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Guide to Writing a Unique & Creative Obituary

How to Write a Great Obituary: A Step-by-Step Guide!!

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Guide to Writing a Unique & Creative Obituary
 John Millar   Published On Sep 08, 2022 | Updated on Jul 15, 2023  Student Guide

It is unfortunate, but we all know the pain of losing our close ones. It can be family, friends, colleagues, or even a pet. We can't deny our emotions, and we try to make that person alive in ourselves who is departed from us. That is the importance of writing an obituary.

What is an Obituary?

When you lose your close ones, you want to tell people about their deeds and how their absence makes a difference in your life or this world. Publishing these in the form of words and sentences on newspapers, magazines, social media, and websites is what the obituary is for.

After the passing of a loved one, it can take days or even years to make peace with the loss. Well, you can’t get back the person you have already lost, but you can learn how to write an impeccable obituary which touches people's hearts.

So, here are detailed guidelines on how to write an obituary with real examples.

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8 Steps to Follow in Writing an Excellent Obituary

If you want to make some difference while writing about the loss you have just faced, you need to calm yourself and think. We suggest checking out the following steps at least once before you start writing:

Step 1 – Start with Your Own Obituary

If you see Boston Globe’s obituary column, you will realise it’s an exercise to fill your write-up with creativity. Ask yourself first, what is an obituary?” It’s a way to tell stories about the person you lose. It is not about death. Instead, it needs to be full of life. How do you want to be remembered, or what message do you want to deliver to your families, friends, relatives, etc.? Think about it. Once you have written your obituary, you will know the answers.

Step 2 – Weave a Story

People love to hear stories because it helps them to connect. You don’t need to follow a specific format. You can make it on your own. Ask yourself, How do I find an obituary from years ago?” It’s the story. According to the Citizens’ Voice obituary website survey, “The most innovative way to keep people busy finding an old obituary is always the story.” Share the most enjoyable, silly, or soothing memories you have with the deceased person. Nothing can be more engaging in an obituary.

Step 3 – Use Different Timelines

When you are sharing memories connecting with someone who has left you forever, you can't maintain the chronology. It’s a bit unrealistic. So instead, share whatever comes to your mind. All you need to follow is to link the events. You can use different themes, for example, the life lessons you have received from that person.

Writing an obituary doesn't require formal structure or tones. So, give your ideas wings and jot them down calmly. Then, to maintain the flow of the obituary, you just need to conduct a little research. You can also take others' opinions when choosing the theme for the write-up.

Must Read: Dialogue Writing

Step 4 – Add a Sprinkle of Humour

Was the deceased person enjoyed telling jokes and loved to make people laugh? Then you can use a little sarcasm, humour, and fun in your words. It will be a real tribute to that person. Readers will also love to connect with your write-up if there is a trace of humour in the obituary. They will never forget this when busy finding an obituary for a specific person. For example, you can share funny events about the person or make fictional fun to allow a little smile on the family's face.

Step 5 – Make Use of Some Quotes/Lyrics

Finding the right words all the time is a pretty impossible task. So, you don’t have to do that. Instead, you can use some famous quotes from books or movies and lyrics from songs that the person was attached to. It not only helps you to personalise the obituary but also shares some impactful memories that matter. There is no rule that you only have to include only the deceased person's favourite quotes or lyrics. You can use anything relatable for that part of the obituary.

Step 6 – Write First Person

Most websites use the third person (he, she, they) when writing an obituary. It's a tradition, but you don't need to follow that rule. So, use the first person (I, we, our) to add a personal touch to your write-up. For example, write, "We spent a great time together when we were at the same nursing batch,” instead of, “She was good in her nursing class.” Using the first person helps to add more love and affection for the person. So, always use your own words when writing an obituary.

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Step 7 – Ask People to Share Their Memories

What’s an obituary for? The deceased person is not going to hear or read what you have written about him in an obituary. It’s for his near and dear ones. That's why don't take the whole strain on your shoulder. Instead, ask the relatives or friends of that person to share their thoughts and memories. It's a unique way to add others' thoughts to your obituary to make it more engaging.

Step 8 – Proofread Anyway

You can’t avoid proofreading and editing when writing an obituary. Would you like the remembrance of your closed ones if they are filled with grammatical or spelling errors? To eliminate this risk, you have to allow some time to proofread and edit the obituary. If you are unable to do it, ask help to your seniors or classmates to check it for you so that you can publish an exceptional obituary.

Must Read: Predicate in a Sentence

Final Thoughts,

So, that is all it takes to write an impactful and unique obituary. If you are still in two minds, you can check a few obituary templates or sample obituary to find a customised obituary for a specific person so that you can gather more ideas for the time you will have to write one. Then, follow the guidelines to create a standard structure for the obituary and start writing. Choose your words very carefully, and go ahead!

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