Each of us is the hero of their own story. Write about a person in a position of no great authority or importance, someone with no expectation for heroism or greatness. Toss this person into something that scares the living shit out of them–something well out of their weight class. They must not only fight to survive, but must bide their time and set conditions for success. The situation must be one with no possibility of backing out. They’re compelled to resist wrongs being done with a slim chance of escaping imprisonment, exile, death, or whatever consequence they fear most. Try to get the whole idea down in one sitting.
A writers’ group friend recently brought up the subject of how people die in books. She seemed to be somewhat at a loss for variety. Well, here are a few that come to mind from my own reading:
“Airlock Flush”–standard space opera version of walking the plank
Deconstruction by runaway nano-devices–Crichton’s Prey
Execution by pneumatic bolt driver (livestock-killing device)–McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men
Grief-induced insanity followed by drowning oneself–Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Grief-induced insanity followed by wandering into the desert to die–Fante’s Ask the Dust
Individually-targeted military micromissile–Iain Banks’ Ask Phlebas
Glorious Homeric death in battle: “…then from his tender neck Aias Oiliades, in anger for Amphimakhos, lopped his head and bowled it through the melee till it tumbled in dust at Hektor’s feet.” –from The Iliad
Here’s a writing prompt: Come up with five unusual ways to die, pick one at random, and write a flash piece about someone’s last few minutes of life.