I suppose my problem is quite common. The central portion of any story is wending your main character's life through interesting times. The problem I'm facing is getting past the problem of making his life look "charmed," or as if the game was rigged. You can have ancillary characters, stand by the side of the lead, go through the same crisis, and wind up as dead as a doornail. In many stories, the hero is unscathed. Clearly, in a novel about the cruel randomness of war, you could depict incoming fire to kill a supporting character leaving the lead untouched and horrified. In fact, a cannon shot did that exact thing in the movie "The Patriot." But for me it's kind of a "been there, done that." And I don't see where a story told from the standpoint of an ensemble cast playing 'who lives who dies' is the answer, either. That's the plot of "Alien." I have a specific lead, in a specific time, accomplishing a specific goal. Your heart won't go out to him if the world is on fire and yet in the next scene there's not even a hint of a scorch mark on his jacket. How do you infer he's not a 'ringer'?