yesterday's interview with debut author Jennifer Shaw Wolf, the subject of 'memory' came up while we interrogated her about her awesome novel BREAKING BEAUTIFUL. Allie, the novel's protagonist, is trying to reconstruct the memories of a tragic night. It occurred to me that, as writers, sometimes our stories can resemble reconstructed memories of events in our own lives.
The old edict is 'write what you know', but it might be better stated as 'write what you remember'. Or better still, 'write better than you remember'. I've noticed in my own writing that settings, people, and events might start out as close approximations to real-life inspirations from childhood and beyond. But, we're talking about fiction, so real-life is but a spark*. The resulting flame is so much brighter/hotter/dangerous than what came before it.
I wonder...do any of you have super vivid memories that could serve as inspiration for a story? If so, how can you make those memories even more fantastic (while changing names to protect the innocent...remember, fiction...fiction)?
While you think it over, be sure to checking out BREAKING BEAUTIFUL and our Interrogation Room interview with Jennifer Shaw Wolf.
*Real-life is also where the lawyers live. If I write about real people and places (particularly when it involves grisly fictional crimes), I might be looking at some lawsuits sooner than later. I don't want to look at lawsuits sooner than later, so I don't write about real people and places.