Miranda Kenneally

Mexican Food Cures Writer's Block

Memories… Yours to Use?

So I’m finally going to sit down tonight and start mapping out a new novel, an idea that came to me after some idiot broke into my car, busting the window, thus making a big ole mess of glass. And the idiot didn’t even steal anything! ….But I digress.

So as I’m standing outside with the cops for about 3 hours, because they want to do a thorough investigation, INSPIRATION STRIKES. The broken glass reminded me of when I had just turned 16, and I took my mom’s prized convertible out for a spin with some friends. In trying to get the top down, somehow I ended up shattering the entire back window. Yeah, I know, I didn’t get to drive the frickin’ convertible for a while.

Anyway, I’ve decided to write a YA novel based on a tiny event that took place my junior year of high school. Tiny in that no one else in their right mind would ever remember this BUT ME.

While thinking through potential characters and events for the story, it dawned on me that using more true stories from high school would be hilarious. Nothing that’s bad, or would even get anyone into trouble, but still. They’re stories that belong to other people, as well as me.

Am I allowed to use them? Do I need to ask my old friends if I can write about those experiences?

How much does a writer have to change from a memory in order to make it fiction?

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Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Memories… Yours to Use?”

  1. They’re your memories. Use them! You’ll be infusing them with your voice and spirit, and that’s what counts — I don’t think anyone could complain if you’re not naming names or embarrassing anyone!

    Also, these sound like stories I would like to hear! <3

  2. Don’t ask them. Your friends will assume they are in your books anyway. Mine always pick the things that I completely made up and say they are about them, and they miss the places where I’ve used people we’ve actually known and things they’ve done. Readers definitely bring their own baggage to a novel!

  3. alyslinn says:

    I never ask, but usually they don’t even notice, or it was something they hardly remembered. 🙂

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