The Secret Language of Stories is a twelve-step story analysis method I use both to plot my own stories and to teach writing and story comprehension to my students. A complete discussion of the twelve steps may be found on the SECRET LANGUAGE OF STORIES page on Carolee's Blog.
Some of the most memorable characters in literature and film are the minor characters. Minor characters serve many roles. They often provide comic relief, give us a contrast to the hero, provide a slightly different point of view, demonstrate a rivalry, share insights into different cultures, and show us the motivations of antagonists. They might be a friend, sidekick, evil minion of the villian, or a "threshold guardian" momentarily preventing the hero from leaving the Old World to enter the New World. They often act as mentors, sometimes just for a scene or two, passing along vital information or giving aid to the other characters in the story.
In contrast, the hero of the story rarely dies at the MIDPOINT, in fact I can't think of a single example. It would be difficult to carry the story forward if he did.
Write a two line couplet, an epitaph (a short text honoring a deceased person) or an epigram (a brief, clever, or memorable statement) that might befit a grave marker. An aphorism (original and memorable idea) that reflects the character's beliefs could also be used. The message could be humorous or might be profound. The headstone may be drawn on paper and include elaborate artwork or might be sculpted with clay, Play Doh, or Sculpey.
Headstones are interesting because they use just a few lines to capture the essence of a person's entire life or belief system. You might want to start by exploring some examples on the internet.
Often these final words are poetic. Some poets even write their own epitaphs before they die. Check out the one below by W.B. Yeats.