GOOD WRITING IS REMEMBERING DETAIL.
MOST PEOPLE WANT TO FORGET.
DON'T FORGET THINGS THAT WERE PAINFUL
OR EMBARRASSING OR SILLY.
TURN THEM INTO A STORY THAT TELLS THE TRUTH.
When I was little, I broke my collar bone by falling out of bed. What I remember from that time is laying across my grandmother's lap in the backseat of the station wagon as my parents drove us to the hospital. I stared up and out of the window at all the hazy halos of the streetlights in the dark sky. I was scared, but I felt safe at the same time. Ensconced yet vulnerable.
A character of mine might never break a bone or ride in a station wagon or ever see city street lights. But will she feel afraid while still feeling protected? Will her skin ever stick to a car's vinyl seat? Will she grow up wanting to wear the same scent her grandmother wore, bringing the long gone woman to life in the present? Maybe.
Your fear of heights can become a character's terror of dogs. Your painful divorce can become a character's determination to never feel loss or to feel lonely again. Your mortifying pants-wetting moment in front of an entire school assembly can become...well, actually, that might make a good story on its own...
What emotions can you kidnap from your own past and release into your stories, your poems, your photographs, your art?