Are You Too Fond of Backstory?

Day 20

The exercise – First get your character.  Decide on sex and approximate age, but don’t think of a name.  Now, imagine that this character wakes up in bed and cannot remember how they got there. In short they have lost their memory.  Without memory, they can’t think about the past and – more importantly – you can’t write about it.  Instead, write about what happens next.


He was awaken by a dog’s bark.  As he opened his eyes bright sun light was flooding the room through the large french windows facing him.  The dog, a golden retriever, was on the other side of the window looking at him and wagging his tail.

The man looked around, familiarizing himself with his surroundings.  He was laying in a king size bed, in a large well furnished room. His mind was blank, he did not recognize the room.  He looked at himself, he was wearing a cotton t-shirt and bottoms, he had a wedding ring and looked relatively fit.

As he was trying to gather some information in his head, a well dressed, attractive woman in her late thirties walked in the room.

‘Come on Tom, you should’ve been up by now.  Go shower and get ready or we’ll be late for church.’ He looked around, saw the door to the bathroom and went in.  He had a quick shower, then stared at himself in the mirror but his mind was still blank.

He located the wardrobe and picked a suit that matched the level of dress up of the woman’s dress.  He then left the bedroom and found his way to the living room where sounds of voices were coming from.  A surly teenage girl greeted him with ‘hi’ and a boy around 8 came running towards him for a hug.  ‘Hi daddy, do you want to see my new drawing?’

He was about to answer when the woman said ‘No Billy, not now, we are running late.  Daddy will check it when we get back from church.  OK, let’s go everyone.’

He followed them and the woman asked him if he had picked up the car key.  He said ‘no, do you mind driving?  I have a headache, I’m not feeling myself.’

He got in the car with the family. There was no conversation, the woman was focusing on driving, the girl was listening to something through earphones and the boy was playing games on a small device. The man still didn’t know the woman’s or the girl’s names.


This was fun, I got a bit carried away and just wanted to keep writing. It would be fascinating to know how someone who actually looses their memory copes with the situation.


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