I'm in the midst of writing the climax of my new standalone for Poisoned Pen Press. Tetative title: Walls of Glass.
It's not easy. In this book I want an action-packed ending. But the heroine isn't a cop or a soldier or a judo master. She's an ordinary woman, with serious brain trauma, up against two big men, one with a knife and one with a Glock. How to get her out of this predicament believabily is the question.
Believability counts. For some reason writers seem to be able to get away with total fabrication in movies in a way that we can't in crime fiction. In a movie, she'd step forward, grap his wrist, and flip him onto his back. Or she'd leap into the air and use both feet to strike him in the chest so he falls, unconscious, to the ground. Perhaps she'd have a knife concealed on her body (don't we all walk around the house like that?) and throw it from the far side of the room to fasten his hand to the wall?
None of that is going to work in this book. One thing she has on her side is that she has a child to protect. I do believe that people can find hidden strength when someone they love is in danger.
There has to be a certain amount of luck involved. One of the men turns away at the wrong (for him) time, or steps in the wrong (for him) place? Perhaps a falling out among thieves? Or an intervention by another person. Nope, don't want the big strong man coming to her rescue. The gun jams? Why not?
This requires a lot of thought. In my head I have to position the characters, move them around the space. Know where they're looking when they speak, know where they're standing at just the right time. I am not particuarly quick-witted, nor am I fast and agile, but my character has to be to save herself, so I have to think like I'm smart and fit.
Let me pour another glass of wine and think smart and fit.
Okay, she got lucky and the knife guy is out of action. Now there's the guy with the gun to deal with. Hum...
Is that a siren I hear in the distance?
No, cop outs now, Vicki. Stay focused. You can do this. She can do this.