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tinamwriter
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎05-17-2007
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Plot Structure?

I have a great story, but....
I can't decide if it should be strictly a mystery detective. Girl is looking for truth behind a cold case, but finds love on the way, twist at the end.
Or girl meets cop and together they find love and oh, by the way they solve a cold case and find she was adopted and her father was involved?
What questions do I need to ask myself to decide which way to take this story? I have written it in real time (1950's era of Organized Crime bosses) and it was okay but had a boring ending. It was written true to life and there was no satisfaction, just truth.
I am almost bored with the story as I have done it im my mind so many times.
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ChristineM
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Re: Plot Structure?

At this point you need to address what appeals to you most, the mystery or the romance. The story I'm working on is more focused on the romance with the mystery thrown in as something that keeps them together. If someone wasn't trying to kill Gail or if they could figure out why someone is trying to kill her, Mac could just go home. Since Mac wants to protect her and figure out what's going on, he stays. Is your girl working with the cop because she needs him for info or does she need him for emotional reasons? What about the cop? Is he following a lead or is he protecting her or supporting her somehow?

The boring ending could be a killer too. If you get one book published, you won't get a second because you'll have booksellers saying "I read her first one and it was ok. A little boring." Primacy effect will work against you. They won't remember the exciting climax with the explosions and the car chase and that emotional revelation, they'll remember the boring end. Can you move the climax closer to the end?

That 50's time period might be a problem for you too. Romances are either modern or historical starting at the turn of the century. Some have moved a little beyond that but most stick to that 1900 deadline. The mob thing I'm bad for because I grew up in the probably the last mob war so the romance of those guys is lost on me.

I hope this helps. If you have more specific questions, I'm sure we'll make a stab at answering them.
Contributor
tinamwriter
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎05-17-2007
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Re: Plot Structure?

I think I will just put the story in the folder. It was a true to life mystery and set in the NW. Maybe it is only interesting to me because I spent so much time researching it. I can't move it into present day. I did move it into the 80's with a family connection, but I can't use that line in present day. There would be that question of DNA and all that stuff that wasn't available then. Thanks.
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lavenderlass
Posts: 270
Registered: ‎01-02-2007
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Re: Plot Structure?

Hi Tina, I found I had a trouble with real life stories and had to turn full circle on them. At first I used to get peeved that my favourite detective story, Morse (don't know if you had that in the states, I'm in the uk) although beautifully crafted in all sorts of ways wasn't true to life in one particlar way, that is, any suspects were rarely taken into the police station for questioning, but were questioned at home, or wherever they were. When I began writing, as an ex-social worker I decided the stories I'd write would be true to life. But I later found out the trouble with that is that it made some scenes boring. So taking suspects into the station in my detective stories would have been boring too, because it would slow down the pace and police stations are a much more boring backdrop than houses. So now I've learnt to dramatise a bit more and still keep to as much realism as possible.

Hope that helps, Lynne.
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ChristineM
Posts: 260
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Re: Plot Structure?

Baseing your story too closely on something that really happened could be dangerous too. Especially if it was something publicized. If I pubished a story that featured a corrupt congressman with a bad toupee somebody is going to figure out that it's Jim Traficant (and I swear he looked like a hedgehog before the toupee.)

This other problem, like Lynne mentioned, is that real life is boring. I've been watching Veronica Mars lately and admiring the fact that they manage to get into long stake outs and lengthy research sessions without getting dull. Of course, in the first episode she was raped and they failed to do a rape kit which leaves me yelling at the tv every time.

You might want to take your research into the real incident and borrow liberally while resetting into modern day. After a while the story will grow it's own legs and change enough to be more exciting and less docudrama.
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