Die Hard

Inciting Event: Terrorists shoot the security guards and take the building.

First Plot Point: Irrevocable decision occurs when John gives himself away by setting off the fire alarm.

First Pinch Point: The terrorists get to flex their muscles by forcing John to jump down the elevator shaft. This act of falling foreshadows the climax. It’s a clear reminder that the terrorists are willing to kill and that they’re playing for keeps.

Midpoint: After the SWAT team fails and the terrorists blow up LAPD’s “RV,” John realizes he’s got to take action. Whereas before he was merely avoiding the terrorists while trying to signal for help, now he must fully engage them because there is no help. He’s it. It’s do or die.

Second Pinch Point: Hans gets to show his power by killing Ellis and threatens to keep shooting the hostages until he gets to someone John cares about. We get a solid sense that he can defeat John, even if it’s only by killing Holly. It ramps up the stakes for John and foreshadows the final battle in the vault.

Third Plot Point: Even though they weren’t able to kill him, they shoot the glass, knowing it will incapacitate John. They’ve now seen him and know his name. John is at his low point as he pulls glass out of his feet and confesses to Powell his failures as a husband. He is exhausted and there is no help in sight.

Climax: There’s more than a little bit of doubt as to who will win since John is down to just two bullets and Hans has Holly in the vault. We’re surprised by John’s trick (hiding the gun behind his back with tape) and skill (shooting the bad guys) but we know for sure he’s won when Hans falls off the building.

Climactic Moment: FBI sniper starts shooting at him as he tries to get the hostages off the roof. He must jump off the top of the building in order to avoid the gunfire and Hans blowing up the roof.

Resolution: Holly and John exit the building together. Two loose threads are tied up: Powell shooting Karl, and Holly punching the reporter. Happy ending. They ride off in the limo.

(Submitted by Monalisa Foster.)

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

Sign up to receive K.M. Weiland’s monthly e-letter and receive her free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.