This week I lost a very dear friend, my 18 year old cat. She’d been with me side by side through huge changes in my life, and really was a furry family member. For me part of the healing process after a death is telling stories about that person (furry or otherwise). I realized this was my way when I lost my father when I was 19, and my best friend (of the human variety) 5 and a half years ago.
When I lost my father, friends would try and steer me away from talking about him, just so I wouldn’t cry. But I began to realize that if I could talk about him, share stories about him, it helped ease the pain. The same was true when I lost my very dear friend Noelle, and even now when I lost my crazy, sweet kitty, Growl Tiger. Stories and remembrances help me secure that person in my life and remind me how lucky I was to have them when I did.
Now, being a writer, I’ve realized that grief and grieving can have a big impact on fictional characters as well. Even if the reader NEVER sees the death, or even the grief, you as the writer should be fully aware of how this person you’ve created grieves. Who have they lost in their lives? How old were they? What changed when that happened? This is something to be looked at for all characters- your villains too. Unless they are a socio-path, humans grieve. We all grieve differently, but we grieve. If you add that to your characters, you give them one more layer of life.
Now go out and hug everyone you love, and get back to writing.
|Growl Tiger Sept 1993- May 22, 2012|