Avoid Pitfalls when Writing Obituaries
These are the common pitfalls make the difference between a mediocre obituary and an outstanding meaningful obituary. Learn how you can avoid these pitfalls when writing obituaries for your loved ones.
Why You Might Hit Pitfalls When Writing Obituaries
Writing obituaries is often a sad task because you have to do it after someone you love has passed on. Because of this, sometimes you can make mistakes with the obituary that pulls the focus away from the celebration of life and announcement of death that an obituary really is. Also, if you’ve never written an obituary before, you may not fully understand what you need to write about.
What is an Obituary?
An obituary is a notice that announces the death of someone with a description of the person’s life and list of family members. An obituary can be published in a newspaper, online or in the funeral program. There are subtle differences in the obituary based on where it will be published. Find out how to write an obituary at ObituariesHelp.org
What are the Common Pitfalls When Writing Obituaries?
There are many but the most common ones are:
This pitfall is the most common. Writing about the family or about how the person writing the obituary feels rather than writing about the deceased is not appropriate. Do not write about how the family is feeling after the death of their loved one. Phrases to avoid are:
Writing Too Much About the Death
It is not necessary to mention the cause of death, although it is perfectly appropriate to do so. But if someone died from an illness it is not appropriate to explain details of the illness up until the death. These phrases are appropriate although as I mentioned, not necessary:
Writing Too Much About the Funeral
There is a subtle difference between announcing the funeral in an obituary and describing the funeral. A funeral should be announced, but not described in an obituary. It is not a party invitation, it is an announcement of the passing of a dear person so that every one can come and pay their respects. Give dates, times, locations and required dress or etiquette of the funeral, but describing the casket, flowers and menu is not appropriate.
Writing that Uses Clichés
The interesting thing about clichés is that some people understand them and others don’t at all. It may be completely clear to you what is meant but imagine you are new to the English Language, would you understand these phrases:
This is a touchy subject, but unless you have spoken to the deceased about whom they would want to thank in their obituary or are writing your own obituary, thanking people is not appropriate for several reasons:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Walters recommends ObituariesHelp.org for Newspaper Obituaries, free genealogy resources, guides to building a family tree, sample letters of sympathy and condolence, written examples of eulogies as well as help with all aspects of funeral planning.