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Gregory Allen - Writing Can Involve Memories

Saturday, July 7, 2012
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?

A product of the foster care system, Sara Butler spends her early thirties hiding from her past while striving for a normal life with her small group of quirky friends in Arizona. Seeking treatment for an invisible rash and abnormal dreams, her therapist helps her unlock a heinous past that she is unsure she wants to open. To patch her life back together, she realizes she must travel across country to Maine to confront that past in order to plan for a future.

What readers have said

"Allen weaves an intricate tapestry of characters, successfully transporting the reader into his world...a compelling read." - Joanne Huspek Blogcritics

"A page-turning, thought provoking, and addictive tale. Allen's vivid characters are rich and real and thoroughly enjoyable." - Spencer Seidel Author of Dead of Wynter

"It's Allen's wisdom and insight - the hopeful message that it is up to us to shape our life and our future - that truly makes this book special. With Patchwork of Me, Greg Allen has made my short list of favorite authors!" - Terri Giuliano Long Author of In Leah's Wake

"It's a kaleidoscope of unexpected twists and turns, emotional and psychological. It's soul-searching; self-discovering, humorous and romantic!" - Arthur Wooten Author of Leftovers

"This book is for anyone who treasures friendship, asks big questions, looks for the truth, or simply enjoys a great story." - Pamela Milam, MA, LPC Author & Columnist

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating - PG13
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  1. After this weekend, my daughter's wedding,I wish I had the ability to put into words exactly how awesome
    the whole celebration was!

  1. Lately I seem to be thinking over and over, again, about the week I met my best friend in med. school... it most definitely colors my writing! :D

    Name: Hira Hasnain
    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com