- Build tension: The first step in creating an escape scene is to build tension. You want your reader to feel the urgency and danger of the situation. Use short, choppy sentences and vivid language to create a sense of urgency and danger.
- Create obstacles: In an escape scene, there should be obstacles that the character must overcome to successfully escape. These obstacles can be physical barriers, such as locked doors or windows, or they can be people, such as guards or pursuers.
- Add conflict: Conflict is an essential element of any good story, and an escape scene is no exception. Create conflicts between the character and their pursuers or between the character and the environment.
- Use sensory details: Sensory details help the reader to fully immerse themselves in the scene. Use details such as the sound of footsteps, the smell of sweat or fear, or the feeling of rough walls or uneven ground.
- Show the character’s emotions: In an escape scene, the character is likely to experience a range of emotions, including fear, desperation, and adrenaline. Show the character’s emotions through their actions and dialogue.
- Make it believable: While an escape scene can be thrilling, it must also be believable. Make sure that the character’s actions and decisions make sense and are consistent with their character.
- End with a resolution: The escape scene should have a clear resolution. The character should successfully escape or be caught, and the consequences of their actions should be clear.
Establish the stakes
Before you even begin writing your escape scene, it’s essential to establish the stakes. What is at risk if the character doesn’t escape? What are the consequences of failure? By making it clear to the reader what is at stake, you create tension and urgency that will propel the reader through the scene.
For example, if the character is trying to escape from a maximum-security prison, the stakes might be life and death. If they fail, they could be executed, or they could spend the rest of their life in prison. On the other hand, if the character is trying to escape from a kidnapper, the stakes might be their freedom or their safety. Whatever the stakes are, make sure they are clear and significant.
Once you’ve established the stakes, the next step is to create obstacles for your character to overcome. These obstacles can be physical barriers, such as locked doors or walls, or they can be human obstacles, such as guards or pursuers. The more obstacles you put in the character’s way, the more challenging and exciting the escape scene will be.
It’s also essential to vary the obstacles and create a sense of escalation. For example, if the character starts by picking a lock to escape a room, the next obstacle could be avoiding a guard in the hallway, then climbing out of a window, and finally, outrunning a pursuing car. Each obstacle should be more difficult than the last, increasing the tension and creating a sense of danger.
Use sensory details
To make your escape scene vivid and engaging, it’s important to use sensory details. By describing what the character sees, hears, smells, feels, and even tastes, you can immerse the reader in the scene and make it feel more real.
For example, if the character is running through a crowded market, describe the smells of spices and food, the sounds of vendors shouting, and the feel of the hot sun on their skin. By using sensory details, you can make the reader feel like they are right there with the character, experiencing the escape alongside them.
Use short, punchy sentences
Escape scenes are all about action and urgency, and the best way to convey that is through short, punchy sentences. By using short sentences, you can create a sense of momentum and speed, which will make the scene more exciting.
For example, instead of writing “The character ran through the dark alley, dodging garbage cans and broken glass,” write “Dodging, weaving, running. The alley was dark, the way unclear.”
By using short, punchy sentences, you can create a sense of urgency and excitement that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
Finally, to make your escape scene truly memorable, consider using cliffhangers. A cliffhanger is a moment of suspense or uncertainty that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next. By using cliffhangers throughout your escape scene, you can keep the reader engaged and excited.
For example, you could end a chapter with the character trapped in a locked room with no way out. Or you could end a section with the character hanging precariously from a ledge, unsure if they will be able to pull themselves up. By using cliffhangers, you can create a sense of tension and anticipation that will keep the reader turning the pages.