How to Write a Kidnap Scene


Part One

  1. From whose point of view is the scene? Put yourself in the character’s place and write what they are experiencing.

    »A.What do you want the reader to experience when reading the scene?

I.  Firstly, what kind of person is your character? What would their personality permit them to do? How would they react?

II.    Detail in advance who your character is. Are they young? Do they have any disabilities or weakness that can prevent them from fighting back?

III.    Next, where is this scene being located? A house would probably have to be broken into. So, is the character alone? What about if the scene is in public? Who is watching? Nowadays people are recording everything on their cell phones. Make sure to state whether there are witnesses or not.

Example 1:  

Usually Kayla is tough and let’s no one take her down, however, this day was different. Fear controlled her like nothing else; it kept her quiet and hopeless.

“I can’t believe this is happening!” she said as her and Marsha sat on the couch. Unlike Marsha, Kayla was very beautiful… at least that was what all the suitors in town said. She had dark brown hair, a model-type body and a smile to die for. Kayla had always been a lucky girl, but hadn’t many friends due to constant jealousy. Marsha was the only one who was willing to walk side by side next to Kayla. Honestly, all the women believe it to be a death sentence — men would trample over Marsha sometimes in order to get to Kayla, even ignore her complete or use her just so they could see Kayla. Marsha, however, Marsha coped with the whole ordeal, knowing full well that none of it was Kayla’s fault entirely. At least, that’s what she told herself. Besides, Kayla needed Marsha just in case someone did something stupid, she could fight them.

“Listen, Kay,” Marsha said when getting up from the couch. “I’m going to bed. It’s getting late and you need your beauty sleep.”

Kayla sighed. “You’re right. Okay, give me a hug first.” The two girls hugged one another before heading to bed. Marsha went upstairs to her room. Kayla stayed downstairs on the comfy couch, alone, and in the dark.


    »B.Who is doing the kidnapping?

I.   Is it someone he/she knows, or a complete stranger?

II.   How do the kidnappers look like/act like? Do they wear a mask and black leather gloves? Or average clothes?

III.   Why are they kidnapping the character? Does he/she plan on asking for ransom? Do they plan on raping the character? Killing them?

IV.    Talk about the speed at which this who scene is happening. Emphasis the worry and nerves of the kidnapper too. A great way to do this is by stating that they are sweating, breathing hard, rambling, or just “shushing” the victim.

Example 2:  

Soon, when midnight arrived so quickly like a thief in the night, Kayla heard a loud noise that woke her up. At first, she assumed it was Marsha going to the kitchen for something to eat, however that wasn’t the case. After a few more unusual sounds, Kayla got up from the couch and went to the kitchen to see what was going on.

“Michael?” Kayla said in shock. The man had a rope in one hand and a bag in the other. “What are you doing here and dressed like that?”

“I come to take you away with me. I can’t go to England without you.” Michael said wit a evil gleam in his eyes.

“What are you talking about?” Kayla took a step back, looking at the get-up Michael wore. He was in a black suit and tie and wearing matching gloves.

“Listen to me,” Michael said abruptly, “Tom stole you from me. You and I were supposed to be together. Not the two of you. DO you understand me? Answer me, damn it!”

But Kayla couldn’t; she had peed on herself and her night gown revealed the stain. Kayla wanted to move, except her feet wouldn’t carry her. Michael was her violent ex-boyfriend, and she thought he was locked up in prison by now, but apparently escaped and hunted her down.

“What are you going to do to me,” Kayla had found the strength to speak up. She didn’t know how long she’d be able to keep it up.

“I just want you all to myself, Kayla, baby.” Michael was coming closer. “If I can’t have you, then no one can!”

Kayla’s breathing became heavier, her thoughts were clouded with the unknown; what would this psycho do to her this time. Last time her raped her…. and what did he mean by ‘If I can’t have you, then no one can’?



Part Two

  1. Place the focus on the will to escape, dreams and thoughts your character is having about getting free.

    »A.Try inserting yourself in their place.

I.     Now, describe physical things (for your character) such as nerves, common signs such as biting of lips sweating, goose bumps on a person’s skin, the fear of being caught.

II.     Depending on if your character is smart, they could manipulate the kidnappers and pretend to go along with their plan and/or pretend to be knocked out until an opportunity comes for them to fight back.

Example 3:  

Michael, being the strong, overpowering man that he was, lunged after Kayla and throw the bag over her head, then tied the rope around her head.

The girl was weak, she knew not to fight this man— she’ll lose for certain if she did. The only thing she could do was sweat, from her armpits, her forehead, all over her body.


    »B.What tools and techniques does the kidnapper use? The scene should be in accordance with what kind of kidnappers (thugs, mastermind) you are describing. Keep in mind, thugs won’t plan a perfect abduction like a cold, calculating criminal.

I.   Gagged, tied, put in a body bag.

II.      Add if the character is blindfolded and if they try struggling to get away but ends up tripping instead and is pushed roughly back onto his/her feet.

III.    Chloroform tends to knock out a person. If the victim is old, too young, not well built then chloroform works faster.

IV.       Tape over mouth is common to stop the victim from screaming, especially duct tape.

V.      Drugging food or beverages is a sly way a kidnapper can be anonymous.

VI.        If the victim seems to able to fight back then the kidnapper might use melee to soften them and then use whatever means like drugs, chemicals etc.

Example 4:   (No Example Added- but you can add one for your scene)


Part Three

  1. Is anyone contacted?
  2. »A.Depending on why you want to write this scene, you must think about the loved ones.

I.   Most likely the victim doesn’t have any way of contacting their loved ones. Therefore, the kidnapper holds the most control in this situation. The victim can try to convince the kidnapper to call their parents and tell them they are okay. In movies this happens quite often, however that’s when bribes are made as well.


