During some recent TV viewing I noticed a few characters getting a little too conveniently knocked out, which got me wondering how many of the ways writers commonly use to render characters unconscious are actually plausible. To try and answer that, I did a little researching and wrote an article for Fantasy Faction about how true to life these fictional “fade to blacks” might be. Here’s the link in case the topic is of interest to anyone following along here:
It’s a common scenario in many kinds of fiction, including fantasy: a character passes out, either because they’ve been knocked on the head or injured or drugged, and the world “goes black” or they “fall into darkness”. The unfortunate character usually wakes up several hours or days later in a new place, disoriented and sometimes a prisoner or a patient of another character.
You can see why this happens often in books, films and TV shows, because there are good narrative reasons for it::
- it’s the perfect fade-to-black moment for an end-of-chapter (or end-of-scene) cliff-hanger.
- it allows the narrative to jump forward in time and also makes a quick change of location possible.
- it’s an easy way for one character to kidnap another without a whole lot of kicking and screaming.
As you might have guessed, things aren’t quite so easy in real life.