January 22, 2013

Writing About: A Kidnapping

The key to writing a kidnapping is to make it a surprise to both the character and your reader. Have your character be doing something normal such as feeding their cat, taking a nap, or making a cup of hot chocolate. It can be anything that distracts them. Describe them in the act of what they are doing. Their attention is focused on their task and they aren’t aware of anything else but the cat bowl.

Then in the next sentence or paragraph mention to your reader that someone is coming up behind them. Now describe the attack. Is there a struggle? Does the kidnapper hit their victim in the back of the head, use drugs, a taser, tape and rope, or a gun and a threat?

Definitely make sure to tell your reader what the victim is feeling, thinking, and everything he/she does during the course of the kidnapping. A kidnapping isn’t a kidnapping unless there is fear, because nothing is more terrifying than being attacked, over powered, and forcefully taken to God-only-knows-where by a stranger. Make your reader afraid for your character.

A kidnapper is extremely dangerous because they are in control and they have a plan. They will use any weapon and any threat to instill fear in their victim until they get what they want, which may (or may not) involve the victim’s death.

To write an authentic kidnapping in your book, you need to create an antagonist that can make your readers cringe in disgust, fright, hate, or all three at the same time. Give details to their appearance and their mannerism. Make everything they do and say terrifying.

SHARE: Your tips to writing a kidnapping.


  1. Wow, I've never seen anyone write about how to do a kidnapping before. Very cool. Hello Fellow FWA'er. Nice to meet you.

  2. Nice to meet you too, Vicki! This post isn't obviously about how to do a kidnapping in real life. I know nothing about that and I am strongly against anyone attempting it! Unfortunately, kidnappings do happen, even in literature. I found myself writing about one for my book so I figured other writers might be curious about how to write about a kidnapping as well.

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you stop by again!

  3. Hi, this really is really good because I am writing a novel on a kidnapping. I'm just having trouble starting it off. Do I start off with the attack or someone arriving at the scene to see it a mess?

    1. There's no right or wrong way to start a scene or book about a kidnapping. Think about your story and what would be best. :)

  4. This really helped me out. I've written about kidnappings before, but this really helps me out a lot and inspires me to write another kidnapping story. :)
    You should write a book about writing books. lol :P

  5. This was absolutely fantastic. I have had trouble writing a convincing kidnapping scene in my years of writing - this helped so much. Thank you.

  6. Hi there, I'm writing a story about a girl who was kidnapped for knowing some kind of information, which she happens to forget after she is kidnapped. My question is What kind of information can get someone kidnapped?
    It should be something strange or the readers will find intresting. And it shouldn't be technological or scientific -Like she has the steps on making a biological weapon- No.
    I hope someone can give me what I need to complete my chapter
    Thank you

    1. I have no idea if this is much too late or not, but maybe it will at least help other people browsing this page in the future.

      First, I think you should ask yourself some questions about what sort of story you want this to be. How important is this kidnapping? Is there any chance it would be government-related? Maybe the government sent secret agents to tie her up to get information about a foreign country or something. Or maybe it's about aliens, or magic.

      Alternately, maybe it's something related to a significant other or a business! Maybe a jealous stalker creep wants to impersonate the person she likes, or maybe she knows a business secret that some other, probably sleezy business wants. Or maybe a secret recipe to an extremely special dish. If you have any way to give her or a friend of hers a competitor like that, that could definitely do it.

      Or, the weakness of someone or something! How to sneak into x well-guarded place, perhaps, or a person the kidnapper hates and wants to kill/take down in some way.

      Hope this helps someone!

  7. Hi!
    I am writing a kidnapping scene for a fanfic that I'm writing. But this man is kidnapped a four year old from her bed. Any advice for this type of kidnap?

    1. You've probably long since finished or abandoned your fanfic, but here's some advice, anyway!

      First, I think you need to know what relation this man has to this girl. That's incredibly important. Is it her biological father, whom she's fond of? Maybe she was lost in a custody battle. Is it someone she already knows and hates/is afraid of? Is it a complete stranger?

      Second, I think you should consider the disposition of the little girl, and whether or not she would even wake up. If she's friendly, she may greet the person and possibly express confusion. If she's a bit timid, she's likely to scream, struggle, cry....

      If you're writing it from her point of view, I think the advice on the page is still perfectly applicable. If it's from his point of view, then write about how he got in, then him grabbing her, etc. If it's more objective, a mysterious, possibly even slightly vague description may help. Perhaps something about a shadowy figure approaching a child fast asleep in her bed, before he snatches her up and vanishes into the night.

      Hopefully this is able to help someone! Best of luck with your writing ventures. =)