I Remember All of Them: Piecing Together Your Character's Memories

As a brainwashed supersoldier, memories are kind of a big thing for me. I mean, they're the biggest thing for me... considering I don't have a lot of them.

As I try to remember what my life was like before becoming the Winter Soldier, it's occurred to me that my quest for memories can translate to writing, too--particularly character development.

In order for characters to become fully-fledged people, it's important to give them all the things that people tend to have in reality. Characters need an origin story, a personality, a manner of speaking, a fatal flaw, etc. One thing I personally forget to give my characters is MEMORIES. (Though that's probably because I'm still trying to find mine).

Even though it's something that isn't often considered, characters do have memories (unless they're like me). They have good memories, they have bad memories. Every memory comes together to form a complex patchwork of the character's history, what makes them who they are. And I bet their memories impact them a lot more than you'd think. Whether those memories are traumatic (I have a lot of experience with those) or happy (I have some experience with those), they can influence the character's decisions. The past affects us more than you might think (I have experience with that, too).

Sometimes there are bad memories. In my quest to remember, I've been watching movies. One in particular is The Lion King, which has an applicable quote: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Is your character running from something? (I would know what that's like... I've been doing a lot of running.)

But then there's nostalgia--good memories can also a major component of your character's back story. Is your character running to something, trying to get their past back? Trying to recreate it? (I've been doing that too.)

There are so many possibilities. To develop your characters and move forward with your story, maybe you need to look back. Try figuring out...

Your character's best memories
Your character's worst memories
Your character's first memory
Your character's "defining moment"
Your character's most embarrassing memory
Your character's proudest memory

However you choose to piece together your character's memories, I hope it helps you figure out more about your characters. And I'll be with you every step of the way. Eventually, we'll be able to remember everything... together.

Signing off for now,

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