First rule: Make sure your subject is dead!
Sometimes the media, and especially social media, falsely report a person's death.
You don't get a second chance to get it right when writing a obit. People hang them on walls and save them for years. Accuracy is key.
You do not want to do an obit where you are having to print a correction about someone's sex life.
Hawthorn on cliches and euphemisms. "People die, they do not pass or pass away."
It is possible to write an interesting obit about a person who's life accomplishments don't stretch far beyond the small town in which they lived.
Have you ever considered becoming an obituary writer? #CAJ14 #CAJobits
When writing obits always look for the answer to 'who was this person? 'who were they really?' Hawthorn uses anecdotes to answer these questions and likes to use humour when possible.
Hawthorn explains why Nardwaur, Canadian television personality, is good at finding out people's stories. He searches out childhood friends.
Keep in mind, families are often wrong about their loved ones. Sometimes it's an honest mistake, sometimes it's fraud.
Do you have a favourite obituary? What do you think makes an obituary good? #CAJ14 #CAJobits
If the family doesn't want to talk, try friends. There's always somebody that wants to talk.
That's all for today's presentation from Tom Hawthorn. He will soon be launching a blog. Stay tuned for it to go live at obitwirting.wordpress.com.