How to Write Escape Scenes

Monday, February 1



I don't know about you, but my characters always seem to get captured. Which is fine. The only problem is that you have to eventually get them out of trouble. There're three ways your characters can escape; Action, Planning, and Outside Help


Action
This type of escape scene usually happens on the spur of the moment.

The character either has a chance for escape that he can't pass up (noticing that the guard is not only fast asleep but that they also left the keys within reach), or the character is forced into action (They'll be executed in the morning.)

Either way, the character makes things up as they go along. They have next to no plan and must rely on their strength, their cunning, and dumb luck to see them through the ordeal.


Planning
In this case, the character has been meticulously planning his escape for some time. (Think The Count of Monte Cristo.)

They might have been gathering resources, possibly befriending the guards, slowly digging an escape tunnel, or mapping out their prison.
Your character has a set date on which to make their escape.

But keep in mind that NO PLAN EVER SHOULD WORK PERFECTLY.
For example; if their plan is to knock out the guard and then run out the castle via the kitchen exit, have their way stopped by someone. Have the guard wake up at the last minute and raise the alarm. Make them change directions and plans.

At this point, we start veering toward an action escape. (It's okay to mix the two together.)


Outside Help
This technically should fall under planning, but I think it's noteworthy enough for its own blurb.

In this scenario, the character has somehow made contact with someone outside the prison. They agree to help him get out. The two plan together and set a date. This plan of course, is thwarted at the last minute.

There can also be outside help without the rescuer and prisoner ever meeting. Someone could just show up and rescue them.
But this form of escape desperately needs a motive.
Why do they help them out? Are they a friend of the family? Do they rescue them because they're the heir to the throne? What does the rescuer get out of it?

Picture by darkness-in-the-lens.deviantart.com

3 comment(s):

Marian Monday, February 01, 2010  

I have an escape scene coming up in my story; it's an "action" escape, but I'm afraid I've made it too easy for the guy who's escaping. :P

Anonymous,  Saturday, September 10, 2011  

my character is just a small child escaping to ind his father and the escape I've made seems unrealistic, is that a bad thing?

Anonymous,  Monday, April 21, 2014  

Thanks that was helpful! :-)

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