How to Write a Fainting Scene For a Novel


Part One

1.  Where are they and what’s causing them to faint?

»A. Are they on a safe place? Is this something good or bad that happened? Who is there with them?

I. How are their surroundings? Are they in public or private? How is the weather, the atmosphere and its feel, and is the character feeling comfortable; at ease? Imagine that in one moment, all of their energy is drained out of them and they collapse.
II. Did they win something? Did they lose something? Why is this important to them? Why would fainting be the action that is the cause? In other words, why will they react this way? Give history into why the reason is important

»B. Is this something uncontrollable? Is it real fainting or acting? Is this out of character or is this something that usually do?

I. Is it in their control? Are they trying to gain someone’s attention? Is it done at random? Do they know why it’s happening? Or is it something that happened out of the blue that was done to them by someone else?
II.  Are they in a conversation with another person? Have a brief moment of shock or panic before they pass out. As they’re fainting, them may fight it and try not to faint. It’s interesting to see a character resist what’s happening before it happens.

Symptoms and signs include: pain in the chest, lightheaded, and feeling queasy. Maybe their hearing a rushing sound, feeling dizzy, and seeing spots, hot, confused, things out of focus, odd noises, or blurring vision.Possible flashing from darkness to reality. Eyes droopy and can’t hold balance, seeing friends mouths moving but not being able to make out what they are saying.  Someone may see dark spots starting from the outer corners of their eyes and gradually growing.

Start with the character feeling those things then them describing how it occurs too quickly to stop.


–It happened. My heart raced as my chest tightened; it felt as if the center of my head — right behind my nasal cavity — was being pulled. A sound roared through me as my knees buckled, and what looked like black clouds pressed their way into my vision.

Part Two

2. What time is it and how serious does it look?

»A. Is it during the day or during the night? Did they go down too quickly, easily, or into someone’s arms?

I. Do they end up going to sleep afterward? Do they fall into a coma?
II. Are they sweating? Do they randomly roll over or start to shout as if having a bad dream? Are they completely unconscious?

»B. Are they on the deadline? Is there rushing or events going on that they can’t stop to attend to the character?

I. Are they in a big crowd? Are they on an adventure? Did someone tell them they love them? Whatever the case may be, use those emotions and how they will impact the character to the core.

Part Three

    3. What did they just see? What was the last thing they said before they fainted or while they’re fainting? What happens afterward or during the faint?

»A. Why was this seen important to them? So much so that it made them faint?

I. What relevance does this have to the story? How will this later and Pat the character and the thing they saw? How does fainting affect the current situation? Was it too dramatic for the situation or the correct reaction?
II. Can they still do anything while fainting? Such as, worry others… hear what other people are saying… but remember fainting doesn’t always mean going unconscious. If they are lucky enough to be unconscious, then they won’t remember a thing. A lot of people don’t quite make that and have delusions. Eyes open and unfocused produces white, and the delusions can make a person think you have met god. Although very rare, those that stay fully conscious will come back terrified.

»B. Is anything damaged? What about on the character or inside the character? Are they alone in fainting? In other words who else is affected?

I. Has anyone painted with them? Do people try to throw water on the character? People yell at the character, shake the character for them to wake up?
II. What is a conversation going on after the same thing happens? Maybe there is no conversation, everyone’s too shocked? There needs to be an action or reaction to what just happened. Keep in mind those characters who are the closest to that character and keep in mind those who do not understand or know for sure if the character fainted. It’s possible they think the character just died.

Part Four

4. How are their emotions? How are the physical appearance and signs? What tools and resources do they have at their side? Is it lasting a long time?

»A. What is preventing them from getting back up? How long are they down for? Have they lost the color due to filling weak?

I.  Please describe the clock, or the time and how it’s ticking down. How the characters are constantly looking at their watches, or asking for the time, or how they feel like they don’t have enough time. Especially if the group is in a rush or if the main character has health problems and needs to get to the emergency room ASAP.
II. Describe the surroundings and how the character that is unconscious and have fainted is being transferred to a different area. How do they carry the character? Is it very carefully or without care? If so, why do they not try to be slower and more careful? This is where time can come into play. If the group does not have time then they may have to rush the fainted character to a safe location. However, another example would be if they intended for the character to faint and they only have a limited amount of time before the character wakes up. The they must do what they need to do before the character wakes up.

»B. Any emergency people? Does anyone know how to handle someone who has fainted? How worried are these people?

I. Do they go about their day like it’s no big deal? Do they let the character just “faint it out” so to speak? Or is there one person calling 911, another person fanning the fainted character with a book to give them air, another character walking around in circles freaking out, and another character just sitting down relaxing like they seen it all before. This also depends on their personality types, and again, how close they are to the fainted character.

Part Five

5. What happens when the character wakes up? What have they missed? How are they doing physically and emotionally?

»A. What are they saying, what are they feeling, who or what are they looking for when they first wake up?

I.  Do they feel rested? Are they upset about missing out on something? Are they surprised at where they are? Are they mad at anyone? Do they have the right to be mad at that person?
II. Then waking up with a splitting headache, blindingly bright light, and confusion.

»B. Are they healthy? Are they weaker than before they fainted? Do they have a strong heart or has it weakened from the faint or from the reason they fainted?

I.When you pass out you don’t remember anything. It can happen in seconds. The character could wake up on the floor disoriented, since the memory of how they got on the floor may be affected and it may be hard to understand what just happened.


II. Perhaps, everything turns out fine and the character and the people there are all okay. Maybe they know not what to do next time so that this won’t happen again. And if they fully lose consciousness, it will be like waking up from a nap.

III. Or, has fainting turn into something else? Has it turned into death, or a coma?


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2 thoughts on “How to Write a Fainting Scene For a Novel

  1. I’m rather disappointed this doesn’t work. I was looking forward to using the results in my book, but I guess that’s a negatory.

    I would buy you all a coffee for every “how to write a…” that I use for my book if you can get this to work. Please.

    Thank you

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