NaNoWriMo Update II And Reacting to Death

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Well, week two is as good as over. Things are rather crazy and I am two days behind; but I have decided to write every day and not worry too much about word counts. I have a lot going on with school, so I am very busy – almost too busy – and focusing on writing has been hard.

An issue or question has come up. I am not good at writing my characters when they are reacting to death. They are in urgent situations and have little time to break down and cry for three days, but I find it hard to find a balance between grief and responsibility. If you know what I mean… That is, I wonder whether my characters’ reaction to the death of a loved one, for example, is believable.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Please share in the comments! It’d help a lot. How’s your month coming along?

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13 responses »

    • Exactly. My character doesn’t have any time to think about it too much, but I still want to keep it somewhat realistic. I can’t stand stories – especially in movies – where the world has basically gone under, tons of people have died, but the heroes are alive and laughing and joking at the end. Like, if I went through all that, I would be far too traumatized to even stand for weeks and weeks after that. Just my opinion…

  1. I am struggling with this same issue, except I am trying to write how 5 different characters react to one person’s death. I thought it would be easy, it hasn’t been in the least.

    I’m trying to imagine myself as each of these personalities to try and over come the hurdle. Good luck, we can do this!

  2. The only advice I have is to keep in mind that everyone in the real world reacts to death differently, so there isn’t a ‘right’ way. It’s just a matter of discerning what is believable for your characters. Like, are they the kind of personal capable of pushing thoughts to the back burner, or are they impulsive, or do they channel emotions as a need to be physically active, etc. Sometimes I need to write the scene several ways before I find a method that feels ‘right’ for the given character.

  3. I would suggest researching the 5 stages of grief and looking to see where they might best fit into your story. The Denial stage is pretty easy. They refuse to believe its true, or refuse to acknowledge their grief because that makes it real. Anger is another stage so your characters may use this as energy to get through any upcoming trials. Not grieving is damaging to a person’s psyche though, so i would recommend allowing your characters to break down or go soul seaching SOMEWHERE along the journey unless you actually want them to end up a little bit damaged. (Hi Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader!)

  4. Congrats on your progress!!! I’m at about 15k and much like you, have decided to set a goal to write every day vs focusing on word counts, which in and of itself is a huge accomplishment!!

    I agree with Naomi Harvey on the 5 stages of grief. If your characters are busy in their lives, perhaps have them dive into responsibilities to distract themselves from their grief, which (though unhealthy) is very common. Then when they have a chance to look up and grieve, select the stage of grief that best suits them.

    Good luck!!! 🙂

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