EXERCISE Death Scene

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Diana, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. One of the most POWERFUL scenes you can have is the death scene. And I'm not talking about killing off Nameless Character #23. I am talking about your main character or one of your supporting cast characters. Players and readers form a bond with these characters over the course of your plot. When someone of importance dies it should be a meaningful, and emotional scene. The emotion could be sadness, horror, or even glee if people hated that particular character.

    In this exercise, you are going to write a death scene for one of your favorite characters.
    It can be ANY kind of death scene. A battle. Old age. An accident. A dream. But this character needs to DIE.


    • Make sure to display the character's personality in their final moments. Even when they are dying, their quirks, opinions, fears, and more will still hold true.
    • Don't get too poetic or use a lot of purple prose with the scene. These can distract the readers from what is going on and diminish the impact of the death.
    • It's all in the little details. Breathing, feelings, touches. These things add to the scene.
    • Don't drag it out forever. If a character is laying there dying, are they really going to have the strength for an hour long session of dialog? If they are bleeding out, are they actually going to be able to keep fighting off that bear?
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  2. Once more Seth had been cornered by the knights that had been hunting him for countless years now. Four of those knights now lay dead, their bodies strewn about the dirt road he had been traveling down. One remained alive, Drathius Volar. The ilarian elf that was currently the chosen champion of the dark god, Ozmosis. Many times had the two of them crossed swords and each time Seth had come away victorious, though he had never managed to kill Drathius. This time... well... This time Seth was not so fortunate.

    A surprised grunt of pain passed through Seth's lips as Drathius' bastard sword rammed into his gut. The wickedly serrated blade wrought tremendous damage as it ran the tall elf through completely. Twin pools of brilliant blue widened in surprise at this turn of events. Death was something he was ready to embrace... Yet not at the hands of the violet eyed bastard that now sneered at him. Surely the fates were mocking him. How many times had he been at death's door only to be pulled away before he could pass through it?

    Seth's vision wavered as he kept his gaze locked with Drathius'. The tall, golden haired elf was saying something, a look of of exultant triumph on his angular features. Seth couldn't hear those words, but he could imagine exactly what the bastard said. Every breath he took was agony as his life's blood gushed freely from around the blade that impaled him. He tightened his grip upon his long sword and gathered every ounce of strength he had left in one final act. If he was going to die... well.. he wasn't going to die alone. He was going to take this bastard with him.

    With a defiant, blood frothed roar, Seth brought his sword up with that final surge of strength. Drathius, in mid sentence, was silenced as the sword struck home, ramming up through his throat and out the back of his skull. Oh how Seth savored that instant of complete shock that washed over his foe's features. An instant later his hand lost its grip upon his sword, leaving it thoroughly embedded in Drathius' skull as the champion of Ozmosis simply toppled over never to move again.

    Seth's legs gave out a moment later and he collapsed to his knees, causing a weakened cry of pain to pass through his blood stained lips as Drathius' blade drove deeper into him upon its handle hitting the blood soaked ground. Were it not for that sword, he would have collapsed face first into the bloodied dirt. Instead it kept him propped in a kneeling position. His entire body was going numb and darkness was closing in on him. As death extended its hand for him, Seth willingly grasped it... and let go. In that instant his final, shallow breath passed through his lips. He finally had the peace he wanted...
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  3. The bedroom was once lavish but someone had stripped it down, removed silk drapes and hangings and piled the silvery ornaments and 'pretty' things in a corner. The curtain was flung open letting in the morning sunlight where it caressed the perpetrator's sleeping body, long black gray streaked hair shone darkly. Some minute shift of the air had the Lord Commander rolling over in tangled white sheets, wrapping them further around him. Drake pushed himself up to sitting, eyes shut tight against the glare of the morning sun.

    Drake's time in this kingdom had been strange, he'd been threatened and disrespected and the most amazing of all, he'd been surprised. Not by the assassin in the corner. No, he hadn't noticed that yet. Drake was still firmly encased in lazy morning happiness. He liked a certain tiny Queen. She was a sweet girl somewhere underneath the layer of crazy that she had formed on top and every day he was with her, he felt more protective of her. She desperately needed a protector... Someone who could guide her out of the deep well of crazy that she was in.

