Readers love spunky heroines.

Paula Patton in Mission Impossible
Paula Patton in Mission Impossible

READERS LOVE heroines who are a) spunky b)resourceful and c) can kick male a***e (British spelling). You can combine all three in a creative fight scene in which your heroine defends herself with an improvised weapon.

This reflects psychological reality: When women feel threatened, they instinctively grab something to use as a weapon: a brick, milk bottle, toilet brush, flower pot, or frying pan. For the writer, this is a wondeful opportunity to create an unusual fight scene.

Improvised weapons can be highly effective. I’ve fought off one attacker with the oar from a rowing boat, and another with my garden spade. In both instances, I didn’t need to do much fighting. The attackers were so surprised when their defenceless victim was suddenly armed, that they ran off. A friend’s violent ex-husband repeatedly broke into her home, threatening her and the children. One day, she was cooking supper when he attacked her. She hit him on the head with the the cast iron frying pan: that was the last time he bothered her.

Admittedly, improvised weapons don’t work as well against gun-armed thugs and professional assassins. However, your readers will be willing to suspend their disbelief as long as you create an illusion of reality.

The trick is to choose an object the heroine has used in other contexts. If the readers observe her ability wield the item skillfully in a non-combat situation, they will believe she can adapt this skill for self-defense.

What objects does your heroine handle in her everyday life? What are the tools of her trade, her professional instruments, her hobby equipment?

Here are some ideas to stimulate your imagination:

The passionate knitter stabs her attacker with her knitting needles.

The amateur gardener trips her assailant with the hose pipe and hits him with the spade.

The cook slams the cast iron frying pan on the attacker’s head. The chambermaid fights back with the mop and the toilet brush.

The archaeologist applies her sharp pointed trowel.

The hair stylist uses the hairbrush, the scissors, the hairspray or the hot curling iron.

The baker throws a handful of flour in his face to blind the thug for a moment, then whacks him with the rolling pin.

If she has martial arts training, she can supplement these actions with genuine punches, throws and kicks.

Readers will love your heroine for her spunk and her resourcefulness, and enjoy every moment of this original fight.

If you’d like to discuss ideas for improvised weapons your heroine may use, or if you have questions about fight scene writing, leave a comment and I’ll reply. I look forward to hearing from you.

Author/editor Rayne Hall writes about spunky and resourceful heroines in Six Historical Tales.

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