How would you write it?

I’m pondering a situation in which someone has died.  This person is popular amongst her peers.  The main character of this story is only one of a few who knows the deceased for what she really is:  a cruel, passive-aggressive manipulator.  This has been kept secret in order to maintain appearances for years.  The dilemma is  this:  Everyone expects grief, mourning, an elaborate funeral and/or memorial service from our main character.  She wants none of it.  She is actually relieved at the removal of this person from her life.  Yet, will everyone else think she is a monster for feeling this way?  What does she do?

Imagine the effort it would take to stand in a line, accept everyone’s sympathy, thank them for their support…  While secretly leaping for joy.  While privately and happily contemplating a future free of this negative influence.  But also perpetuating the lie.

On the other hand, would it be courageous of our main character to decide not to fake it?  To just arrange for a burial and forgo the formalities?  To let everyone know their sympathy is wasted on her?  Or would that be horrible?

The direction I take going forward from this plot point is dependent on it’s outcome.  I really would like your feedback.  Bear in mind this is less about right versus wrong than it is about what would make a more interesting read.  Issues abound no matter which decison is made!

Any thoughts?


65 thoughts on “How would you write it?

  1. So this person is someone super close cause she has to arrange the funeral? If she’s perpetuated the lie all her life, I’d think she’d continue it. Then maybe have a huge breakdown in the middle of the service and tell everyone her real feelings

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Maybe she could have a great internal struggle, decide that yes, dammit, she will speak the truth, but when the time comes she doesn’t have the courage to. And throughout the rest of the story she has to find the courage to overcome her timidity as well.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Meg, I am so sorry about this one. I am not the right person to respond. It would be hard for me to be open minded. Years ago, I worked in a call center with a group of managers. One manager just had it out for me. Made my life a living hell. Well, one day she handed in her resignation. I was the only manager who didn’t attend the farewell party. Some people just deserve what they get. I hope you get great ideas & a boatload of suggestions, but I know mine wouldn’t be a fair one.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Viewings, ceremonies and burials are I believe a time when everyone remembers and speaks of the good in the deceased (even if they need a magnifying glass to do so). It is not a time to publically air any grievances or dirty laundry. (That can officially start afterwards at a reception or post-burial activity.) I think it more intriguing to go “parallel” between playing the stoic, honorable one …simultaneously thinking those dishonorable, happy thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think if the deceased specifically states ahead of time in their wishes not to have any service that is fine. My own mother indicated for a long time she wanted no service (that was well known) and so we honored that request. But in lieu of no specific request made by the deceased it has been my experience a service albeit small, on some scale, is “expected.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Perhaps she could go ahead living the lie, with her internal conflict described? Just as she has decided to play to the crowd and go ahead with a “wasn’t she great” funeral plan up pops one of the other few, who knows the real truth, and spills the beans!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think she would be relieved but would go ahead with the funeral out of courtesy to the departed. She isn’t fake by not letting everyone know.It’s just more to do with she’s already gone and it’s over.
    She may choose to share her relief with her closest friends later, who already know of the reality and even agree with her.
    And she would be getting on with her life the next day onwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not sure if it fits in with where the rest of your story is going, but it might be interesting to have her find out gradually that others (or maybe one other person) feels the same way – maybe knows other aspects of the secrets – and then somehow discover each other’s true feelings by accident.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I say no funeral, outsiders judge and ostracize main character, the truth of the dead’s character unfolds, hell breaks loose and main character is vindicated! Here’s a true story from my life: Guy dies under horrible circumstances and leaves behind a wife and kids. Wife (dressed like she was going to a club) says to me at the funeral, “Can you have people stop sending me pasta? I have to stop eating carbs, I’m a single woman now.” I was SO taken aback in a “WTF?!” kind of way. REALLY hard not to judge that one. There’s always at least two sides to every story though. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I love these scenarios because they really dig into the meat and potatoes of character development. There’s an inclination when someone close to us dies to filter out the less desirable elements and see only the good things. Does the main character preserve her personal integrity by laying out both the good and bad aspects of the deceased, realizing that they may bring down the collective wrath of the peer group? Or do they maintain the illusion and go through the motions in hopes of closing out the event?

    Seeing as the story plot appears to be dependent on what takes place, I would have the main character reflect on their experiences regarding the deceased and then base her decision accordingly. Let’s face it, we’ve all known people who were male descendants of sand bars, but we were silent because “you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.” Evaluate how bad the deceased was and you should find your answer.

    Personally, I would tear open that closet and let those skeletons dance! Hehehe.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read somewhere that funerals are more for the living than they are for the dead. So I would like to read an internal conflict going on within her about what she should do, if she should just come out with it or go with flow since she has been doing it all along. She could end up deciding to just come out with it because she s feels she needs closure from this. However when she is just about to she sees someone who is already affected by the death of this person and now maybe affected too much if she reveals the truth, so she decides that the funeral may not be the best time for her to reveal it. Bit she makes a note to find a way to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you’ve already got tons of great thoughts and suggestions so I don’t really have anything new to add. But I think continuing to “fake it” offers another (or continued) internal struggle which is usually more interesting to read. Also I agree that funerals are more for the living, so maybe she would do it for whomever she thinks wants it. And I love the idea of her going through with the funeral and someone else standing up and telling the truth about the deceased.

    Maybe she should/could do something to make herself feel less phony. Like release a giant spider into the casket.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Random ideas…

    She could go through with the whole thing, keeping up the charade. Then afterwards, go find a complete stranger and spill all. But then… they aren’t as much of a stranger as she thought! Secrets threaten to be spilled and with them her betrayal in lying to the mourning friends *audience gasps*. Conflict as she tries to persuade the stranger not to give up her secrets, while resolutely refusing to give in to their twisted conditions. In the end, it comes down to a choice between losing the respect of her friends or losing respect in herself *audience sighs*.

    Whatever you choose to write, I look forward to reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of good feedback here! I love my writer buddies! I felt like, although this is a subplot to the main story, it will greatly impact my character development. This could make or break her. The idea of adding a potential betrayer is interesting. Psychological blackmail. That’s an intriguing little twist. I like it! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was leaning that was initially, myself, but after reading the comments and giving them some thought, I think the internal struggle is not only more realistic but also provides a more convoluted plot evolution. Thanks for your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

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