1. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    Dying a Hero's Death

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shaylyn, Apr 22, 2012.

    In my story, the job of one of the MCs (Jack) is to find people on this list and bring them to safety before they are killed (too long to explain). He used to have a brother (Ben) who was his partner in finding people. Ben is never really in the story but Jack explains to the MC (Hailey) that he was killed while the two of them were out looking for her.

    Now, I haven't really figured out how exactly he dies. I want it to be like he had to do this to save his brother. Like, perhaps the two brothers were being pursued by the people trying to find and kill Hailey and Ben sacrificed himself somehow so Jack could get away. I'm having such a hard time though coming up with an amazing, heroic death.

    The reader never actually meets Ben, but I still want them to love him and I want his life (though short lived) to be memorable and his death to be tragic.

    Does anyone have any sort of idea that could work? Or perhaps examples in books you've read or movies you've seen that I could use as inspiration?
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That could work. Jack escapes, and Ben stands in defiance against whoever or whatever is trying to kill them. He taunts the bad guys, tells them something like "I've killed far worse than you. You'll have a hell of a time getting through me!" A shootout occurs. Ben takes down a few men, but is mortally wounded. He doesn't fall, only staggers, gasping for breath with a smirk on his face.

    "You're too late, idiots..." he could say, "...They've already won. You won't get them, like you got my brother..."

    Then he shoots a lantern out from its hook, causing it to fall down and...light some nearby hay or boxes on fire, causing the rest to panic and scatter while he collapses dead a few minutes later. With that same, satisifed smirk.

    Or something like that. I'm loosely basing this off of the ending of 'Red Dead Redemption' (a videogame, I know) where there is a heroic, and very memorable death.

    Now, I'm not saying this has to happen to Ben, I'm just offering an example of how he could die a heroic, memorable death.
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Yup, it's a TV show called "Person of Interest."

    One guy is a burned out 'mechanic' for our shadow government, the other guy is a geek with a lot of regrets on his computer invention. They decide to use their talents to save people from trouble before they even know they're in it.

    Much like your story, they have ghosts and skeletons in their collective past, and they save people by actually saving their own souls.

    Find out your lead's ultimate demon, the harpoon in his soul that just cannot be yanked out. His death will be in finally exorcizing the evil (usually by facing it) as he dies in redemption saving someone else.
     
  4. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    For some reason, the heroic death in Dante's Peak always stuck with me (cheesy film as it was). It's when they're trying to cross the lake that's turned to acid and the boat is being eaten away from beneath them - the propellor melts and the engine dies, they can't paddle because, well, it's acid and it'll fizz yer skin off. They know that any minute they are all going to be ditched into the deadly corrosive lake and die.
    So then out Grandma gets and drags the boat to shore, sacrificing her own life (in a really really horrifically painful way) in order to save her grandchildren and daugher in law (and Pearse Brosnan, unfortunately).
    Yeah it was pretty far fetched as scenarios go (not often you find yourself stranded in a row boat on a lake of acid) but there are lots of other scenarios - think Jack and Rose at the end of Titanic. Your two characters could be trying to escape, but whatever means they're using fails or cannot save both of them, so one has to sacrifice himself so the other can get away.
     
  5. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    That scene gets mocked a fair bit for the simple reason that there was more than enough room for Jack on the debris with Rose. There's quite a comical write-up about it on The Sun's website:

    The Sun: 3D Titanic
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Recently an American soldier in Afghanistan rushed to push a child out of the way of a military vehicle. He succeeded in saving the child, but he himself was struck and killed.

    An elderly man in Massachusetts ran back into his burning house three times to rescue family members. He got all three of the rest of the family out, but he collapsed and died.
     
  7. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I know, I was just desperate for examples and that was the only one I could come up with at the time. I thought it was stupid too, but not because there was plenty of space available on the debris - no, it was his complete inability to figure out that trying to get on it after Rose was already on would capsize it. They should have both got on at the same time from opposite sides to balance it. Anyone who has used one of those foam rafts in a swimming pool knows that ;)

    Cog mentioned some much better examples of heroic sacrifice from real life. There must be thousands of similar ones, I'm sure the OP could find plenty of news stories via google search :)
     
  8. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    I've always thought Jack died of hypothermia...
     
  9. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Come on, man, it's THE SUN! You can't expect such unreasonably high standards of journalism as accuracy, or basic literacy for that matter...

    It was quite amusing though ;)
     
  10. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wait. I thought the reason Jack wouldn't get on the door was simply because of balancing issues. If I recall correctly he does try and get on but the door kept overturning or was threatening too. I was actually never under the impression that there wasn't enough room.

    Anyways. It's somewhat hard to love him and make sure his death is memorable because we don't get to know him. The best bet is to make sure the people he died trying to save was worth it. Now if there was ever a chance that Ben met Hailey or knew her in some way. Not good friends but they bumped into each other from time to time it might really give an impact to his death.
     
  11. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    If you want him to be remembered, make the characters speak about him as if he was a hero, and you won't need your hero's death as much
     
  12. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    Patrick94, the MC Hailey has been trying to gently coax the story of what happened to Ben out of Jack through out the story and I feel like if I don't give the reader an explanation of how Ben died, it might not be taken well.
     
  13. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I think how your MC refers to his brother is as important as how the brother actually died.

    As far as idea on how he could die.
    stepping in front of a gun shot or knife thrown or anything of that nature
    pushes his brother up to the top of a cliff of something even though it means he can't hold on and thus falls
    if little food or water is avaible the one brothe rcould give his food to his brother or not drink his water (without telling his brother) and then when he dies, the MC finds water in his canteen
    Also along the food lines - being the one who always tests the food to see if it's poisoned
    Taking a beating for the other
    Giving the other medicine that they both need but only have enough for one
    pushing someone out of the way of a car or other moving object
    giving away the only parachute
    holding something back so the other can get away, anything from a large rock or wall to a bear or giant squid
     

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