12 Tips for Writing a Great Obituary
When writing an obituary, it can be difficult to know where to start. An obituary is meant to be a tribute to the life of a person who has passed away, and as such, should be thoughtfully written, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore. Think of an obituary as an opportunity to share your loved one’s life story. Here are some tips for writing a great obituary.
Tip 1: Start by looking at examples of touching obituaries
One of the best things you can do before writing a great obituary is to know what a well written obituary looks like. For some beautiful obituary examples, it can be helpful to read through obituaries that are already posted on Ever Loved. You can find great obituary examples of obituaries that were posted by real families using Ever Loved if you’re looking for inspiration.. Writing an obituary for a religious loved one? For a grandfather? A mother? An activist? Get an understanding of what these types of obituaries look like.
Tip 2: Use a template
Another easy way to get started is to use a template instead of going it alone. Templates allow you to plug in information and provide you with the foundation of a great obituary. You can edit templates as you go, add in important information (or take out parts you don’t like). Templates are a great way to get started if you’re unsure about length, structure and content.
Tip 3: Be mindful of length
An obituary should be long enough to capture the essence of the person's life, but not so long that it becomes tedious to read. A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 250 words, if you're interested in an obituary that's an average length. However, now that obituaries can be posted online (for free if you're using Ever Loved!), obituaries can be as long (or short) as you’d like. In general, you want the obituary to share the story of your loved one's life without turning into a novel or a hassle for visitors to read.
Tip 4: Write about what made the deceased unique
When starting to write an obituary, think about what made your loved one special. Did they have any nicknames? How did they get those nicknames? Were they known for hosting outrageous get togethers? For being funny? For doing community service? What was special about them and what made their life unique? These are some questions to get you started when trying to identify the ways that your loved one was unique or special. If you're stuck, consider how they made others feel, what they did in their lifetime that they were proud of, or some of the first words that come to mind when you think of them.
Tip 5: Include special moments or a small story
Many great obituaries also include a memorable story or two about the person. These stories can be touching or funny or just highlight a moment that truly captured who the person was. If you're including a story, make sure it's relevant and reflective of the life of the deceased. Touching obituaries often have personal stories (even stories of struggle or triumph) shared throughout the obituary.
Tip 6: Include information on their passions and hobbies
Including information on the deceased's passions and hobbies is another great way to help paint a picture of who they were. Did they love to travel? Did they enjoy painting or playing music? What did they do in their spare time that made them happy? Including this kind of information can give readers a better understanding of what made the person special. This is also a great way to keep the reader interested since reciting a long list of the decedent's biographical information doesn't always make for the most interesting read.
Tip 7: Include reference to important events or accomplishments in their life
Another great way to give readers a snapshot of the person's life is to include mention of important events or accomplishments. This can be anything from graduating from college to raising children to winning an award. If there are any major moments in the person's life that you think should be highlighted, this is the place to do it.
Tip 8: Stay true to their personality
Throughout the entire process of writing and crafting the obituary, it's important to stay true to the personality of the deceased. An obituary should be a reflection of their life, so make sure that the language and tone you use is in line with how they would have wanted to be remembered. If they were funny and humorous, give the obituary a sense of this by including some jokes or other lighthearted references. If they were deeply religious, include some of their favorite verses or religious scriptures. If they were into poetry or literature, include a quote from their favorite poet or author at the end of the obituary. Memorable obituaries are most often the ones that stay true to the decedent's personality.
Tip 9: Write about what inspired them or how they inspired others
Touching obituaries often talk about what inspired the deceased or how they inspired others. This could be anything from a great act of charity or kindness to simply being an amazing friend or family member. What did your loved one do that inspired them or inspired others? Why was their life worth celebrating? These are the types of things you can include in the obituary to inspire others and show why the person was so special.
Tip 10: Include reference to their favorite quotes, readings, sayings, or life lessons they imparted
One great way to personalize an obituary is to include reference to the deceased's favorite quotes, readings, sayings, or life lessons. This could be anything from a favorite Bible verse to a poem they loved or a saying they always said. If there are any particular words of wisdom that your loved one was known for, this is the place to include them. These references can help show what was important to the person and how they lived their life.
Tip 11: Double check the facts
As you're putting the obituary together, it's important to make sure that all of the information is correct. This includes dates of birth and death, names of family members, locations, timelines, as well as any other biographical information. Be sure to triple check everything to avoid any mistakes.
It's also a good idea to have someone else read over the obituary before you submit it for publication. They may be able to catch something that you missed or suggest ways to make it more personal. When it comes to writing an obituary, taking your time is key. There's no need to rush, so make sure to take the time to get it right.
If you've posted the obituary on Ever Loved, keep in mind that you'll always be able to edit the obituary, so making a mistake is okay and easily fixed!
Tip 12: Proofread the obituary before posting
One last tip for writing a great obituary is to proofread it before posting. This includes checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. It's also a good idea to have a friend or family member proofread the obituary before you post it so that you have a second set of eyes to double check if there's anything you missed. Once you're satisfied with the obituary, you can post it on Ever Loved for everyone to see.