In Book 3 of my Disaster Crimes series there is an intense car chase with Beth Kennedy. As always with these action scenes, I had a blast writing it, but it wasn’t easy. While keeping the pace fast, I also had to describe what was going on. Every second of the chase had to be detailed.
Getting into such details can be difficult for some writers, so I’m sharing several things you should remember if you need to write a car chase.
1. Where is your character going?
Before you begin a car chase, you need to tell your readers where your character is and where he/she is going. This may seem like a small detail but it paints a clear picture. In Book 3, Beth was heading home when the car chase occurs.
2. What does the car chasing your character do?
To make a chase exciting, the other car needs to cause a lot of trouble. The hostile driver could slam into your character’s bumper, sideswipe the car, or even run him/her off the road. Guns could also come into play.
TIP: Think these actions through, though, because if your character’s car is totaled or your character is injured (whiplash is a common injury when a car is hit from behind), you have to carry-out these problems through a couple of chapters, at least.
3. Other Cars and Pedestrians
Anytime there’s a car chase or road rage, other cars and pedestrians in the area are in danger. Make sure you don’t write an unrealistic chase scene with no other cars on the road. Your character may have to maneuver around cars or could hit one by accident. He/she may also have to dodge pedestrians crossing the street.
4. Red Lights
One problem your character will face and can’t control is a red light. You can have your character run a red light in desperation or get stuck behind it with nowhere to go. Even if you don’t want any red lights, mentioning green and yellow lights is smart since you can’t drive a block in most cities without seeing stoplights.
|Image from Pixabay|
5. How does your character lose the pursuer?
The car chasing your character won’t just disappear. Consider how the chase ends and what’ll make the most sense to your story. Will cops get involved? Will your character lose the other car with slick, fast driving?
6. Car Damage
When the chase is over, don’t just end it with the arrival at a safe destination. Have him/her inspect their car for damage. If the car was rammed, there will be body damage and the airbags would’ve deployed. A visit to the ER is always wise to rule out injuries.
Being in a car chase is scary. Show your character’s fear as they peer through the rearview mirror and drive for his/her life. White knuckles in the steering wheel, racing heart, and beads of sweat.
The fear that lingers after a car chase (or accident) is something you should give attention to. Your character could be frightened to drive or become anxious whenever he/she sees a car like the one that chase him/her.
|Image from Pixabay|
Other things to consider:
- Who is doing the chasing?
Maybe your character has been in a conflict with someone, or the driver is a mystery that you’ll unravel later.
- Why is your character being chased?
It is because of road rage or something more sinister? If your character doesn’t know at the moment, reveal it with the scenes/chapters that follow.
- What kinds of vehicles are involved?
Is your character in a BMW, and the pursuer in a truck? Adding this info adds detail to the scene and can create more tension.
QUESTION: Have you even been involved in road rage?