When people express grief in writing, they aren’t only basking in their vulnerabilities and seeking power in them.
Stories are only compelling if they evoke emotions from their audience. Nobody stays for a book that doesn’t excite or make them weep. No reader wants a character who doesn’t feel or undergo emotional turmoil because it makes them less authentic. Emotions fuel drama. It makes stories more interesting. Hence, authors need to convey and express emotions in writing decently.
Among the plethora of emotions, grief is, by far, the most difficult and suffocating to be one with.
It’s what people feel at their lowest, their greatest source of stress, which likewise translates into paper when authors attempt to communicate these sentiments. When people naturally find it hard to express, how harder is it to express grief in writing?
When Grief Is the Most Powerful Element
Unlike other emotions, grief carries the most impact and power to sway and move people because it gives characters opportunities to think deeply about life. Incorporating grief in stories allows for emotional and psychological growth. Depending on how authors convey this emotion, grief can be beautiful and devastating. It triggers the event when people lose grasp of life or find more profound meaning. Based on how authors express grief in writing and how they write about their characters’ experiences, it can make or break the story.
Insomnia by Hawn is among those materials that perfectly convey how grief weighs people down and how complex its expression is. Perhaps, because the story is banked on the author’s personal experience, writing it becomes a poetic release of restricted emotions and bottled-up pain.
The book tackles Jack Hawn’s grief at his wife’s passing. His experience made expressing the character’s emotional depth and yearning easier. However, for authors to successfully express emotions in writing, they don’t necessarily have to go through so much themselves. Experience makes it easier, but it only takes practice to weave emotions in writing beautifully.
How to Effectively Express Grief in Writing
When authors express grief in writing, it’s integral that they don’t make it a hasty and exaggerated experience. Grief can be weird. It’s expressed in different ways and felt at different intensities. For some, it comes as it goes, but for others, it lingers and stays for months.
Hence, authenticity, honesty, and vulnerability are the essence of its effectiveness.
Don’t Reel Back From Experiencing Grief
Being one with emotions, especially the substantial ones, will never be people’s greatest asset.
Although it’s human to feel, it’s an uphill climb embodying and sharing what one is feeling. To some, indicating any sentiment for the public to see can be highly vulnerable and invasive. This sensation can be similarly felt in writing. It may not be outwardly expressing the emotion, but it’s still experiencing the feeling, which can be awkward and uncomfortable.
When authors express grief in writing, they would feel as though they’re stepping into a newly frozen lake. They tiptoe around, fearing that one wrong move can crack the surface and drown them with an overwhelming current they can’t escape. However, for stories to effectively convey these emotions, authors must be brave and willing to be vulnerable and willingly what their characters must be feeling. As they’re narrating the scene, they must put themselves in their characters’ mindset and envision how it is to be the ones experiencing the events.
Make the Readers Care
Regardless of how heart-wrenching the situation is or how wonderfully worded their experience is, the readers won’t be moved if they don’t have a connection with the character. This is precisely why the story shouldn’t revolve solely around grief. Instead, it must have a well-established plot and relationships between the characters to make the readers care.
People care more and are invested in situations where they know the people involved and have formed a bond or rapport with them. Hence, when authors express grief in writing, they don’t only have to focus on sharpening their narratives but also polish their plotlines and learn about what readers care about. The more readers care about the characters, the more they’ll be willing to join their grief journey.
Push the Characters’ Journey
People grieve in multiple ways but rarely stay idle with their emotions. Authors must follow a forward momentum for their characters to express grief in writing. Yes, they must be allowed to weep their hearts and heal their souls. But they shouldn’t stay fixated on this sensation until they cannot grow out of the emotion.
A healthy means of grieving allows people to move forward and evolve. It’s a wake-up call for change nudging people to modify their lives in ways. Grieving is emotional, but this doesn’t mean the process solely focuses on what the other is feeling. It should also include what they’re willing to do to move past the lowest of lows and overcome this debacle.
Give Them a Satisfying Conclusion
There is always a rainbow after the rain and light at the end of the tunnel.
What comes after grief should be a satisfying and inspiring change in the characters’ lives. It won’t signify healing unless they will be experiencing happiness and contentment afterward. Although it can be pretty tempting to write angst and all the downers, authors shouldn’t stick to these alone if they want a moving storyline. Readers will stick to the story as long as it feels authentic, and a fulfilling conclusion will be the cherry on their journey.
Be Comfortable to Express Grief in Writing
Often, what comes between the author’s success in his craft isn’t his lack of skill. This can be learned and developed. Instead, it’s their lack of vulnerability and the willingness to dabble and embrace the uncomfortable. Stories become classics and a masterpiece if they successfully evoke emotions. Hence, they must willingly write fearlessly and emotionally, allowing their hearts to speak over their minds.