Saturday, July 14, 2012

[Guest Post] Writing Can Involve Memories by Gregory Allen

Writing Can Involve Memories
By Gregory Allen

People often ask where the ideas for my stories come from. Like many authors: it is combination of things. A vivid imagination (that I've had since I was a child and making up stories). A current event or historical moment that I would like to twist and turn into my own take on what happened. Or sometimes - it is a memory deep in my mind. A memory that blossoms and grows into a full-fledge movie playing on a constant loop and I know I need to get it down on paper.

Memories obviously played a vital part in my writing when I penned a quasi-memoir on my older brother who had passed away. The easy way would have been for me to simply tell his story. But as an author, I never like the easy way. So I chose to write it in 1st person as he was on his dying bed. I recalled stories he and I had shared with each growing up. Blurred memories came into focus and I tried desperately to put myself into his shoes and recall it from his point of view. And in writing that story, I worked through my own demons I had held inside with my feelings towards that brother.

Writing fiction is very different because you are not attempting to tell the truth of an actual event...and yet memories sometimes play a part in that writing as well. My characters may adopt a story shared with me as a child or something I experienced...and may have locked inside. So I relive it and then I change it up so it feels organic to the character in the book. And yet, there is something still therapeutic in that moment that I was able to release that memory into the world and no longer keep it in.

That is part of my own joy of writing. Not only telling stories that hopefully people will enjoy and relate to, but my own personal journey writing it. We live with our characters for such a long time and it truly is like taking a trip with them as we write. Sometimes I get to the point of forgetting where I may have placed a memory into my writing and truly start to think it was simply something my characters have gone through. I suppose in a way that makes me a little 'off' to some: but I'm completely fine with living in that warped reality.

Memories are different for everyone, even when recalling the same event. (Just ask a sibling about something from your childhood and you’ll see what I mean.) So a major event that might have affected the entire country could be used by a character in a book and made much more personal in how it affects that particular character. And one of my personal favorites is how the author or character’s memory causes the reader to think back on a time in their own life. The power of memory can take on a life of its own when used in writing.

Are you thinking of something from your childhood right now?


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Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating - PG13
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  1. You have really inspired me. I want to say it's the best article read by me on writing. Wonderful. Thank you.

  2. Thanks so much for the comments! This blog just came from my heart and poured out of me! :-) Hope you can check out PATCHWORK OF ME and give me your thoughts on that as well.

  3. So true. I wrote a collection of short stories based on my memories of the late sixties and early seventies.


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