Writing About Death And Loss…
Without Romanticizing It.
So, I’m currently working on a novel for this years NaNoWriMo and the genre is YA but it has a lot of big topics in it such as death, school shootings, mental health, poverty, etc, and something that I have noticed myself being very careful with is romanticizing things.
Even though I often see “hard” topics placed in a light that can easily be seen as romantic in a lot of films, TV shows, books, etc…I don’t want this to be a fantasy. I don’t want to put out into the world that mass shootings “happen for a reason” or that losing your friend, spouse, or family member is a challenge in order for you to grow because honestly…life doesn’t work like that and I don’t want to write that kind of book.
I know that reading, for some people, is supposed to be a way to escape all of the bad in the world but this book that I’m working on isn’t necessarily going to have a happy ending or maybe it will since I haven’t gotten there yet but what I’m trying to say is that… I think as writers discuss big and serious topics, we should be careful about how we present those topics to the world. Especially if your audience, like mine, is full of young people… teenagers and college students.
Although my story is fiction, it is also the reality for so many people and it’s caused me to become emotional several times already while writing it because I truly believe that there will be some people who read this book and feel understood (including some people that I love..) This has caused me to really think about each scene and how it is presenting things like therapy, relationships while healing through a traumatic life circumstance, medication, etc.
What do you think about romanticizing serious things in fiction? Do you believe there is a line that you shouldn’t cross? Do you think romanticizing some aspects adds emphasis? Or are you like me and believe some things are more powerful when left raw and realistic? Let me know! I’d love to hear your opinions!