Where do all the great, professonal obituary writers hang out these days
February 24, 2021 7:29 PM   Subscribe

We need to hire one, quick. Where should we be looking? Surely there must be some writers dedicated to work in this industry... or are we totally wrong and just try to go it ourselves?

We want somoene with demonstrable skill who will interview the various friends and family for details and then take all that information and craft something above and beyond what the funeral parlour has offered.

Google is not helping (much) since of all the listed writers we've already contacted (via various professional organizations), no one seem to want the job.... because our relative isn't enough of a "public figure."

We'd also be grateful for strategies that have worked for others on how to craft an above-and-beyond obit for a 80 year old, in case we can't find a seassoned pro to do it.

This is our family's first rodeo. Thanks metafilter.
posted by abuckamoon to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am so sorry for your loss. My family's practice has been to write the obituary ourselves, usually with one person taking the lead and then sharing drafts among family members for any edits/suggestions.

I also came across this member directory of a society of professional obituary writers, which I will share here in case you haven't yet seen it. Also, here is a link to a specific writer's site who offers obituary writing services.
posted by pril at 7:58 PM on February 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Have you tried contacting the local paper of your deceased relative and asking if they could give you the name of a freelancer who might take this job?
posted by epj at 8:31 PM on February 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: aww hey, I am so sorry for your loss. I wrote the local obit for my dad (he was a public figure so I also saw the ones professionals wrote which were really not huge improvements) and my mom wrote her own and we reworked it a little. I totally understand if you just feel like you can't write one right now, but in many ways, it's a nice way for a family to share a little bit about your relative that might be news to other people. I read a lot of obituaries writing biography articles on Wikipedia and I feel like an obituary has three, main parts.

- Recitation of life facts, just basic stuff like where they were raised, went to school, married (or not), family (or not), who they have left behind, who maybe predeceased them that were important. Often there is a list of family members (or important pets!) in here.
- What was special about them and what was important to them. This can be all over the map and it's a nice way to be sentimental for people you care about. When you think fondly of that person, what do you think about? What stories do you tell about that person? What parts of their world were important to them (work, church, family, hobbies, pets, civics work, that kind of thing) and how did they spend their time?
- Information about services, if any, "in lieu of flowers" or that sort of thing... "Make a donation to the __________" is possible

You can include information about their actual death but you don't have to. If they were religious sometimes the language in the obituary is tilted in that direction. If it's a paid notice, you pay by the word, not that this should encourage brevity or not but it's worth knowing ahead of time. MetaFilter's ColdChef is a funeral director and is always happy to give MeFites advice on this and has written thousands of obituaries, feel free to drop him a note.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 PM on February 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Check your memail. :)
posted by Violet Blue at 8:54 PM on February 24, 2021

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