When my father died in 2014, I volunteered to write his obituary. No sweat. After all, I'd been in the publishing industry for 20 years. Writing an obit, though, turned out to be trickier than I thought. Searching for tips on the craft, I found only predictable, outdated suggestions: be brief, pound out some sentimental schmaltz, tack on a superfluous list of survivors, and toss in a few harps and angels. My dad deserved more than a heap of warmed-over clichés—doesn't everyone? The internet has swept away space restrictions for obituaries. Tributes can be posted on the web months or years after the fact, making newspaper copy deadlines irrelevant. Social media platforms have encouraged us to swap stories and be candid. Our attitudes toward death have shifted, too. So why should an obituary writer stick to the same dull script folks followed 30 years ago? Our loved ones led colorful lives—let’s give them a brilliant send-off.