September 28, 2014 18:21
Running for Her Life in the Rain: Information for Writers
I have a scene coming up in a story I'm writing where the evil villain chases my beautiful heroine through the woods.
It always irritates me when I'm watching a movie, and the heroine is dressed in some gorgeous gown and high heels when she has to save her life - I mean really, can' t the bad guy ever come after her when she's in her hiking boots and pants?
Personally, I can barely make it from my car to the restaurant without ripping my pantyhose - how can these ladies crawl through glass and still
keep everything intact? I want to know the brand
of stockings they buy.
My heroine will definitely not be dressed in her Greek-revival toga dress with strappy sandal stilettos because, let's face it, in reality - she's not getting very far that way. She will not be clean and beautiful when she's done saving her life. Yes, she will have ripped her stockings into shreds and no, it is definitely not attractive.
Even dressed properly, if you're writing it right, she's in for the world of hurt.
To do research for my story, I just ran the Mudderella. Mudderella raises money to support initiatives to stop domestic abuse. It was a five-mile course with thirteen mud obstacles. I was dressed for it. I wore Spandex shorts, an exercise tank and light weight shoes built to let water pass through them. What I wasn't wearing was my glasses. I knew they'd go flying off right away. Not being able to see clearly can mess with your heroine - and we know that nothing should ever come easily for our heroines.
Now to be clear, I'm not writing this as a bitch session - I had an AWESOME time running Mudderella and CANNOT WAIT to do it again. I am merely posting my observations so that perhaps it can give texture to your plot line.
*Running in nature is nothing
like running on a treadmill or
even running on pavement. It's
a lot more work/fatiguing.
* Running along this
path, I constantly encountered
brambles and roots. The
thorny vines wrapped my
ankles and tripped and cut me as I went.
* The uneven ground was taxing on my ankles and knees - so your
heroine will feel those early on, after the adrenaline starts to
abate, and she is hunkering down for the long haul to civilization
* If your heroine is going in the drink, let's hope she has on light
weight shoes, or she may have to pull them off to stay up,
especially if she's tired. Now she's running barefoot? Those rocks
are going to bruise her feet quickly to the point that she can only
hobble if she can stand up at all. Also, getting shoes to untie
when they are wet (and mud-caked) is nearly impossible. She's
going to have to hope her feet haven't swollen from the run,
because she'll have to pull the shoes off still tied.
* She should try her best to keep the mud and dirt out of her eyes -
there's nothing clean to wash them with and a scratched cornea is
* While the water feels good on tired legs, it makes her shoes
harder to run in, especially if she is developing blisters.
were running in running shorts that came to their knees. These
soaked up the water and flapped about their legs as they ran. At
some point, if I were escaping, I would have just taken them off
and run in my undies (keeping my pants or skirt with me around
my neck - they may be useful later) but then you'd have to
write in the trade off of more exposure to the environs, twigs, and
sharp rocks etc.
* While the water might be a great way to escape - floating on a
current, not leaving a trail. Currents will also wear your heroine
* Once she's in the water, eventually she has to get back out.
* This was a very steep slope. It was clay, which is extremely
slippery. There were no toe holds or hand holds. My teammates
(you can see behind me) took a few tries to get up. I was clinging
to the tiniest baby weeds trying for anything that would keep me
from sliding back down. You can hear in this film people were
growling - me included. The growling actually was very helpful.
It worked a little like a martial arts k'ihap. It kept the power
* This exercise was mainly about balance, weight distribution, and
upper arm/back strength.
* If someone were close on my heels, this would be a very
dangerous time. I would try to find a bank that had a friendlier
exit, especially if it provided cover - but sometimes beggars can't
be choosers and your heroine will have to make it up the slippery
* Is your heroine running with someone? This could be
a hindrance, or it could be very helpful. It would help if the friend
was in the same shape or better shape than your heroine or had
special skills. And was healthy and unhurt. It would help if the
friend was positive and encouraging and going forward as a
team. J ust having someone around who could catch the
heroine if she were falling, or to help over the obstacles you're
sure to throw in their way is morale boosting.
It would not help if any of these were reversed.
* The most effective way my team found to get out of the deep
water onto dry land was for one person to link their fingers to
make a stirrup and let someone step into the hand hold. Then they
would do a squat thrust. Once one person is up, they can reach
down for the second. Lifting in any other way was taxing and not
Things I learned in the mud -
* Shoes will fill with tiny rock particles and clay.
* The rocks and clay will take up quite a bit of space in the shoes
and become very heavy.
* Cleaning this out is problematic because - the shoe laces won't
come undone. If she were washing them out, the heroine would
be using the same water that m ade them that way in the first
place, and she couldn't stop anyway - there's a villain on
* The rocks and mud will cause bruises, blisters, and tiny cuts in
very weird places.
* All the cuts will be infected by the time she gets to a place where
she can clean herself.
* Bruises will appear in random places on her body, and she will
have no idea how they got there.
* She probably won't feel any of this until she gets to a place to
I hope this helps. You can leave questions and comments below. I moderate for SPAM so they will NOT show up right away. If you find my blog to be helpful, I'd appreciate your sharing it with your friends. Social media buttons below. Happy plotting.