The villain was, like the protagonist, a child soldier/mercenary, who served with him. The villain was captured, tortured, and snapped. He feels a burning hatred for the protagonist, believing that he left him behind. The protagonist however feels heavy guilt, blaming himself for not saving him.

Now. They meet each other, when the protagonist infiltrates a building and is then faced by the villain. Now, I don't know how to write that scene, though. Like what should I avoid? What clichés should I avoid for example?

  • First, is this supposed to be their first meet-up, but not their last or is this their first and final showdown? Also, does the villain still have a heart? Is this a villain that could be saved or is he now too far gone and has to be vanquished no matter what? Lastly, did they have a friendship before, like were they as close as brothers, or is being child soldiers their only common ground? – Joshua A Feb 5 '16 at 2:56
  • It's their first showdown. It's the latter. He has gone too far and needs to be killed no matter what. Also, yes they had a brother like relationship. – DarkYagami Feb 5 '16 at 14:26
  • Have you read kane and Abel? – Akash Feb 7 '16 at 16:03

Western audiences are into heroic self sacrifices in "brother v. brother" conflicts, such as the archetypal death of Ben Kanobi at the hands of Darth Vader in Star Wars, Episode 4.

Some, like the "death" of Neo at the end of Matrix Revolutions or of Ripley at the end of Alien 3 include Christian symbolism.

The hero's journey usually entails the correcting of wrongs in some way. As such, perhaps your protagonist offers his life, soul, honor, etc., to his long-lost friend. The villain does what he will with it. Perhaps he then gets pulverized by bits of building falling on him. That's up to you.

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Write it like it is. Write what happens. Write from the hearts of the characters. Bring it to the end you have chosen to continue to the story. If they don't come to the end you want, maybe something is wrong with your plot, or with your knowledge of the characters.

The more you can expose the characters through their action and dialog, spoken or internal, the more readers will understand the characters, and the more they will be emotionally bound into the result. It will matter who lives and who dies -- and how they live or die.

I'm picturing this as the climax of the story, with creamy character development leading to this resolution. How the actual death happens needs to be consistent with the characters. I would be disappointed if the villain died "randomly" by stuff falling on his head. I think, without knowing your characters, that I would prefer the protagonist to actively kill the villain. Rocks tumbling on him seems cliche. A third party intervening as a Judge deciding who should live, but that's probably been done to the point of cliche.

Only you know the characters. Only you know what is proper in the story, and consistent with the lives they live and their emotional state. Only you know the secondary characters, their loyalties, and their capabilities.

I would suggest not worrying about cliche. Do what is real for your characters. Write from their reality. Don't take short cuts. Show us all the scars and blood, physical and emotional. Your story will be compelling. Your villain will die as he must, and your protagonist will survive and be altered by the experience.

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Personally, I'd think a few clichés to avoid are:

1) The villain does something stupid so the protagonist has no choice but to kill him, in self-defense of defense of an innocent. This relieves the protagonist of responsibility in the kill; and to me makes for a less satisfying ending.

2) The villain realizes all is lost and kills themself. Again, relieves the protagonist of responsibility.

3) Any long-winded explanation from either party.

To me, the best confrontation plays to the characters. The protagonist feels guilty and caused the antagonist. The antagonist agrees and hates the protagonist. The antagonist feels completely justified in killing the protagonist; but the protagonist does NOT feel completely justified; he feels he is responsible for turning his brother into a monster and it is unfair that his failing will now force him to act again against his brother, and actually take the life of his brother after destroying it. The antagonist is all too willing to play on this guilt and goad the protagonist, but somehow the protagonist has to choose to do the one thing he hates most in the world, and compound his own guilt, in order to save innocent lives.

Many final confrontations are too pat. The protagonist dispatches the antagonist with bravado and a clever catch-phrase. No regrets, no angst, no indecision, no emotion but vengeance satisfied. The antagonists have zero saving traits, they are psychopathic evil and care for nobody but themselves, power and money. This makes them easier to kill.

But that is cliché. Still popular, but expected; in most movies the only twist or surprise is in exactly how the beleaguered antagonist manages to trick the antagonist, or pull a rabbit out of the hat to pull off the kill.

If you want to avoid clichés, don't make it emotionally easy for the hero to make the kill, and don't let the villain relieve him of one ounce of responsibility by acting stupidly or rashly. Force the hero to make a deliberate kill he has to think about despite having a clear choice to let the villain escape.

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