Memories or Using Life to Animate Your Writing

Writing stories is about using your imagination, but often memories are a jumping off point. Almost every bit of fiction I write is based upon some autobiographical detail. The same thing goes for much of the non-fiction or memoir I write—I confess there are some made up elements. I might write out a character or take stuff out that detracts from the narrative.

If I want a story to be interesting I have to use the storytelling process to enliven it.

Storytelling is as old as the hills. People have spun myths and legends out of family tales since the beginning of time. I enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow on PBS and often someone will come in with an object and give some background. Then the expert has to tell them: Well, that isn’t quite how it is.

Something from their great-grandmother who said it came over from Russian and had once belonged to the royal family, might actually be a cigarette case from the 1920s sold from a local Walgreens.

So if interested in writing, keep your memories alive—they might get woven into your next tale.

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