No More Crying For the Dead

Crying for the dead

I’m done writing stories about dead people. More precisely, the teary-eyed, reflecting-on-those-that-we’ve-lost stories. When I began my journey as a writer ages ago (or maybe about six months, whatever), I was quick to jump on that bandwagon. I wrote short stories like The Broken Bell, His Weekly Visit and A Hard Road to Walk. Fellow bloggers were kind enough to like the posts and even make a few remarks about the sentimentality of the pieces and at the time, I felt pretty good about writing them.

Having grown SOOO much over the past few months (Warning: The author’s ego is starting to inflate. Keep a distance of at least 500 feet.) and having read SOOO many other short stories that use the same jaded theme, I’ve decided that while those stories may give the reader a momentary “Awww” feeling, they are without substance and most are unremarkable. To me, they are a quick and easy way out of a writing assignment. Rather than putting forth real effort to devise and develop an actual story with a Character, a Journey and a Twist, those stories are the equivalent of My Dog Ate My Homework. Or perhaps, My Adorable, Loyal Dog Ate My Homework And Then Tragically Died And I Miss Him.

It’s not difficult to cobble together a soulful lament about a lost love,  family member or friend. Heck, if I can do it, anyone can (and they do). And yes, everyone can relate, but honestly, it’s just too easy to fall back on the pain of loss instead of demonstrating real creativity and originality. It’s cheating.

I know I need to constantly push myself as a writer and I’m trying to eliminate the shortcuts and escape routes that I’ve taken. It’s not that I don’t like sad stories. I just don’t want to write them. At least not the kind that rely entirely on reflections of grief to move the story along. I can do better.

Of course, Death is a popular character in literature. Many famous authors (some of whom are also decent writers) have built careers on the shoulders of the Reaper and that’s fine. I love Poe. I love King. I love Lovecraft (that last one is just fun to say, isn’t it?) and I have no intention of abandoning my horror fiction, but that’s entirely different.  There will still be plenty of death and terror and suffering in my writing but loving memories of the dearly departed will stay in the grave.

In closing, I would like to lovingly reflect on those stories I wrote that are now gone forever. Writing them brought such joy and now that they’re gone, there are days when all I can do is gaze out the window and recall times gone by. Life is hard. Letting go is harder. *Sniff* Goodbye old friends. (Teardrop falls)

See you on the other side. (Choked cry… Violin music fades in. Picture fades to black.)


6 thoughts on “No More Crying For the Dead

  1. I’m sorry I only read that now, I wasn’t around much. I find this a very interesting topic. I think it can be very liberating, and sometimes necessary to write about these things/people. I seldom do, because I don’t like to expose my feelings, but I can understand why people do it and like to read about people (helps with the writing 😉 ). It doesn’t have to be an easy way out either. If we don’t remember–and write about–our loved ones, who will? A good, short piece can celebrate their lives, their characters or quirks, some scene you don’t want to forget, a funny adventure… anything really. It only gets boring when it’s too repetitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I see your point of view. From a personal perspective, if one is dealing with the grief of losing a loved one, writing about it can be cathartic and there’s no harm in that. I think most everyone can relate to the melancholy felt by the absence of someone special and there can be a time or place for that. My point is that (for me) the purpose of writing is to elicit a response from the reader. The stronger the response, the better the writing. It takes little effort to elicit sadness from death. Too often I see writers relying on that as the kicker for their story. It requires much greater work and creativity to craft a tale that gets a good laugh, a gasp of surprise, a terror inspired chill down the spine or gut-wrenching anger. Using the “Missing/reflecting on a lost love” device is setting the bar pretty low. Anyone can do that.

      If other writers choose that route, that’s fine. I expect more from myself and I would rather find more challenging ways to thrill readers.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It does make sense. I’m not sure if people use this as a kicker for the story, I’m not experienced enough as a writer to see that (I’m usually happy enough if I have an idea about what to write at all…). Seen like that, you have a challenge before you. And it’s also good advice.

        Liked by 1 person

Speak and Be Heard! (or write and be seen, actually)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s