The Grief-stricken Character

Dealing with grief on our own terms is never easy, but to develop a character travelling the path of loss is hard at times.

grief-stricken | adj

deeply affected by sorrow or distress

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What are the mannerisms and traits seen in a grief-stricken person?

All too often lately we have witnessed too many images from the media following mass tragedies. These images,

however, do give us a portrait of the nature of the grief-stricken family member or friend.

Some signs of grief we might use are:

  • red-rimmed eyes
  • voice that is breaking
  • crossing of the arms
  • touching a cross or other piece of jewelry in search of comfort
  • slack expression
  • lost and lifeless
  • staring at the hands

Mentally your character may express an inability to respond quickly to questions asked, may be in denial to the entire situation, may exhibit withdrawal, and may show despair or hopelessness.

Writing this character to fit into your theme or plot may be more difficult for the writer who has experienced such grief or any grief.  It is tempting to take our own feelings and put them on the page.  Be fair to your reader and if this is working for you, try hard to not lose sight of where you want your character to end up.  Your character is not necessarily based on you.

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