviously, is not being fed. He approaches the super and tells him his friend is gone for a few days, the MC is supposed to feed the cat for her, and he lost the key she gave him. The guy agrees to help him out and lets him in and leaves him there, giving him lots of time to snoop around. Good luck with finding a solution to your plot dilemma.

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polymath
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by polymath » February 20th, 2011, 4:16 pm

Setting development, a municipal apartment building, urban, suburban, rural. A mother-in-law apartment over a suburban garage. A highrise. A three-or-so-story complex. A run down complex. A state of the art complex. Settings reflect and influence characters.

Plot development, a quick break in and out to avoid detection, some worry of being caught would forward plot momentum by tension development, causation and antagonsim too. A leisurely search wouldn't be quite as dramatic.

Idea, related to theme, a missing sister is a mystery. Thematically, mysteries relate to timely discoveries. Conflict as related to theme, success or failure as a consequence of a discovery.

Character already mentioned.

Event, how does accessing the girl's apartment result in a discovery and a reversal, ideally a setback reversal that uncovers a tidbit of information.
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Preacher
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by Preacher » February 20th, 2011, 4:39 pm

i originally envisioned it as an old, high rise apartment building. The break in is something i wanted to avoid because my character has no skill in picking locks.

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polymath
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by polymath » February 20th, 2011, 5:46 pm

Getting into a highrise apartment without a key is about the most problematic circumstance I can imagine. Coerce someone with a master key or find a hidden spare or drill the locks or get in from an adjacent balcony are about all I can come up with short of more aggressive measures.

Highrise apartment buildings have concrete and steel casement doorways and steel doors for fire protection. They aren't as easily forced as wooden casement doors.

The girl wants him to go to the apartment. Perhaps she tells the main character where her spare is hidden. I think that would be least problematic.
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by Preacher » February 20th, 2011, 5:49 pm

either that or change the apartment that she lives in and not make it a high rise. I could make it an apartment in a two family building or something like that, which i assume would then open up other possibilities like persuading an older super that the cat needs to be fed and he lost his key or something along those lines.

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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by polymath » February 20th, 2011, 6:22 pm

Yeah, a duplex apartment would be less problematic. What's best for SPICE development is what I would ask. If how he gets in is consequential, then it needs to be problematic. If it's not consequential, then how he gets in is immaterial. The previous scene can show him leaving the rooftop and jump transition into the next scene of him searching her apartment.
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Preacher
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by Preacher » February 20th, 2011, 6:25 pm

i would think for the suspense factor it should be problematic. A scene where he needs to do something risky could add suspense, like the possibility of being caught or something like that

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polymath
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by polymath » February 20th, 2011, 6:33 pm

Yeah, a problematic obstacle, a minor obstacle, or an inconsequential obstacle. Problematic obstacles have the highest tension potential, minor obstacles lead escalating tension, inconsequential obstacles aren't germane and best left out altogether.
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Preacher
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Re: I need a plot fix

Post by Preacher » February 20th, 2011, 7:24 pm

i would think a minor obstacle would be the best way to go.

However, the question may be best answered by a brief explanation of events:

The strange woman shows up at the job of my MC, who chases her up to the roof. She teeters on the edge and when someone starts banging on the fire door to get to the roof, she babbles about the sister being alive and needing help, then just before jumping she says "start with me." Then she jumps.

The MC obviously needs to find out who she is. The police come and he wont tell them what she said he will make up some story. Ultimately, how could he proceed to find out who she is and where she lives in order to be able to get inside her apartment. I assume there will be some sort of police investigation, which will provide a problem. So, how would a reasonable person proceed to get the needed information?

What if the woman was carrying her purse and before jumping, right after she says "start with me", she leaves the purse for my main character. He takes the purse, finds her keys there and here apartment address. He goes there and gets caught by a detective there to investigate, and this detective happens to be the same guy who investigated his sister's disappearance. That might make for a good scene.
Last edited by Preacher on February 20th, 2011, 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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