Scenario: The protagonist goes to a party, gets drugged, and is assaulted. This event is not in the characters history. It happens during the course of the story.

Perspective: First Person

Genre: Psychological fiction (loosely)

Basic Background Research:

The Drug - I have deliberately left the exact ‘drug’ used on the protagonist as an unknown at this time. I know drugs can cause gaps in memory, but I don’t want the memories 100% lost.

Trauma - I know traumatic events can sometimes cause repressed memories. I’ve also read that people who recount traumatic events are often not overly detailed about them. They remember small details, but don’t produce an overly detailed narrative of them. Repressed memories aren’t 100% lost and can surface at a later time.

The Question: How to write the narrative leading up to the memory gap. Should details gradually reduce until the protagonist approaches the memory gap or hardline the cutoff (I remember everything before X, and nothing after). If the memories are repressed as a result of the trauma, should I fill in ‘false memories’ in this gap?

  • 1
    Do you want to know how repressed memory actually functions so that you can use an appropriate writing technique, or do you want to know which writing technique will be more effective for the reader, regardless of how accurate it is? If it's the former, you're probably better off asking a psychologist. Feb 1 at 6:30
  • For the purposes of this question, it's going to be the former. Ideally, a good balance between realism and effectiveness for the reader would be ideal. I am doing my own research for a psychological standpoint, but I am not sure about the writing technique to use for the scene. I don't want it to seem confusing or illogical from the narrative standpoint.
    – TehKaoZ
    Feb 1 at 13:44
  • You get both approaches used in stories; it's probably easier just to leave a few hours blank than to recreate the sensation of confused or lost memories. But it depends on what is best for your story - to remember details and try and piece them together, or just to have a complete void.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 2 at 14:54


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