More on knives. Sorry, they’re shiny, I can’t help it!
We learn how to deal with all sorts of knife attacks: overhead stabbing, single slashing, double slashing, straight for the stomach, and to the neck. I’ve probably learned six or seven ways to deal with each of these attacks. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten over half of them. Some don’t work for me, while others I’ll remember until the day I die. (Well, as long as that day isn’t after the dementia kicks in.)
You would think that the ones I can remember the best are the simple moves. Yeah, you might think that, but you’d be wrong. Sure, one or two are the simple ones. Others might be the first techniques I learned—those stick in there better than the newer ones for some reason. Mostly I remember the ones that I love or have an outcome that makes the evil part of me smile really, really wide.
I think I choose a few of my favorites because I can pull them off on the people that always underestimate me. I’m short, round, blonde and I look like a very nice girl. Even with a black belt, most people don’t take me seriously. (Okay, most of the time no one should.) But, I’ve got a few knife moves that make people fear me. Not because I made them up, but because I use them well and my partner knows at once that they’re toast. Your own knife in either your neck or your, er, nether regions, is pretty scary. Even when it’s a plastic, practice knife.
Writing is the same. We have so many tools that we as authors use to pull an emotional reaction out of our readers that the sheer number feels overwhelming. However, you never have to use them all. Sometimes they don’t fit into your story (a horror element in a middle grade novel, for instance…wait, that might work) or you just don’t like them. There are plenty of tools in the shed (no, I’m not talking about the jerks over there) so dive in and find what works for you. Steal from a movie, or your favorite book, or your kids or wherever you see something that elicits an emotional response. You might need it when your character is being unruly.