The ‘wow’ factor – how to use your inconsequential memories

To write well and in a mighty realistic way then we can fall back on our inconsequential memories to help us.

Good examples of this can be found in the Magic Realism genre.  Wikipedia states that ‘magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment’ as per the link here:

In class this week we were given the task of remembering an inconsequential memory that could be used to write a story scene.  Our tutor divided us up into small groups of three or four students for this exercise.

The memory I chose was one of canoeing over a weir on the river Ribble with my friends when I was a teenager, careful not to swallow any water for fear of catching Weil’s disease.

Once our memories were firmly in place, all members of my group were asked to read out their memories, and then question each other about them to tease out more information.  The group were only allowed to ask one question to each person only.  This helped us to expand and strengthen our personal memories by invoking our emotions, senses and recalling data about them.

In reality every memory is consequential and not inconsequential as originally thought.  As each memory in reality can be shaped into something if we choose to do so and have consequences by doing this.

Next we were given the option to choose any genre and turn the memory that we had expanded into some form of magical realism that fit into our chosen genre.  By turning our ordinary memories and extra-ordinary happenings into a story format we would not be asking the reader to believe any different, just suspend what they knew.

So in 25 minutes we each created a new character in our heads and wrote a short scene.  We based the scene on our own personal memory and some fictional input with the newly created character. The story scene for the purpose of the exercise was not to be written in the first person point of view.  Later each group member read their work out aloud to their group.  Personally I thought that the results from the exercise were amazing, the other members of my group were really pleased with their results too.  It was so much easier to write a scene by undertaking this exercise.  I found that this method conjures a natural, realistic and a quick way of writing.

If you have rarely thought about using your memories when writing, then maybe you should as it is clear that a lot can be gained from doing so.  It is an interesting exercise to actually write outside of your own genre and see what you are actually capable of writing.  Undertaking this cinematic way of writing, embedding your story with some truth together with something that didn’t exist makes it sound realistic, but really it isn’t real.  It can be the difference between giving a story scene the wow factor or not.

I hope that you have found this article useful, please feel free to comment and share.  If you do have a go at this writing exercise it would be great if you could let me know how you went on.

Thank you, Lee.   🙂




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