I'm stuck

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Post Reply
User avatar
Mike Dickson
Posts: 104
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

I'm stuck

Post by Mike Dickson » March 9th, 2011, 3:11 pm

I've been working this out in my head and then to paper. I've now found myself stuck without direction.


A man is being hunted by the mob. He holds information that can put many of the mafioso in prison for years. They had been bribing a federal Circuit Court of Appeals judge in exchange for favorable rulings. When the judge refuses to continue, he and his wife mysteriously die in an auto accident. The judge kept records of all the transactions and cases where he had taken bribes as an insurance contract hoping the mob wouldn't kill him. After his death, the mob ransacked the judge's apartment looking for the records to find them missing, taken by the judges only son. With the papers in hand that can take down the mafia family the judge's son is reluctant to bring it to the police as it will destory his father's legacy.

This is where I'm stuck. How can this man go about taking down the mob without destroying his father's legacy? Any idea's?

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by dios4vida » March 9th, 2011, 3:27 pm

Since he has the list of cases, could you send him calling on the victims of the judge's false rulings? Have him gather an "army" of people who've been wronged and build a chain of people in all kinds of different walks of life that together can be something formidable? Maybe one person who should have won the legal case is a celebrity and you need financing for your anti-mafia plot. Guess where you get the money? With enough people and variety in their careers, you can have a lot of room to play.

Good luck!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

User avatar
Beethovenfan
Posts: 322
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 11:45 pm
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Beethovenfan » March 9th, 2011, 4:01 pm

Sounds like good 'ol Dad has screwed himself. But perhaps that's a good thing. Maybe the son can't make his dad out to be a good guy. Instead, make the son coming to terms with his father's misdeeds a subplot to the story. Lots of angst to be written there!
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Margo » March 9th, 2011, 4:16 pm

Have you considered that maybe he shouldn't be able to tie it up that neatly - without damage? That having to make that choice at so great a cost would actually be a pretty compelling conflict for the character?
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Mike Dickson
Posts: 104
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Mike Dickson » March 9th, 2011, 4:35 pm

dios4vida wrote:Since he has the list of cases, could you send him calling on the victims of the judge's false rulings?
Ahh,that is worth something to explore. I wonder if that angle could turn it into a series? He almost brings them down but in the end they slip away.
Beethovenfan wrote:Sounds like good 'ol Dad has screwed himself. But perhaps that's a good thing. Maybe the son can't make his dad out to be a good guy. Instead, make the son coming to terms with his father's misdeeds a subplot to the story. Lots of angst to be written there!
That's a definite possibility. In place of the spray em with a tommy gun mafia book, it would add another element.
Margo wrote:Have you considered that maybe he shouldn't be able to tie it up that neatly - without damage? That having to make that choice at so great a cost would actually be a pretty compelling conflict for the character?
I have considered that, in fact it's the direction most explored at this point. I was thinking he would come close to pulling it off, keeping his father's name clear, but in the end having to make public his father's involvement to bring them down. I would still need an angle to pursue until it all unraveled.
Last edited by Mike Dickson on March 9th, 2011, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Margo » March 9th, 2011, 4:43 pm

Mike Dickson wrote:I was thinking he would come close to pulling it off, keeping his father's name clear, but in the end having to make public his father's involvement to bring them down.
That could make for an interesting struggle, going to extreme lengths to bypass exposing his father and having to do it anyway at the end. All that wasted effort and trouble and all that frustration heaped on top of having to expose his father.

I also like the series idea.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by polymath » March 9th, 2011, 5:01 pm

First, a logical consideration. The judge would either have been under investigation or operating within a wide-spread corrupted criminal justice system. Local and state district attorney's offices, other judges, local and state police, and a state investigation bureau would have to be in on it for the judge to have gotten away with it for a lifetime. The latter doesn't seem logical in today's legal climate, what with journalists making their bones as watchdogs for the public conscience.

Say the judge was operating in a vacuum, and it's widely known he's on the take only no one has been able to pin anything on him. HIs death closes the investigation. The son is still stuck not knowing how to proceed. So he's got the judge's files and filters through them uncovering methods and sources. He could tip his hand to the mob and say he's got dirt on them and wants payolla himself. His life is worth nothing anymore, he knows, but the mob will at least see what he wants. One meeting, one chance to bring them down.

Sow dissension in the ranks in the meantime. From information found in the files, he reveals that Don so-and-so rubbed out Lt. so-and-so's brother over a love squabble. Don so-and-so's counsel skimmed money from his accounts. Don so-and-so has been holding back on his associates' profit shares. And so on. Then let the survivors of the ensuing blood bath know he's got the goods on them for their latest misdeeds and it's going to the police if they don't pay up. The police are waiting when the bad guys come to meet him and take him out. He has a deal with the police though, that they get it all if they keep his father's name from being tarnished. He's got some dirt on the cops too that he lets them know he has just to insure they keep their word.

Keep in mind that the son might believe he does it out of self-sacrificing altruism but he will self-servingly benefit the most from not having a cloud of suspicion over him. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

What then is the son's standing to the scheme of things? A pendng law or journalism school graduate returned home for his parents' funeral, still wearing rose colored glasses? Then his journey is also an internal one, where he learns it's not all black and white. How far he'll go into gray is what he learns as he pursues his agenda. Whether the ends justify the means or the ends never justify the means, for instance.

