Writing About Death

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I suck with negative emotions. I seriously have issues handling them. My normal reactions are to either get angry or numb. Sometimes both.

Whenever I need to deal with those kinds of feelings I write about them. (sorry for being a meta.) If I could deal with every situation by writing at or about it, I’d be a lot more comfortable. Obviously this isn’t a viable way to deal with the world. You have to go out there and hug people and feel your way through things. But written words are so much more safe.

Death is the most terrifying and the most life changing of all. In genre writing there is a stereotype of the death loving author. We cackle in glee as we kill one character after another, happily ripping your heart out. It’s a stereotype that writers love to promulgate and it’s a total lie.

We hate killing characters as much as you hate it, sometimes more. Remember that our imaginations brought them into the world and through a quirk of storytelling they had to die.

It’s an unwritten rule that death, in stories, must have a reason. Even when it seems utterly senseless, in a story there is always a reason for death. It’s such a major life changing and emotionally charged event that it has no choice but be important.

It’s easy for a writer to overuse death and with time it starts to lose its significance and the reader becomes desensitised. A good writer will make you feel and think about the death and let you grieve. A bad writer will pile bodies up like a bad slasher movie.

The essential narrative of death in stories makes death in the real world seem ever more senseless and stupid. No matter what we say or do few deaths in the real world make sense.

My in-laws lost their Grand-Matriarch last night. She passed in her sleep surrounded by family in her mid-nineties. It’s a great loss to the entire family and my heart goes out to them.

She was a strong willed woman with a great sense of humour and a large heart.

She’ll be missed.


Thoughts posted at The Creative Act.

Here I stand; she holds my hand.


The smell of wet earth fills my nostrils, and the late summer sun warms my face. The wind blows foretelling a storm.


Everyone is here but you. No one knows what to say but they all look beautiful. Suits, dresses, nice shoes, and colourful ties contrast the grey, green, and brown.


Read more at The Creative Act: http://thecreativeact.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/bye-mom/