One more entry on this, and someday I’m sure I’ll come back to the concept.
Another question to consider is this, “What do I want to do to this person who has so foolishly attacked me with a knife?”
Does he have friends around? How many of them vs. how many of you? How are you going to get away? Or do you plan to hold him in an arm bar with your pinkie finger while you call the cops?
All of these things will help you decide what to do. If he’s got friends, you should probably take him out quick and hard. If you don’t want to hurt him (drunk friend of whatever) then disarming would be the way go to with a follow up hold so you can “chat.”
The same thing applies as you write. What are you trying to do to your reader and why? Is this whole scene a set up for something bigger? Is the deep dark secret of your series revealed here? Or is this the introduction of the love interest?
You see, you would use totally different tools depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. What kind of tension are you looking at here, and what is the character conflicted about? Are you going to hit them below the belt, or fake them out?
I guess I need to go into writing tools after all of this talk about them. There are about a million, so I won’t get too excited. And I need to review them as much as ever. Each new story brings a new set of issues to first mess up and then resolve. Combinations are important, because one-hit-wonders only work once.
But we’ll go into that some other time.