    Perhaps today they would go riding.

    The soft whooshing noise caught him completely by surprise, for a moment he thought there was a maid in his quarters. It wouldn't have been the first time he had shooed them away. A yawn caught him off guard the same time as the arrow did, the momentum pulling him forward with it.

    Right through his chest.

    There was so much blood everywhere. So much blood. Drake managed to get partially untangled from his sheets enough to lay on his side. The arrow had knocked the air out of his lungs. He gurgled softly, his eyes unable to focus.

    The assassin stepped out of the shadows holding their crossbow. "Don't worry Lord Commander... Your daughter is safe in our hands."

    Drake's eyes struggled to focus as those words hit him with the same force as the arrow. A cry burst from his lips, blood trickling down them and tears welled in his eyes. So his guesses were right? She looked so much like his son... He was right. He would have sobbed had there been air in his lungs. Instead the encroaching blackness used the quickening of his broken heart to speed up the blood spilling out of his body and it crept in, stopping another gurgle as his eyes glazed over.

    Blood spread on white sheets in the morning sunshine. A discarded silver candlestick in the corner of the room sparkled pleasantly.
    #3 Saint Tribs, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
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  4. The sounds of metal screaming as its torn is what wakes Randal. Overhead, somewhere in the darkness was sparking. No, wait. His eyes are just closed. Forcing them open, he was startled by the red light flooding the cockpit. That was out of the ordinary, but he could deal with it. Gradually, his hearing finally resolved itself to be able to listen to the normal noises. Soft chatter was still audible on the comm link, but he could he couldn't make them make sense. Grabbing onto the controls, he forced himself to remember. He was... Shot. His Mech had been blasted against the side of a building. The one that caused it... The skull faced Mech with the new weapon. Groaning, he managed to let out a harsh laugh. Guess this was a successful test run of it.

    Slowly, he began testing systems. Power was on, life support struggling, weapons down, shields down, leg hydraulics barely operable, surprisingly. Probably because of those upgrades that Mack had managed to get for him. Slowly, oh so slowly, he began to bring the Mech to its feet. Swaying like a punch drunk fighter, he turned his attention to the comms again. Finally making some sense of the words, dread rolled through him and down his spine. Skull Face was decimating them. Nothing could stand up to it, as whatever it touched was destroyed. At close ranges... It was a massacre.

    Hearing a cry for help, he listened. That was... Shit. Ham was in trouble. Randal couldn't leave his wingman to face Skull alone. Slowly, he worked Stomper into a run. As the vibrations started, a icy spear of pain shocked through his body. Looking down, he saw another somber sight. His ejection system was broken, with one of the girders for it passing into his back. No wonder he felt a little stiff... With a miserable, painful chuckle, he forced himself on. One didn't come back from these wounds. Either they were lethal, or paralyzed. Realizing now why his legs weren't responding right, he idly reflected on how at least his Mech kept him from realizing what a pain in the ass it is.

    Coming around a corner, he saw a sight that would forever haunt him for the rest of his life. His squad, all engaged in a desperate struggle against the Kelvani. Ham was down, along with Squeaker and Hivel. Skulls back was to him, as that weapon was turned towards the skipper. His body took over, his mind just an observer as fresh pain lanced through him. Already realizing what he was doing, he approved inwardly. Metal crunched beneath his mech's feet, as he forced it to full.

    He saw Skull begin to turn, that weapons muzzle starting to collect orange particles that swirled through the air. It wasn't fast enough, though. It was doomed and, Randal knew, so was he. Turning on his transmitter for a moment, he rasped out "Smokey, signing off. Good luck, guys." Grabbing the weapon, he forced it up into the bottom of the skull. There was a sound like metal tearing as it worked, before the light enveloped Randal to. He felt pain, before sweet, blessed nothingness as he ceased to exist.
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  5. The night wind rustled through the leaves, whistling quietly through the capital city of Theed, the jewel of Naboo. It effortlessly grazed past a rooftop gazebo atop the Theed Cantina, where two current, yet former lovers, Jayce and Marla, faced each other bathed in the moonlight. They stared at each other in silent mutual understanding of the fact that they wouldn't both leave alive tonight.

