Thursday, May 4, 2017

Choosing a working title for your memoir

I’m trying to pin down the perfect title for my memoir. I’m not ready to publish the book yet, but in the back of my mind I know I’ll need to craft its title soon.

If you’re like me, you have a list of potential titles, but the best one hasn’t yet jumped off the page at you.

What can you do in the mean time? You can give your memoir a working title—a temporary, unofficial title, a title under development.  It doesn’t have to be brilliant—only you, and maybe critique partners, will know what your working title is.

Did you know it might be better to give your memoir a working title until you pin down the just-right title?

Why? Because:

The process of writing
can take your story
in a different direction
than you planned.

Denis Ledoux explains it this way: “Over the time that you linger with your story, it will frequently begin to change—not the facts and the dates, but the interpretation and the metaphors and images you use, the vignettes you choose to include or omit.  You will see your stories in ways that you may not have seen it before….”

So if you choose a title before you start writing, you might discover, in the process of writing, that your story takes on a life of its own. If your memoir heads in a different direction than you planned, you’ll probably be left with a title that’s no longer just right.

With that in mind, choose a working title, expecting to change it later, depending on what you discover as you continue to write.

In fact, you might not pin down your permanent title until you’ve finished writing your memoir, but your working title can help you discover your final title.

So, now, put on your thinking cap 
and craft a working title, 
and be sure to come back next week 
for more tips on crafting a permanent title 
for your memoir.

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