A Hero’s Funeral

5 Ways to Kill Your Hero

Death is inevitable. Even for our most beloved heroes. Finding a fitting final fate for our friends can be a writer’s greatest challenge. Fear not, to end your suffering we have compiled A LIST 😲 of cool ways to end your heroes misery, or life. Your heroes can finally say goodbye to this cruel world, the world you created specifically to make them dance while pulling the strings like a puppet master.

#1 Death by Poison

An absolute classic! Poison is an intriguing vessel of death – excellent for pulling the rug out from under readers. By establishing a hero’s triumph only to discover they were poisoned and have mere minutes to live. We recommend forgoing the typical ingestion method and instead entertain a more elegant solution. Namely, contact poison. A simple brush of skin or press of the lips could seal your heroes’ fate. Or perhaps unaware injection could be the final blow…

For real-life inspiration – Ricin was used to kill Georgi Markov 1978. While waiting for a bus he saw a gentleman approach and kneel with an umbrella. Briefly noting the temperate weather, he felt a small pressure on side of his leg. Moments later he was hospitalized with fever, passing soon after. An autopsy revealed Ricin delivered through a small needle puncture in his leg to be the culprit.

Shot through an umbrella! 😣😭

#2 Death by Fall

The descriptive imagery of a character’s final moments creates a lasting impression. The internal dialogue alone makes the method of dying from a significant height appealing (note: I am deathly afraid of heights 👻😱). You could stir the reader with your hero’s struggle and eventual acceptance. The possibilities are endless…

A fall from grace is equally as compelling. Having your character embrace the vices he has been fighting only to find his untimely end. Michael Jackson is a perfect example -> watching the meteoric rise driven by talent, only to succumb to a litany of personal problems.  

#3 Death by Sacrifice

Heroes who put others above themselves; to a fault, resulting in an astonishing number of heroes dwelling six feet under us. The ultimate sacrifice can be an effective conclusion to a redemptive character ark. Sacrificing self for the greater good may rob your hero of the happy ending he has earned… but emulates life.

Life is not fair!
Life does not recognize good above evil!

The Chernobyl Three embody that sacrifice. During the meltdown, three brave individuals offered their lives to stop a second explosion, stepping forward to drain the reserve under immense radioactivity. This act saved billions, preventing the explosion of three additional nuclear generators.

Sacrificial love of a mother

#4 Death by Time

Time is the ultimate killer: silent, unseen, responsible for more deaths than any other cause in human history. This can manifest in many ways… Perhaps your hero exists in a time before modern medicine. Dying from a routine illness can add a human element, removing the pedestal. I would recommend avoiding dysentery though. I’m sure David Livingstone, Francis Drake, and Henry V could attest to the horrific nature of this unfortunate liquid legacy. Or perhaps they have lived a long and satisfying life. The final moments are spent walking into the sunset or presented in eulogy form. A final celebration of their triumphs in death makes for a satisfying end for a beloved character. OR
A weapon out of time can also be a fitting conclusion. Let’s imagine: a hero storms into battle with nothing but a bow and arrow against assault rifles… An ancient artifact delivers the final blow against our hero! BOOM!

#5 Death by Blows

For those mentally in the gutter, you are excused. Death by blows, or in this case multiple blows demonstrates a character’s drive and resilience – Never Giving Up. Often depicted in action movies as a character is stabbed, shot, choked, punched, tortured, waterboarded all on their way to save something of incredible importance.

Personally, I lean away from excess violence, but I do believe there is a tasteful method to this variation. The Princess Bride and End of Watch come to mind for visual aids (film references in a literary blog how uncouth😬🙄). The concept remains sound, watching a hero battle to their final breath against all odds delivers the goods. Severe trauma is the leading late death contributor, giving our hero a window to triumph before ultimately meeting his untimely death.

As readers, we want GOOD to prevail.
We WANT to see the good guys triumph!

Honorable Mentions:
Stabbed in the Back – Deadly Betrayal
Debilitating Disease – Handle with in-home care
Slipping in the Shower- Relatable
Allergic Reaction – Break their swollen hearts
Car Crash – Tired Trope

*Personal Favorite:
Crushed by a Vending Machine – Snack Attack

What is your personal favorite? 😉

Written and researched by Nathaniel Postell 


Next post – Poem “The song of mani-ac”

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37 Responses

  1. First u poison them, then u hit them with sth hard, then u shoot them and finally leave them in water…just in case.

  2. nkdwhtguy says:

    It’s too bad that killing someone with kindness isn’t a real thing. 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Lol 😂 smart one…mmm, some ppl say killing by euthanasia is an act of kindness..

  3. How about death by boredom? 🤔

  4. Ink Craft says:

    Easy 😉 Death by wetness overdose 😇☺️

  5. I’m laughing at this because the other night at my Writers Circle, I told one of my critique partners that she better not kill the baby (15 month old) or I’m going to stop reading. Several other people have already died in her WIP because it’s set in a war torn country. She had asked if it was too much destruction.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Haha so this post has just arrived in time 😉
      I’m going to say I’m not so big fan either: of the stories where kids r murdered or suffering… Eh, hope she’ll change her plot 🙂

  6. Death by chocolate is my favorite. Takes a while though.

  7. Tom Darby says:

    Death by stroke, brought on by sitting on loo and pushing to hard, i.e. Elvis Presley. Think about the person who flushed that fatal turd down the hole, realizing afterward that had they retrieved it instead, no matter how nasty, could have sold that piece of sh*t for a million bucks or more, provided they could prove provenance.

  8. kinkyacres says:

    More than one person has died in the arms of a lover! Making love that is, phucking does not count!

  9. librepaley says:

    Great piece. Amazing how we can put characters through almost anything, even when at the same time as liking them. Yes, perhaps the best thing we can do for them is a memorable or noble death – given the inevitable.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      I think I answered it …but maybe something distracted me and I forgot 😱😱 I don’t know, anyway…😂 I prefer to kill in the book, but let them live in the movies 😜 if it’s possible 🧐

  10. masercot says:

    Or, you can write super-spy novels where neither the villain nor the hero actually dies for real.

  11. ortensia says:

    Scare to death……👻

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