Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The scene I will never write

When you write crime fiction, there are certain conventions and expectations that come with the genre,along with a whole series of scenes that different authors play with according to their needs. There are some scenes, though, that just don't work, yet we see them over and over and over again.

The scene I'm thinking of in particular is the one where a person (usually a woman) is grabbed and thrown into a car trunk--feet bound, hands cuffed, mouth gagged. Okay, so far, so good. It looks bad for that character and there's clearly something nasty waiting at the end of the journey. The character in the trunk knows that and is struggling to free him or herself. But when the car comes to a stop and the trunk is popped, there s/he is, feet bound, mouth gagged, and hands cuffed IN THE FRONT.

What? I have never found myself in this situation but I don't understand how a desperate character wouldn't manage to tear off the tape, or pull out the scarf. It'd be another thing if your hands were secured behind your back but all cuffing them in front does is limit your range of motion. You can reach up and remove a gag; you can reach down and untie your feet.

If one of my characters ever gets tossed in a trunk, he or she is going to come out of that trunk kicking and screaming.


  1. Good point. This happens in TV all the time too.

  2. What set me off was a scene in the otherwise excellent Gutshot Straight (by Lou Berney--a little Elmore Leonard mixed with a lot of Tarantino). the girl in question was a tough chick, a little con woman, and I just didn't buy it. And Chris, you're right. We see it ALL the time.