Welcome back to our discussion on story structure. If you’re joining in for the first time, you can read about the first three parts here, here, and here. Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get to it.
Here we are at the resolution. The second plot point has happened and we’re rushing toward the finish line. Our hero must now step up and be heroic. No new information should enter the story after the second plot point. Our hero should have all the clues s/he needs now to solve the mystery/rescue the person in distress/get the bad guys/win the heart of their true love/save the world.
This is the thing: make sure your hero/heroine is the primary catalyst in the story’s resolution. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but you’ll find that if you give the readers what they crave, they’ll tend to do their part and recommend your book. Put your hero right in the middle of it all, not off to the side as some namby pamby wuss who doesn’t step up and earn their keep.
Can heroes die? Sure they can. It’s up to you whether your hero dies as s/he solves the major dilemma of the story and saves the town from being swept away when the dam bursts, or whatever the crisis is in your story. If your hero dies, make sure its because they saved others and that it has maximum impact on your readers. You don’t want a dry eye in the house. Your hero becomes the martyr in the last act, whether they die or not. They’re willing to die to reach their goal. Most of the time, they don’t… who wants to read a romance that ends with the couple torn apart by death, right? That’s where the willingness comes in handy.
Let’s take one last look at Billie Jean. She faced her mysterious antagonist, put her life on the line, maybe even went to Egypt against his/her direct instructions to get to the bottom of things… and wins. How she does all that– well, I haven’t figured it all out yet. Billie Jean’s story may not really ever make it into a book, but as the protagonist, she can’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for some other person to save her. She has to step up and solve the riddles herself. After all, what would her inspiration, Indiana Jones, do?