Write That Eulogy: the art and craft of biographical storytelling
© Veronika Sophia Robinson
© Extract from Changing Places by Paul Robinson
© Cover illustration by Sarah Esau
Cover design, interior design and typesetting: Starflower Press
Published by Starflower Press
“It is written in a way which is accessible to everyone.
I’m not sure how you did it,
but this book is gold dust to the new, and experienced, alike.”
Rachel Cheer, Celebrant at Hope Ceremonies
Some of the most important words ever spoken are only heard once.
Write That Eulogy offers an antidote to the tired traditional telling of eulogies. This book is for anyone who is considering writing their life story, or someone else’s, so it is told faithfully and with creative flair at their funeral.
Whether you’re an experienced celebrant, officiant or vicar, or are facing the task of writing your first eulogy for a loved one, this book will give you practical and proven ideas and techniques based on the author’s experience as a funeral celebrant.
If you’re willing to question what’s always been done, then you’re half way there to improving funeral ceremonies.
What Celebrants Are Saying About Write That Eulogy
I found it so incredibly useful to have each stage and writing skill/tool described in such a clear and methodical way.
Breaking down the understanding of writing a eulogy, in so many ways, by looking at the areas of life (which I loved!) and also by considering literary elements, made the process of eulogy writing, for me, far less huge and daunting. And that there’s no need to sit with a blank piece of paper, wondering where to start. I think my tendency generally is to focus on the ‘whole’ which turns any task into an enormous monster; I feel I can now tackle a eulogy in stages, in a rather more sensible fashion.
I’m reminded that writing is an on-going process, and the development of skills and, very importantly, attention to the senses, can really make a difference to sensitive and thoughtful writing.
I find that family sometimes seem to feel duty or honour bound to write and deliver a eulogy themselves, as if it’s the last thing they can ‘do’ for the deceased. So for anyone who does choose to deliver a eulogy, your book would be an absolute godsend.
Truly, I loved it; it’s accessible, so informative and a joy to read. I also find your ability to share personal information about yourself really heartwarming.
Lorraine Haven, Celebrant, U.K
‘Write That Eulogy’ has been a joy to read. The way in which you manage to paint the most beautiful pictures with your words, not just as part of one of your eulogies, but in leading your readers to see, hear, feel, and physically experience your style, is a true gift. I have been lucky enough to train with you Veronika, and already receive wonderful comments from people who have listened to one of my eulogies, thanks to you. But I have learned so much more from the varied and insightful examples given, and been thoroughly challenged by your exercises, to examine how much more I could, and will, be doing.
Sharing the details of someone’s life should be treated with the greatest of respect, but that does not mean their Eulogy shouldn’t be a true reflection of them, whether they were joyful, dour, nature lovers, hoarders, care givers or miseries.
Veronika, your book not only acknowledges, it pays unflinching tribute to all of those most difficult circumstances which could be faced, meets them head on, and gives eloquent examples for how to deal with them.
Anyone, from an experienced Celebrant, to a person just writing for someone by default, will be able to improve not just their writing skills, but their delivery skills as well, achieving that much sought after outcome of bringing the person back to life, one last time.
Thank you Veronika.
Michelle Knight, Celebrant, UK
It provides a step-by-step guide to the multifaceted task of eulogy construction. I think if I was new to the subject, this would be a brilliant guide. Equally, I was riveted, as a more experienced writer. I think all the examples really bring it to life.
We never stop learning our trade. It is easy to slip into more mundane ways and this is a beautiful prod to never become boring. I have learned that there is much technical detail in a eulogy. I think I do lots of it naturally, but it has made me appreciate the complexity of the work.
It is written in a way which is accessible to everyone. I’m not sure how you did it, but this book is gold dust to the new, and experienced, alike.
Rachel Cheer, Celebrant, Scotland
This book will definitely help me with eulogy writing. I loved the areas of human life, these will certainly help me to reframe my questioning and help me to get more meaningful information to work with. I also loved reading the scene setting, and again, this made me think about my own style of writing and ways to improve it.
This book would be useful for anyone who works with people as it helps you to think ‘outside of the box’ and question the very essence of human beings.
Lianne Downey, Celebrant, England
Wow! The Twelve Areas of Human Life was absolutely fascinating. Your experience and attention to fact finding and in-depth detail of avoiding the dreaded resume we so often hear at funerals was not only enlightening but much appreciated. Word Medicine and the chapter titled Difficult Death Stories were chock full of helpful information and I am just amazed at some of the situations you’ve had to rise above and work with.
I have learned so much that I feel my anxiety towards interviewing mourners actually dissolving!
Has to be the most interesting “text book” I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
Kimberlee Brown-Cassady, Celebrant, USA
I loved this book for lots of different reasons. Firstly it was very inviting – it makes you want to be the best you can be, at creating a eulogy which honours and tells the story of the deceased.
I loved it, as a newbie to the celebrant world; it’s a book that is super insightful, helpful, and packed full of a life’s worth of learning to help others be the best they can be at writing that eulogy!
Deb Anderson, Celebrant, England
You make the reader recognise that writing a great eulogy is not for the faint hearted, and you must have a passion for writing and understand the mechanics of it. The anecdotal experiences described give the reader a real sense of the work of a professional celebrant.
Gill Bunting, Celebrant, England
Write That Eulogy has been woven together beautifully; it’s an effortless read which can teach an individual a lot about themselves, as well as a craft that you have spent years fine-tuning.
Ben Foreman, Celebrant, Scotland
I have learned that I will never stop learning. Your writing is inspirational. I must admit that this book will be read many times. There are many subjects covered that I feel reviewing it after reading it only once is a disservice. It will help enormously with writing my eulogies. This book will be of great help to existing celebrants and invaluable to new ones like myself. Anyone interested in words and creativity would be interested too, once they read the contents page!
Kate Pope, Celebrant, England