Crime and legal thrillers invariably invoke poetic justice. The father got away scot-free, albeit dying along with the mother, who could be a stepmother the son isn't particularly close to, might even be a reason the judge went rogue. The son might have to pay the father's karmic debt for a satisfying outcome. Will he pay? Or might he realize he's got to tell all about his father to cleanse his conscience?
Spread the love of written word.

User avatar
Mike Dickson
Posts: 104
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Mike Dickson » March 9th, 2011, 5:28 pm

polymath wrote:First, a logical consideration. The judge would either have been under investigation
Yes, he was under investigation, however the evidence had yet to be fully realized before his death.
polymath wrote:First, a logical consideration. The judge would either have been under investigation or operating within a wide-spread corrupted criminal justice system. Local and state district attorney's offices, other judges, local and state police, and a state investigation bureau would have to be in on it for the judge to have gotten away with it for a lifetime.
He was originally a district court judge. That's when he first excepted a bribe giving up the name of a federal informant or jury pool or something like that. He was appointed by the President to the appellate court and started to call it quits.
polymath wrote: Don so-and-so's counsel skimmed money from his accounts. Don so-and-so has been holding back on his associates' profit shares. And so on. Then let the survivors of the ensuing blood bath know he's got the goods on them for their latest misdeeds and it's going to the police if they don't pay up. The police are waiting when the bad guys come to meet him and take him out. He has a deal with the police though, that they get it all if they keep his father's name from being tarnished. He's got some dirt on the cops too that he lets them know he has just to insure they keep their word.
I like how you think Polymath.
Crooked councel, crooked cops, dead mob, pay off the cops and walk away.
polymath wrote:Keep in mind that the son might believe he does it out of self-sacrificing altruism but he will self-servingly benefit the most from not having a cloud of suspicion over him. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Ha ha, that's awesome.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by polymath » March 9th, 2011, 5:47 pm

Being an avoidant person by nature, I've been on the periphery of a lot of nefarious doings. I drove a cab for a while in a small city. I knew who was who and what was what but kept my mouth shut. A foray into the corporate world was just as enlightening. As well as forays into underworld and law enforcement and civic and municipal arenas and . . . and . . . Oh, the true stories I could tell if I had a secure sanctuary (like the sanctuary of fictional accounts, say). It's a gray world of far reaching corruption tendrils and contentious personal and systemic adversarialism most of the masses are unaware of and don't want to be out of concern their concerns might bring unwanted scrutiny for their comparatively trivial misdoings or horrify them with how really precarious civilization truly is.
Spread the love of written word.

User avatar
Mike Dickson
Posts: 104
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Mike Dickson » March 9th, 2011, 7:55 pm

Sounds like you need to bust out some more novels Polymath. Taxi cab driver in a small town? Oh the stories I could weave with just that thought. Throw in a small town banker mixed in with the underworld and you have yourself a good beginning. Pick your posion, the taxi cab driver has the goods on everyone.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by polymath » March 9th, 2011, 8:17 pm

Too much material and too many choices. So I'm narrowing the possibilities. One thing is no preaching. Readers don't want to have their noses rubbed in it.
Spread the love of written word.

distractedwriting
Posts: 2
Joined: March 9th, 2011, 10:36 pm
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by distractedwriting » March 9th, 2011, 10:47 pm

It seems to me that the thug mafioso should be pushing the son. Or a theft may be in order.

Wait a second, what kind of paperwork would exist? Receipts? Evidence? I don't know why anyone would keep that. The mob isn't killing him because they have a judge in their pocket.

User avatar
Mike Dickson
Posts: 104
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Mike Dickson » March 10th, 2011, 8:00 am

distractedwriting wrote: Wait a second, what kind of paperwork would exist? Receipts? Evidence? I don't know why anyone would keep that. The mob isn't killing him because they have a judge in their pocket.
The paperwork that exists are the informants names (they probably got rubbed out) and jury pool names the judge released. Maybe a case or two while the judge was in the appelete courts he had reversed the district court verdicts too. The judge kept the paperwork for insurance against his life. If they kill him, the papers are released, and all the trials that were comprimised are back on. Not to mention new murder charges and jury tampering.

User avatar
Mike Dickson
Posts: 104
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 2:37 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by Mike Dickson » March 10th, 2011, 8:36 am

polymath wrote:Too much material and too many choices. So I'm narrowing the possibilities. One thing is no preaching. Readers don't want to have their noses rubbed in it.
I got it. I was at the bookstore yesterday looking for a writer's vocabulary book. I was looking for a book that's taken all the descriptive words writer's have used in the past, and placed it in a book. There was none.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: I'm stuck

Post by polymath » March 10th, 2011, 10:48 am

I've considered compiling a writer's lexicon, a comprehesive vocabulary with definitions and a general narrative theory. I envision a pocket book with a stiff cloth cover, well-worn, tucked into artsy back pockets. However, it might need to be a book-case spanning enclyopedia or a doorstop brick. I'm still exploring the potentialities.
Spread the love of written word.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests