One of the first memories I have of myself is burying a lamb bone in the garden, hoping to grow a Meat Tree. I was two/three years old, loved lamb curry, and meat was scarce in our diet.
While I don’t know if that particular memory would some day make its way into a story, I know quite a few incidents/scenes in my published stories have transformed from memory to page. In doing so, they may have lost some of their circumstantial truth, but they have gained a fictional truth, and a wider resonance…I’ve been told by readers it made them feel it was them out there, that it brought back memories.
I think most authors use their childhood/growing up/adult memories in their writing. Most fiction borrows from truth. An author is like an hourglass, memories trickle down and become fiction.
But nowadays, I’ve begun to indulge in a new activity: writing memories for my characters. Using exercise from the book “Old Friend From Far Away” by Natalie Goldberg, which is all about writing memoirs, I pretend I’m a character, and then write down his/her memories—sense impressions of an event or a particular moment. Writing character memories helps in two ways: getting into the skin of the character, and also generating new material for my WIP.
Fiction is all about the game of pretend, and I’m quite enjoying this particular game that helps me shape characters and write scenes.
Have you ever tried writing the memories/memoirs of your characters?
Sign up for the Rule of Three Blogfest, a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza starting 5th October— with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of fun and exposure for your writing. This is one Blogfest fiction authors ought not to miss.