I know the Knocked Unconscious trope is inaccurate but can I... use it anyway? I mean I need my character to be knocked unconscious by someone long enough for them to be taken to an unknown place and wake up there. Are there any alternatives or should I just roll with it?
I have a post for that!
You can click that link, or, honestly, just wait a bit, I’m about to reblog it for ya :)
The real question I have is, why does the character need to be unconscious? Can they just be subdued and placed in a hood? “Unconscious” is not the only way of making them “not currently active;” you can achieve the same thing by locking them in the trunk (note: air and air conditioning become issues here, as does claustrophobia), by reasoning with them that coming to The Mysterious Place will get them something they want, by threatening someone close to them to ensure cooperation, by Tasering them and restraining them…. there are a lot of ways to make characters inconsequential and “willing” to take a journey without knowing where they’re going.
Sedatives work fairly well for this, though aren’t entirely safe. I can think of a few off the top of my head – midazolam, phenobarbital, even diphenhydramine can be used in sedative takedown. If you want something a little un-standard, a drug called droperidol works as well. (Not available in the US due to black-box warnings it didn’t deserve, but I digress.)
I’m not saying you can’t ever use this trope. Ultimately what you choose to do is entirely up to you. I’m not the Writing Police, nor do I want to be. I’m here to give you information to help you ground your story in realism so that when you choose to break the boundaries of realism, you do so anchored in a world that feels realistic.
But also understand that in our world, if you hit someone over the head and they become unconscious even for a few minutes, they’re liable not to remember anything that happens after. My own concussion in high school wiped all but 4 specific incidents from my memory for the next 24 hours. They’re liable to be confused and agitated. They might have a scalp wound that bleeds all over the trunk of your bad guys’s car (and it’s always a nice car with bad guys, isn’t it?). They might have permanent brain damage. They might die.
And the worry is that a reader of yours will get it in their head from yet another source that doing this is okay and ultimately harmless, when people in the real world die from being hit in the head, sometimes even by well-meaning friends or playmates. I’ve seen people suffer catastrophic brain damage from a single punch.
The choice is yours. I can’t tell you what’s right for your story. I can only tell you the medicine.