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Is there anything I can do about this plot hole?

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  #1  
Old 01-01-2016, 01:03 AM
ironpony (Offline)
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Default Is there anything I can do about this plot hole?


My story is a crime thriller, where the villain is caught by having his cellphone tapped. The police arrange for him to panic and have him call his accomplices out of emergency, and he and the accomplice discuss what to do about their crime, which has gone wrong.

They cannot meet in person because they all do not have time, and have to talk about it right away.

However, there is no emergency that sends them into a panic. It's all a police sting operation set up, so that the gang will call each other and incriminate themselves, while talking to each other over the phone.

However, I am told this is a plot hole, because criminals would not talk over the phone about their crimes because it makes them look stupid. They get away with crimes for so long, that that makes them too smart to talk about them over the phone.

But is their a way I can write it so that the reader believes it?

Like for example in Breaking Bad, Walter White is constantly talking about criminal activity over the phone, with his criminal associates. Like there was one episode where they talked about a production shortage in his drug product, and he is talking about that over the phone. There is also another episode, where the police are going to arrest one of his associates, so Walt calls him to warn him to get out of town, knowing full well, that the man is under investigation.

Later in the show Walter talks on the cellphone, and he doesn't know that his own conversation is being recorded.

The movie The Departed did this as well, with criminals constantly talking over the phone about their activity, and in the end, it turns out it was recorded.

Is it possible to write my story like this where the reader will not think of it as a plot hole?


Last edited by ironpony; 01-01-2016 at 01:06 AM..
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2016, 06:20 AM
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People are swallowing Star Wars Light Sabers not because they ken the tech but because they are transported from a questioning of the possibility by the story.

Short Form: Write like your hair is on fire.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:23 AM
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Most of my criminal activity is talked about on prepaid throw-away cel phones. Every time one runs out, I post the new number to a website in code. My associates do the same. This is an old school solution 'cause we're all old criminals; the kids have a lot of newer ways to accomplish the deed.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:04 AM
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Okay thanks. I know what you mean, but I was told it's still a plot hole cause pre-paid phones can be listened in on as well.
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  #5  
Old 01-02-2016, 04:04 AM
Binx B
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Nick's right.

There are lots of plot holes in Breaking Bad. No one cares because the story and the characters are so good, and most people are more than willing to suspend disbelief, that is if they even notice them.

Of course, you have to consider the implausibilities, but if you need to include one to service the story overall, and the writing is good enough, it won't be a deal breaker.

The ability to make those decisions is just another facet of writing talent. And none of us can tell you what to do because we haven't read your story.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Binx B View Post
Nick's right.

There are lots of plot holes in Breaking Bad. No one cares because the story and the characters are so good, and most people are more than willing to suspend disbelief, that is if they even notice them.

Of course, you have to consider the implausibilities, but if you need to include one to service the story overall, and the writing is good enough, it won't be a deal breaker.

The ability to make those decisions is just another facet of writing talent. And none of us can tell you what to do because we haven't read your story.
And, to put a fine point on it, writing as if your toupee is on fire ain't gonna produce comparable results.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:42 AM
Binx B
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I'm blessed with a full head of hair, so that wouldn't be an option anyway.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Binx B View Post
I'm blessed with a full head of hair, so that wouldn't be an option anyway.

I was manely thinking of a pony.

But as I iron out that wrinkle I wonder if I have positioned myself for a kick in the head.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:12 AM
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Just because they listen in doesn't mean they have to understand:

"Yeah, man this fine ass girl's coming over tonight. She's like an 8."

Translation:
"I need an eightball of cocaine delivered to my house."

Looking for reality in fiction is pedantic bullshit. Always think about Coleridge: "The willing suspense of disbelief." As long as it's good no one cares.
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
As long as it's good no one cares.
Hey, waddya know, the truth looks kinda cute without the varnish.
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  #11  
Old 01-02-2016, 06:50 AM
Binx B
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I don't know how cute it is, but if three people (at least) are telling you the same thing, then you might want to pay attention to it.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:53 PM
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Okay thanks for the input. Well so far I think only one reader point that plot hole out so maybe it's not as big of a deal so far.

Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
Just because they listen in doesn't mean they have to understand:

"Yeah, man this fine ass girl's coming over tonight. She's like an 8."

Translation:
"I need an eightball of cocaine delivered to my house."

Looking for reality in fiction is pedantic bullshit. Always think about Coleridge: "The willing suspense of disbelief." As long as it's good no one cares.
I can't have them talk in code though, because I want them to be caught, or I want the villain's to lose. If they speak in code, it cannot hold up in court.

Last edited by ironpony; 01-02-2016 at 11:07 PM..
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  #13  
Old 01-03-2016, 04:59 AM
Binx B
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Simply have law enforcement find a cheat sheet for the code in the possession of one of your criminals, maybe something physical they find with a search warrant or something on a hard drive -- it allows them to decode the legally wiretapped conversations.

*sits back and waits for reason why that can't work.*
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:28 AM
ironpony (Offline)
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Okay thanks, that's interesting. But the problem with that is, would the crooks be dumb enough to keep a cheat sheet on hand, that the cops could find?

Wouldn't it be more believable to the reader if the crooks just had a memorize only policy, so nothing was written down?

