Saturday, June 2, 2012


Sometimes, research is fun. Like that time Innova Discs sent me a starter kit to research Disc Golf for My Sister's Memories. Or, harassing companies to see if they'll sponsor me for other research, or bugging friends, or even just hanging out and people watching.

The fun kind of research: sibling dynamics :)
*I'm on the right*

But, sometimes, researching your's gut wrenching work.

I started a new project, potentially called After Elizabeth, a couple of days ago (which is why I've been MIA), and in three days managed to write 13,000 words (Woot! Victory dance!). And then I hit a point where I had to do something I've never done before. Write an obituary. For a girl who committed suicide.

This was hard for a couple of reasons:
1) Senior year of college, a friend killed herself. Her body was never found (to my knowledge, but that knowledge may be outdated now). I'd moved in 8th grade, and she and I had stopped talking. But, I like to live in this world where my friends stay alive forever, and are happy all the time, whether I'm near or far. It's not too much to ask, right? So Laura told me that she'd committed suicide, and I went to the porch and chain smoked until I stopped shaking.
2) I have a million other friends who died of things like; cancer, drunk driving accidents, bad driving accidents, etc
3) I've only read obituaries....Never actually written one
4) This obituary was almost written for me in October

Swallowing all of this, I tried to write around the obituary, but in the end, the story prevailed, and needed this written. I googled Suicide Obituaries, and found THIS website. From there, I literally took the step by step instructions and wrote. I called my mom, read the first couple of versions until she told me I needed to have life-accomplishments. This, then, is my first obituary:

Elizabeth Alexandra Travis, 16 years old, passed away unexpectedly on October 1, 2012. Born in Portland, Maine on April 8th, 1996, she is survived by her mother, Natalie Wright of Portland, her father, Marc Travis of Gilead, and her best friend, Claire Downs of Portland. The bright junior is remembered as a gifted and accomplished cross country runner, a smart student, a loving daughter, caring teammate, and amazing friend. She is preceded in death by her beloved dog, Baxter. Friends and family wishing to donate are asked to send the proceeds to Hope Hotline, or any other suicide prevention foundation.

I think I'm okay with how it turned out. I especially liked that the best friend was added on there (I definitely feel like the parents would have written that given the girl's relationship). Also, I feel like a dick for killing her dog, but that, too, needed to be done.

So, for you writers. What are some of the hard parts of research for you?


  1. I haven't written an obituary before. I should probably attempt one just to see how it would turn out. Yours is good, but I can understand how it would be depressing to research.

    1. I've considered attempting them before, but avoided it for a long, long time. Thank you for your support :)

  2. Wow, I can see how that would be very hard indeed.

    I do research two ways--google search online and borrowing books from the library. It is a lot of work, but very educational at the same time.

    1. I live on google search. Sometimes when my internet is down (because I pirate) I text friends and ask them to do research for me :)


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