I recently wrote a short story that meant a lot to me.  So here is the breakdown of how I came to write the story.

Over the years, I have had to deal with a lot of death – cancer, suicides, car crashes.  And while I have never had to face it personally, death of children really upsets me.

While interviewing Ripley Patton for the SpecFicNZ Blogging Week, I learnt that she writes stories about issues that she is facing in her life.  This gave me the idea for Death is Her Name.

If focuses on a day in the life of Death.  I made her a female because a woman is a lot of things to a lot of people, an angel, a mother, a lover.

The deaths are ones that I have faced, involving family and friends over the years.  I haven’t included names, but the circumstances are real.  The fiction part of the story is how each person, when confronted by Death, deals with her.  Some go willingly, others aren’t ready to go, and some a just plain argumentative.

The final one made me cry.  It is about the child and how the mother sees death and tries to bargain with her.  I have never, and hope I never have to be faced with this situation, but my heart cries everytime I read of some baby or young child who is dying from cancer.  They haven’t had a life, it isn’t fair on them.

While the story was sad, it also helped me – in a strange way – reconcile some of my friends and family’s deaths.  I feel more at peace about some of them, while others I had already accepted and moved on from.  I think it is the sudden and unexpected deaths that I needed closure with, and I truly believe that I did that with this story.

So the moral of the story, if you have a problem you are facing in your life and you are finding it hard to cope or understand it, make it into a story, with an ending that you want to see happen.  Allow your emotions into the story, because that is what truly makes a story real.  Even if you don’t get closure, you will feel better for allowing yourself the time and energy to face the issue.

Anatomy of a story
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