Memoir Writing and Tiny Tip #1: Words in Your Title

by Matilda Butler on May 24, 2016

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #223 – Memoir Writing Tiny Tip – Matilda Butler



Today marks the beginning of a new (irregular) series of short blog posts designed to get you to focus on just one small point. I call them Tiny Tips.

The idea came to me while reading the program notes for a chamber music concert. I realized that many (well, ok, most) of my blog articles get to be long and often require you to do certain things like write from prompts I’ve provided. And while I will continue with this type of longer article because I think they are of real value, I realized that sometimes as writers we just want a little bit of information or a small new idea or a thought stated differently. We don’t have a lot of time.

Case in point:

“Both Mozart and Beethoven capitalized on the demand for piano music to which other instruments could play along, often doubling the piano melodies. Both composers called their work in this genre “Sonata for Piano and Violin,” emphasizing the primacy of the piano part.”

When I read those two sentences in the concert program notes, I thought about how I could turn that idea into a blog post. I was going to let it be the lead-in to an article about crafting titles for memoir vignettes and memoirs. I was going to research a number of memoirs and discuss what had been done in the titles. This would have become one of my usual long articles.

2016-Tiny-Tip-1Then I realized that I could just give you a Tiny Tip — something you could file away in your mind and it might come back to you at the right moment. Not a lot of research on my part. Not hours spent writing an article and finding relevant graphics. (The graphic you see this time is the one you’ll see over and over again.)

Nothing more than a Tiny Tip.

Memoir Writers’ Tiny Tip #1

So here it is:

Tiny Tip #1: Think what your memoir or vignette is really about. Make sure that the title doesn’t have a lot of extraneous words. Be sure that the most important part is stated first. Don’t wait for someone to figure out a cute title–they may simply move on rather than try to understand what you mean.

After all Mozart and Beethoven put the word “piano” before the word “violin” because it was the more important one and let the reader…the person purchasing the music…know that these are pieces that emphasize the piano. And if you play the oboe? Don’t get this music because it is only for the piano and violin.

End of Tiny Tip #1. Hope you will come to like this new series. Expect the rest of the series to be even shorter now that I’ve explained the concept.

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