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Writer's Block:
Adding a Checkhov's gun
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Total posts: [8]
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Adding a Checkhov's gun:

In my first draft, the hero is clinging to the side of a vehicle and needs to bust a window to get in, and he does so by repeatedly hitting it until it breaks. Weak, I know.

I want him to have some object with him, something he could use to break the window, but I'm not sure exactly what to give him or how to set it up.

This is a sci-fi story about time travel, so he could pretty much have anything from any era, with the stipulation that he'd need to be able to keep it in his pocket.

I would need to know more about this hero. Who is he? Where was he last before hanging on the edge of the vehicle? How did he come to hang on the edge of the vehicle?

Without knowing any more about this story than what you posted, I would give him a tiny laser, something like a laser pointer, but with enough power to cut through a window.

A complication could be that lasers would not be good at cutting glass. Perhaps it is an infrared laser of a frequency that the glass is opaque to.
 
 3 Major Tom, Mon, 26th Sep '11 5:16:54 AM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
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Use a brick or a rock? You don't exactly need to foreshadow those in detail.
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 4 Ralph Crown, Mon, 26th Sep '11 8:04:14 AM from Next Door to Nowhere
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What sort of vehicle is it? Could he pull off a rail or piece of trim and use that?

Is it true glass, safety glass, or some other material (e.g. bulletproof)? They break differently.

A gun would work. Fits in a pocket. Shoots through locks, windows, drivers....
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How about a watch with diamonds on the face?

Since diamonds can cut glass, he could run the watch across the window and score it enough to break it with a good punch.

I don't know what leads to this scene where he needs to break the glass, but if you're incorporating time travel, I'm sure at some point he'd come across a watch.
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 6 Mr AHR, Mon, 26th Sep '11 3:53:25 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
...I do not think that would work very well.
 7 Endark Culi, Mon, 26th Sep '11 8:46:43 PM from Ontario, Canada Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
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I'd say the key to this problem is not what breaks the window, but why the protagonist has it. In the case of a gun or laser, was it given to him by someone that cares about his safety, or did he get one himself while trying to solve a different dillema? For a brick, is it a souvenir from some ancient architexture that was diminished to dust by the modern era, or is your protagonist the kind of guy that would weigh himself down with a fairly heavy object just for the heck of it? Unless you're writing the script for an Adventure Game, you're going to need a good reason why your protagonist doesn't just throw away the odds & ends that are slowing him down.
 8 Wolf 1066, Tue, 27th Sep '11 12:15:46 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
I wear a Leatherman Pocket tool in a pouch on my belt everywhere I go - very handy to have. If you establish earlier that your character has such a thing - using one of the blades to cut something or the pliers/screwdriver blade to fix something - then at the "hanging from the cab" scene (s)he could take it from its pouch and use it to smash the window.

The window's likely to be safety glass but a good crack from the end of a metal Leatherman would cause it to shatter.

You don't have to go all out to explain a pocket tool (unlike a gun or a laser or a convenient brick) - (s)he's a traveller, it's a handy thing to have (knife blades, screwdrivers, pliers, bottle/can opener, folding scissors etc) and is compact and unobtrusive - its uses justify the negligible weight - but it's heavier and more substantial than a pocket knife (I'm sure it'd easily smash the side window of a truck. Probably even the windscreen)

You could even use it without the Checkhov's Gun aspect - grabbing a heretofore unmentioned pocket tool from its pouch/pocket is not as much of an Ass Pull as many other things would be. Most people just would say, "OK, (s)he's got a pocket tool" and get on with the story - there wouldn't be a great likelihood of a disbelieving "oh, so (s)he just happens to carry one around" as it's a genuinely useful tool and the sort of thing someone who is out and about a lot might realistically have. Weapons and bricks on the other hand would need some serious explaining and setting up in advance - like what sort of adventures the character has that makes a weapon a good thing to carry at all times.

edited 27th Sep '11 12:19:08 AM by Wolf1066

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Total posts: 8
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