II. If they aren’t allowed to contact their loved ones, then the victim stays quiet and refuses to talk to anyone until they can have something that goes their way. But, this is only if torture isn’t involved.  Otherwise, the victim will most likely open their mouth and start to talk. Remember, though, they can lie. If this whole thing is about money, they can lie.


III.    Add another threat to heighten the stakes. Does the kidnapper tell the victim that they also have their parents? Or maybe if they tell them all the information they need, they’ll let the character go free? If they keep silent they’ll die? In other words, what is the next dilemma? Yes, they are kidnapped, but then what. What makes this whole ordeal that much dangerous?

Example 5:  

He carried her to his car and threw her in the truck with ease. Michael drove all the way to a lake, took Kayla out of the car and laid her on the cold, hard, ground with the bag still tied over her head.

“Take me back Kayla,” he said with thunder in his voice. “Do it or you’ll regret it.”

There was silence.

“Answer me, answer me please, baby,” Michael kneeled down and hugged Kayla. Something like metal his her head. From that moment she knew what was going to happen to her; Michael was going to kill her. Thinking in hushed tones, Kayla tried to convince herself to speak up if she wanted to survive, though nothing worked; her voice had gone entirely.

“Fine. Maybe you’ll like it if I call your fiancé.”

“No!” Finally, Kayla spoke. “Please, don’t bring Tom into this. Not him.”

“It’s about time,” Michael said, taking out his phone and dialing Tom’s number.

“Hello?” Tom answered.

“Hi Tom, it’s me, Michael. Do you remember me?”

“Yes. I though you in jail. What happened? They let you out early?”

“No. I escaped.” Michael chuckled.  “And I got my prize too.”

“What’s that?” Tom said with a serious tone. Everyone knew about Michael’s obsession with Kayla. Everyone! Especially her fiancé Tom.

“I got me Kayla. That’s right.”

“Let her go!” Tom prepared himself on the other end but Michael was too smart:

“I wouldn’t call the po-po if I were you. I mean, if you know what’s good for you.”

“Then what do you want? Tell me and I’ll give it to you. Anything!” The fear was heard in Tom’s voice.

“Thomas!” Kayla yelled but wish she hadn’t. Michael kicked her in the stomach and told her to ‘shutup’.

Talking back into the phone, Michael said in a haunting voice, “There is nothing you can do, my man. It’s a little too late for sorry. You stole my women and now I’m taking her back. We’ll be together forever, you’ll see. And you can witness it too.”

Michael turned his phone camera on and recording the nasty event he was about to do.


    »B.How long are they held for? And where at and under what conditions? 

I.    The time can be anywhere from a five minutes to several days or even weeks. It really depends on the motives behind the kidnapping. Usually, if the timeline is from five minutes to a full day you can write it out in full. A.k.a, realtime. Otherwise, if it expands over several days and weeks, you can just sum it up in a paragraph or two. Even a sentence: ‘I was there for four, long, horrible days. I constantly wondered when this nightmare was going to end.’

II.     Hopefully you stated where they are being located. If not, you can state it here. However, it’s not mandatory to say where. It only gives the reader a sense of location, surroundings, and atmosphere. No need to go in detail, either. A simple: ‘The building was grey and old looking, but that’s all I knew’, would do.

III.     Is the victim treated like scum? Not given food or anything to eat? Or, are they treated like royalty? This can actually be the case. Usually, if this happens the victim might end up with Stockholm syndrome, where they actually start to like their captors.

Example 6:  

Five minutes later both their head juices painted the ground, Michael laying on top of Kayla.
The next day was more than gloomy; I’m not even sure if there is a word for how horrible it was.
“I should have been there,” Marsha said, hugging Tom tightly.
“It’s not your fault, Marsha and don’t think it is. Michael was nuts, he would have even done it at the wedding if he had to.”
His words were true; Michael did plan on killing both Tom and Kayla AND himself in front of the church today, the wedding day. Though, his plans changed the moment he received a text from Marsha stating how Kayla was at her house and where to find her.
Let’s just say secretly, this supposed best friend was the true psycho, too jealous to have a friend like Kayla. Oh, and now she would like dibs on Tom…. How cruel….



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10 thoughts on “How to Write a Kidnap Scene

  1. Wait… in the example, what happened? Did Michael and Kayla kill each other? Did Tom find Kayla dead and kill Michael? Did Marsha find Kayla dead and kill Michael? Did Kayla kill Michael and survive the whole ordeal? Did Kayla kill Michael and then get killed by Marsha? Did Marsha kill both Michael and Kayla? I’m kind of confused.

    1. Good Morning, Hannah!

      Lovely comment. Hope I can clear up the confusion.
      Michael killed Kayla and himself for them to “be together eternally”, at least in his mind:

      Five minutes later both their head juices painted the ground, Michael laying on top of Kayla.

      But, Marsha was in on it. Due to jealousy:
      Though, his plans changed the moment he received a text from Marsha stating how Kayla was at her house and where to find her.

      Ultimately, Marsha planned the entire thing out, a step above Michael who wanted to kill Tom, Kayla and himself at the wedding. Marsha didn’t think that would be best or even work out, so she had text Michael about where to find Kayla that night. To be sure the dirty job was done quicker and successfully.

  2. Thank you so much for this outline and the others it is so helpful, all those questions above the boxes helped me a lot about detailing my writing I literally answer the questions and nothing more! I was doing my research om how to write for a month now but this is way better 🙂 Please keep doing this 😀

    1. You’re welcome and be sure to spread the word, fellow writer!
      *May your writing spirit live on forever*

      -James Sterling

  3. This is lovely. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! It took me so long to find it but I finally did! Thank you so much! I’m going to have to show this to my friends and family!

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