Hi, folks! Welcome to the blog! This month I will be offering a series that shares some of the inside story of my book PLUMB CRAZY (Swoon Romance, June 2014). Oh, it such a good feeling to launch a story into the world. This week I'm going to focus on writing with memories. Plumb Crazy was inspired by the events of my life, so why did I do that? Here's a little discussion that I hope you find helpful.
Few people live interesting enough lives to support memoir, but your memories are extremely important. They are the best starting point for your fiction work. Caution: don't be too in love with your actual life or you won't write a very interesting story. Sort through your memories and pull out the stuff that hurt like the dickens, numbed you like a zombie, or set you on fire like a supernova. This is your gold.
Writing with memories is a way to forge an emotional connection with readers. You will invent the exterior of the story, but not about the interior. That stuff comes from your soul. Your memories are the core to your storytelling, and I think you should build a bank of them. Write at least 100 emotional memories from childhood. Also write your secrets, your shame, and your impossible dreams. Whatever has made you feel stuff is important. You need to get good at writing what you don't want to ever tell anyone. If you can't be honest with your own life, your characters won't be honest.
Once you have those memories written, crank them through your big imagination. This is how it works for me. I worked as a plumber's helper in high school. This is absolutely true. 100%. My character Elva Presley is also a plumber's helper in high school. Note, her name is much cooler than mine. She has her own journey. Gosh, she snags a lovely boyfriend, helps her grandmother's depression, saves goats, makes enough money for a car, posts her fanfic... I think I'm jealous of her. Yet in the core of her life, she learns the same thing I've learned. Everyone has value. She also has some issues with her family. I've had those too. We both come to the same conclusion: forgive and love. That is our truth.
A good lie has gold nuggets of truth in it. That's why folks buy into the story. When you decide to write from memories, don't cling to the details, instead think about the emotion: your joyous moments, your ultimate highs, your greatest fears, and, above all, the dark nights of your soul. Hide memories on every page of whatever you write. Your work will thank me.
I will be back next week with more Plumb Crazy May. Please come back for more of this series.
Here is a doodle to enjoy. I love swooping wind.
Here is a quote for your pocket.
With each book I write, I become more and more convinced that the books have a life of their own, quite apart from me. Madeleine L'Engle