Quick write: Use memory to spark inspiration


I have a memory. I have a memory of cow pastures and chocolate milk and broad, blue forever-skies in Western Pennsylvania.


Flickr: Kim Carpenter

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I have a memory of wind chimes whipping wild in a Santa Ana windstorm.

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I have a memory of sun-soaked days spent lounging poolside with an iced-tea glass sweating and skin sizzling brown in the swelter.

And I remember snow, a snowy day never meant to happen in Southern California where children squealed and parents hurriedly snapped photos.

Memory is a potent tool for our writing that can spark inspiring thoughts and words or perhaps even send our narratives spinning in a new and exciting direction.

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What are you most poignant memories? Take a moment to reflect on them and then write them down. Take at least one of those memories and draw them out for a rich telling. Use all of your senses – taste, touch, sight, sound and smell – to bring the moment to life for your reader.

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When writing your own stories, whether a memoir, mystery or high-stakes thriller, consider how you can infuse memory into your characters’ history for a deeper, richer storytelling experience. Where can you add in a memory and how has memory directed the course of your heroine and her foe? Do they haunt her? Or inspire her?

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at

Kerri S. Mabee

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