The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across a keyboard

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Showing posts with label Myths. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Myths. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

Duct Tape 101 for Writers

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          Excerpt from WEAKEST LYNX:

          “Where did you find her?” Gavin asked.
          “The adjoining bedroom, on the floor, bound at the ankles and wrists. No signs of struggle. She was out when he tied her.” Dave’s voice sounded hollow and tight at the recounting. “At some point, she must’ve started to come around.  He gagged her with duct tape, wound it around her head a bunch of times. She worked it loose with her tongue - that’s what saved her life.









English: A roll of silver, Scotch brand duct tape.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I like the idea of duct tape.
I can't tell you how many times it has come to my rescue - from taping my brake light back onto my car after I was rear-ended, to making this nifty pair of shoes. Kidding!

Found on FB, creator unknown
In novels and films, duct tape is a staple go-to for gags and binding. And why not?
* Duct tape is convenient
* The villain doesn't need to have a lot of  fancy-schmancy knot tying skills.
* It doesn't look strange to have duct tape in the car trunk where chains, cordage, and cloth strips might
   need an explanation.
* Duct tape doesn't leave marks like rope burns or handcuff bruising.

Sadly for us writers, duct tape does not live up to its reputation. Duct tape is actually a very poor choice. Since we here at ThrillWriting like to write it right, I want to debunk some of the duct tape myths.

Found on FB, creator unknown


Found on FB, creator unknown

So you're writing along and, oh no! Your heroine is in trouble! She was captured by the bad guy, and he wants to make sure she is secured and silent. He pulls out his roll of duct tape and sets to work.
* Duct tape mainly works on a psychological level like this horse tied to the plastic chair.
* Duct tape really does not provide much in the way of restraining capacity.
* If your character has a military or police background, it is highly doubtful that your character wouldn't
   know how quick and easy it is to escape from duct tape.
* If, on the other hand, your character is naive, young, and lacking in enough self-preservation to TRY to
   escape then perhaps your use of duct tape makes more sense.
* Maybe it's not your victim but your villain who is naive. Maybe the bad guy thought that the duct tape
   scenes in the movies were accurate. Well, then your heroine can laugh as she frees herself and makes her
   escape.
* If your character is drunk or otherwise drugged, duct tape might just do the job.
   Video (2:22) This is a newscast of a man restrained to his seat in flight to maintain the safety of the other
   passengers. The announcer asked a good question, why was someone on the flight traveling with a roll of
   duct tape? I see a plot twist.

Duct Tape Gags:
Found on FB, creator unknown

* A single piece of duct tape across the mouth has
   no effect, except perhaps as an irritant.
* Duct tape will not silence the victim; it will
   merely muffle the sound, no matter how many
   times you wrap it around.
* Duct tape gags can be be an asphyxia hazard.
   Please don't go playing with duct tape gags to
   test a plot point without proper help at hand.
* If your villain puts something in the victim's
   mouth to prevent sound or to increase the
   victim's tension level - such as a sock, rag, or
   panties - it is a high-risk choking hazard.
  Note: cloth in a taped mouth absorbs saliva, increasing the gagging reflex. This is a survival reflex
  and will trigger the limbic system to fight for life. Adrenaline and other hormones will flush the body.
  Cogent thought processes will be overridden as the victim panics. And as we know from Spider McGraw
   in WEAKEST LYNX, "Panic will kill you. It makes you unable in mind and body."

   Video Quick Study (3:17) Excellent demonstration of duct tape gags and their efficacy.

Duct Tape Handcuffs:

* Quick and easy to release.
* Can be done by slipping one hand out. This is easiest when the victim is sweating from adrenaline and has
   stretched the tape a bit. Video Quick Study (:36) Young boy duct taped to a tree wiggles out in less than
   30 seconds.
* Popping using the same technique I described in Breaking Out of Zip Ties LINK
   Video Quick Study (:19)
   Video Quick Study (:09)
   Video Quick Study (:19)
* Notice the length of the above videos. We are talking a matter of seconds to freedom. Granted, the last
   three were by rugged manly men. But the first was a young kid.
* Here's one where the man uses a twisting motion.
   Video Quick Study (2:13) Breaking the duct tape takes seconds.


Well, you say, they just didn't use enough duct tape. Here is a video quick study showing a man wrapped head to toe in duct tape like a mummy. Of course he knew he would get more oxygen in by breaking the gag first, but I guess his panting added to the drama.
Video Quick Study (2:40)

Taping someone to furnishings has the same effect.
* If the person is sober and willing to try (and willing to feel discomfort) then escape is a matter of minutes if
   not seconds away.
* Use the same techniques as with handcuffs, either rotate or pop.
* Duct tape may remove some hair and the top layer of skin, it doesn't even leave much of a red mark.
   Certainly not a welt.
* It is not particularly painful. When I was experimenting with this - and yes, you know I had to - it didn't
   bring tears to my eyes or even make me say, "ouch." If your character has experienced a salon eyebrow
   waxing, she's pretty much inoculated.

Found on FB, creator unknown
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