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Author Archive | Denis Ledoux

last chapter of a memoir

How to write the last chapter of a memoir

“How do I write the last chapter of a memoir?” coaching and editing clients will sometimes ask me. It is a good question because the last chapter of a memoir is your final shot at affirming your theme and at creating a satisfying and meaningful ending to the story the reader has been engaged in […]

find a best title for a memoir

Best Title for a Memoir: How to Choose

Writers ask me how to choose a best title for a memoir. Because I have worked with them, usually as their coach or editor and know their story, I am in a position to brainstorm with them to come up with a decent —and sometimes even a great—title for their book.

Editor’s Note: This content is also available as a YouTube video. Click here.

There are many possibilities available to a writer, but one thing is certain: a writer must choose a title for a memoir strategically.  It is a marketing opportunity. The title printed on your book cover can—and ought to—promote sales of your memoir.

Here are some guidelines I use to generate a memoir title—for my own titles or for those of clients. I hope they prove helpful to you, too.

How important is a working title?

When you are working on a memoir, you may want to have some way of distinguishing one manuscript from another. You may also be working concurrently on a second or a third book—and that is not unusual for some writers. In that instance, you will want a name so as to be able to distinguish this manuscript from another as you speak to your writing group, your writing coach or a friend.

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help writing a memoir

A Faulty Process Is—Well—Useless

One memoir writer who had spent two or three years writing her story submitted her formatted manuscript to me for a final edit. She told me she hadn’t gotten help writing a memoir because she hadn’t wanted to be influenced.

As I read her story, I struggled to find its focus. There didn’t seem to be any.

Ouch!

The manuscript was full of vague (meaningless, really) sentences that really didn’t transmit much meaning. Lines such as: “The town I grew up in was in the middle of nowhere.”

Ouch!

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setting writing goals

Setting Writing Goals That Work For You

I have a goal for this post. I want to help you to develop and articulate your writing goals for the next three months—that is, 90 days. You can start your three months today, at the beginning of the next week or at the first day of the next month, but don’t put off setting writing goals.

Three months is taken from the business model which uses quarters—three months—to implement plans. It is a useful way to set goals for three months. Three months both give you time to accomplish something and is not too long that you get distracted or discouraged.

What exactly is a goal?

A goal is a wish with a schedule and a deadline. If you don’t have a schedule and a deadline, what you have is a wish and not a goal.

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dialog tags

Dialog Tags: the good, the bad and the sometimes intrusive.

We all know how important a precise and varied vocabulary is to our memoir writing. Words are our tools to make meaning. Most of the writers I have worked with want to develop the precise and varied vocabulary that can be so helpful in writing narrative. Unfortunately, they also believe that an extensive vocabulary is called for in dialog tags.

I’m offering you may “take” on dialog tags. The point of view I am presenting today is open to discussion. Sometimes I disagree with it myself, but here goes…

[to see this as a YouTube video, click here.]

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memoir-writing resources

16 Memoir-Writing Resources You Can Use Today

Having the right resources available when we need them can transform any task from a problem to a pleasure. The same is true of hunting down memoir-writing resources. I don’t know bout you but when I am trying something new—let’s say propagating a plant—that I’m not knowledgeable about, I head for either the internet or […]

writing process steps

Writing Process Steps—Linger With Your Story

One of the writing process steps is to linger with your story. Many, and perhaps most, people write too fast. I don’t mean that they end up with a text characterized by sloppy grammar, spelling problems and chronology issues—although that may be the case, of course.

No, what I mean is that they push through the process of writing their stories much too quickly. They end up with only a part of the story they could have written had they lingered.

So many times in my workshops, I have found it easy to tell those manuscripts that have been lingered over from those that have not. As somebody’s face reveals Irish ancestry or Italian heritage, a piece of writing reveals its past.

There is a quality to a piece that has been rushed that is easily discernible to anyone who has learned to write more slowly. So…learn to linger with your story.

One of the essential writing process steps

1. When you don’t take the time to linger with your story, you generally are unable to feel the full import of your memoir.

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set-goals-brainstorming-2398562_1920

22 Memoir-Writing Goals for the Second Half of 2022: Your Half Year Boost

DL: This post was originally published on December 29, 2021 and I have tweaked them to fit the second half of the year. How many of these goals have you accomplished in the first half of the year? These remain great goals. There’s still 6 months left in 2022 for you to succeed at these!

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Did you find yourself wandering along with your memoir writing in the first half of the 2022 year and not achieving your memoir-writing goals?  Do you have a sense that you might have accomplished a bit more writing than you have?

At the half year point, it is traditional to review how the past two quarters went for you and to create goals for yourself for the six months. (A goal is a wish with action steps and a timeline.) These goals need to be written and reviewed periodically.

Studies have shown that people who set goals in writing have a better outcome vis-à-vis accomplishing what they set out to do. Here’s a report on one such study. (The famous Harvard goal-setting study so many of us have heard of apparently never happened, but the concept of goal setting is clearly important and is explored in the linked article.)

22 Memoir-Writing Goals for 2022

Since this is a memoir writing blog, I thought it is appropriate for me to come up with goals that would further your writing success in 2022. And why not play with the year’s number—22?

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broader audience

How to Write a Memoir for a Broader Audience: 4 Tips

Would you like your memoir to attract a broader audience?  While family and friends are a worthy readership for your memoir, are you one of those many writers who aspires a larger public?

Writers will admit, if pushed, that they would enjoy a public response to their efforts. Your story can appeal to strangers—if you pay attention to these four tips—and may even move these strangers to new insights and motivations. And how knows—this broader audience may write you a fan letter.

My newest You Tube video offers you four easy-to-implement tips to help your story to appeal to a public beyond family and friends. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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