    The bustle of the high-profile art gala beneath their feet within the Cantina was a constant reminder that they were each a hindrance to each other. Jayce was here tonight to protect; Marla, to kill.

    Another breeze lifted Marla's locks of luscious black hair, gently picking up her evening gown and pulling it taut against the curves of her form. Jayce marveled at the beauty of the woman he loved.

    "We used to be on the same team. Why can't it be like that again?" He pleaded.

    "You know I can't go back. The Order would never take me back. I don't want to hide who I am." Marla responded, shaking her head solemnly. "What about you? How much longer do you want to hide? How much longer do you want to be oppressed? Come with me, Jayce, and be free. Be who you are. Love who you want."

    The torment of the struggle within was apparent on Jayce's face. He could follow his heart, or follow his dreams; but he couldn't have both. Why must fate taunt him so?

    "No." Retorted Jayce's now quivering voice. "I won't join you." The pain of his decision - which even now he only half-believed - welled in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks.

    A pained sigh escaped Marla's lips as the sound of her lightsaber igniting pierced the dull of the night, its blade nearly the same ruby shade of red as the evening gown adorning her frame. Her own teary eyes gradually cleared as she came to resolution against this man who was now her enemy. "Then I guess this is the end."

    She charged.

    Jayce was still in the middle of forming a response when he was forced to defend himself, the azure blade of his own lightsaber barely activating in time to clash with hers. They engaged in a dizzying swirl of strikes and parries, each knowing the other's tendencies from years of practice against each other. Despite the lightning speed of their combat, Jayce tuned out.

    He wasn't focusing on her bodily cues, the positioning of her feet, or the movement of her blade. He was fixated on her eyes - the same brown eyes that used to light up when she laughed, that used to spill seemingly endless emotion even if she refused to speak. Now he could barely see past them.

    Jayce was shaken back into the moment by a near miss. Forcing himself to focus, he fell back into rhythm, holding his own against Marla's own reckless flurry of attacks. Despite having learned a few new tricks, her patterns remained mostly the same, and Jayce knew them all too well. There is a thrust coming. It'll open her up for a big counter after I block it. That's how this is going to end. He steeled his resolve, until another image of how their love used to be flashed into his mind, causing him to immediately reverse his decision. It is how this is going to end.

    He angled his shoulder to deflect Marla's incoming thrust, but instead of knocking it out of the way, he lifted his thumb off the switch of his lightsaber, as the blade retracted back into the hilt. No deflection occurred. Instead, Marla's blade pierced his chest, protruding out his back. Her eyes widened in horror as Jayce fell to his knees. Tears welling in her eyes, she tossed her lightsaber aside before dropping to her own knees to cradle him and break his fall. "No!" She cried, her hands bracing his head against her lap. His breaths shakily came and went, his eyes pained but still not quite vacant. Marla's lip quivered as she shook her head at how backwards the situation had become. "You were supposed to kill me... why didn't you block...?"

    Jayce's incredible pain was dulled by the pleasant memories that came flooding back to him. He looked up at his love, the sight of her against the night sky layered over by moments of their life. Despite the throbbing pain from the gaping hole in his chest, he finally felt whole again. "I'm with you again. That's why I didn't block," his voice whispered. His breathing grew shallower as Marla wept, her fingers running through Jayce's hair and stroking his face. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she sobbed.

    He groaned from the pain as he shook his head. "Don't be," his fading voice assured her as he felt himself beginning to become enveloped by the darkness. "I.. I want this. I love you, Marla." His own eyes moistened at the phrase, watching Marla weep in response, holding on to life by a thread long enough to hear her respond, "I love you too, Jayce."

    A weak smile crept upon Jayce's lips. Within moments, though, it faded, and the life drained from his eyes.