I don't think a cheat sheet would hold up in court either though, because the defendant's lawyer could argue that the people on the phone were having a conversation that had nothing to do with the cheat sheet. Like if they were talking dirty over the phone for example, it could be argued that they were actually talking dirty, and there is no way of knowing if it was a truly in code or not.

I don't think that the cheat sheet would be enough.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:11 AM
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Talking doesn't get someone in trouble- actions do. I'm presuming they get caught for doing something and not talking about it. If the cops break the code, and I doubt the criminals can think of a code that can't be broken by trained professionals (Code breaking is a field of study), and they have reasonable suspicion they can get a warrant to catch them in the act.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:30 AM
Binx B
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Obviously, the cheat sheet wouldn't be "on hand." It would be concealed somewhere they thought no one would find it, either physically or digitally.

And what makes a wire tap useful is the conversation matches up to actual criminal activity. So you would just have to show how the crimes align with the decoded conversation.

Even very smart criminals make mistakes, and sometimes the cops simply stumble on things unexpectedly. Put the two together, and you can wind up with something incriminating. Keep in mind too, that the cops are not obligated to tell a suspect what they find during a search.

Otherwise, how does just about every crime story end? The cops eventually outwit the criminals, often by catching one small error. The same thing often happens in real life too, because criminals are seldom as smart as they think they are. On top of that, not everyone in a criminal organization is a mastermind. There is always a weak link.

Come on man, think harder about how and why these kinds of stories work and use your imagination.

Last edited by Binx B; 01-04-2016 at 06:07 AM..
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:11 AM
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Alright there's a real world solution, sorry if it's been said but I didn't have time to read all the replies.

Criminals talk on cells call burners. They have no identifying personal information on the accounts as they're pay as you go. Used for a few weeks, the numbers sparingly given out if at all. They where believed to be safe because the theory was they'd be down before they could be wire tapped. If they where used commonly it was in code. You asked for loaves of bread instead of kilos of drugs. Sure you understand.

Now in an emergency codes break down fast. People want information and want it now. Now here's the fun part. Cops have machines that can intercept cell phone calls. Courts have allowed for warrants to wiretap a person, instead of a number. So you can have your criminals break out emergency phones while one member is under surveillance and have him give them the entire network. With one guy under a all phones warrant (not what they call it) and some cool toys the cops can get the entire conversation.

If the criminals thought they where safe by using a set of phones that had never been used, and would be destroyed immediately they might use them. Now as a one time conversation you'd have to work around that. Someone uses a regular phone to call the regular phones and break out the emergency ones. The network is believed safe as a one shot use. Mention that they have real phones, "work" phones and these emergency phones. Oh and you could just have them change existing sim cards over in the phones.
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:42 AM
Binx B
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Originally Posted by John Marks View Post
Now in an emergency codes break down fast. People want information and want it now.
Not if there isn't an emergency.

It's fiction you don't actually have to plan for every contingency. If you don't write it into the story, it doesn't matter.
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:59 PM
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I can write it so that the code breaks down, and gets them caught easier maybe. However, I am wondering if this whole being fooled by talking over the phone would work.

The police have already attempted to sting to the villains before in the story, so would the villain's fall for a second sting? I wonder, cause their guard would be more up, and if they feel for a second one, it will make them look stupid, perhaps.
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:48 PM
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Here's an easier solution, if the cops got them once they're onto to them at some level. Have the cops do a search warrant on somewhere. The guys go active on the emergency network to see if there's anything left there for them to find in a moment of panic. The cops get the network due to a targeted person and record everything.

How important the warrant is up to you. I could be somewhere that was used for a crime, it could be a member's house, it could be a major stash and the guys have to run through if the cops can connect it to them.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:31 AM
ironpony (Offline)
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Okay thanks. This is how I wrote it sort of actually, the villains are sent into a panic and go to save their stash from being found.

But I was told by reader that it's a plot hole, because if they knew their stash was under surveillance, they wouldn't go near it, because then that incriminates them, right?
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:42 AM
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Probably. But it could if they knew they where targeted and trying to get rid of the stash as it's evidence if not the crime. And if you write it so that the warrant isn't at the stash. Imagine if the cops raided where the stash was suppose to go. Or if they searched the houses of the people suppose to transport it. This could be a guess by the cops looking for it.

You havn't told us what the stash is. It's possible the stash could be more trouble if it's not found. Cops might arrest them for a drug stash, but the mob boss who owns it might kill them horrifically if they don't get it. A dozen smuggled immigrants is a crime, a dozen dead bodies is a life sentence if they died of thirst chained in a box.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:40 PM
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Basically the gang is responsible for a series of kidnappings, and the stash is the equipment used in the kidnappings.

I was told that they didn't buy that they would go to get rid of it, if they knew the cops were after them, and instead they would just not touch it.

I think part of the problem with writing this, might be that the gang has to fall for a second trap. The police fail in their first trap, in the second act, but now they have to fall for one in the third act in order to go down.

But when the gang has already fallen for the first trap, it's difficult to write them falling for the second, without making them look stupid, since they were not fooled successfully the first time.

Last edited by ironpony; 01-07-2016 at 04:56 PM..
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:14 AM
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no hole
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:14 AM
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Read some old good stuff about legends of criminal. The forgotten old can be a good background for really great new story.
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:22 AM
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I think that Binx B pretty much nailed it.
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