    Marla, now beside herself with grief, burst into tears at his side. She continued to apologize, even though she knew he couldn't hear. Her face clouded with pain and sorrow, she lifted Jayce's lifeless body and squeezed him tightly, muffling her cries into his shoulder just as she used to when they were still in love. Lifting her head to look at his face, with tears cascading down her cheeks, she opened up one palm as her lightsaber rattled off the concrete and flew into her hand. Clutching Jayce's body to hers, she lit the blade and thrust it back through the same wound in Jayce's body that she had created, eliciting a pained gasp as it pierced through her chest as well.

    Both bodies slowly slumping back to the ground, Marla's fingers weakly combed through Jayce's hair again. The pain was immense, but nonetheless she managed to press her lips against Jayce's, the adrenaline heightening the sensation of his lips brushing against hers. Her heart fluttered, satisfied in its death throes. She closed her eyes and clutched his body close to hers as the darkness whisked her away as well.

    Now, they could be together again. And nobody could judge them for it.
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  6. It's about time. I can't believe I lasted this long... The machine began to drag itself up the stone hill, back to the building he had just been so far from, the one building he devoted everything to. He he could feel the gears in his legs try to lock themselves up every once in a while, but he kicked back into place. His fine black trench coat had been torn and singed near the edges, because he refused to replace it, as it was a gift that showed all his experience. The red scarf was lazily wrapped around his neck, for he decided not to waste his energy with it. As he approached the door, he was reminded of the first time here. He came out of friendship, for the people that had been loyal to him their entire lives, even after their passing. He put a shaky hand on the doorknob, and pushed himself through.

    It was empty. Not a single soul to be found, and yet, it was as if the building had simply closed for the evening. Paper work was everywhere, scattered along the floors and tables, dropped by the frantic scrambling of all the people who worked here. He chuckled a little, recalling all the times people had bumped into each other. Strolling slowly down the halls and offices, he looked down at a piece of paper with lines and lines of data on it. That was when he earthquake in Verdilvia interfered with the battle. Oh, and that one- the decibels of people cheering for victory in Terravior. Louder than a jet engine.

    And as he slowly came across the desk of his friend Cervet, stopping to look at it, he came across an envelope, marked with his name- "For Cogs". He quickly reached for it, and opened it up.

    'Hey, Cogs. Look, we've been friends for a long time, and now that I'm getting old, it seems funny to me that you haven't changed in the slightest. You don't even change your clothes. But anyway, I wanted to tell you I'd be leaving this job in a few days. Nothing personal, I just don't want to die too soon. It's been great to be around you so much, you've been such a great person for me, even if you aren't really human. You've been so valiant and kind, something I think made you better than any human I would know. I think it's weird we won't be able to see each other as often, but-'

    A sudden pain shot through his chest as he dropped the letter, and grasped his shirt. Even being a clockwork, he could feel the pain of cogs breaking, to old, rusty, and brittle to handle anymore stress. And it was interfering with all the other ones, as his auto-repair system could do nothing about it, being too old to work anymore. Slowly, he limped his way down the hall, to wherever it led to.

    He had worked in the Fortamend War Council for at least 300 years, devoting his time to the safety of humans, the people that he was entirely designed to emulate. Now 600 years old, fifty years after the fall of Fortamend, he was dying, or rather, breaking. His auto-reapair system that used to replace any failing part of him was now useless, and the spring that powered him, in the place of a heart, was now rusting to a breaking point. And yet, he smiled. He was happy, or the equivalent of so to a machine. He had done everything and more that he was made to do. He emulated humans, he protected them, he made friends wit many, and died temporarily on many occasions. But this time, it was permanent.

    And finally, he made it to the dorms. He had slept here. Opening the door, he found his room to have been kept nice and tidy, with everything in place, and windows letting in the light of the setting sun. He made his way over to the bed, lay on it, and stared at the ceiling. The clockwork was content in every way possible. He didn't care that he didn't have a soul to give to the heavens. He would be remembered as the most humane machine of them all, surpassing even real people.

    But now was his time. He had been given more than he knew what to do with, and didn't have any more memory space to remember things. He closed his mechanical eyes, at peace, and whether it was because he was made to act that way or because he was more human now, it didn't matter much. He knew the cogs had done the last of their turning, and the spring was giving up...

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