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Hi again Sandy, I hope you are well!

I wanted to ask you about chapter titles in memoirs.

I am thinking of going with telling the many occurrences individually, via having a chapter for each one, as with the memoir I'm writing I'm finding it very difficult to fill the blanks and go from one scene to the next.
It isnít a novel it is real and I really do not want to fill the book with fluff or take focus away from what is to be recognised.

Do you think this is a good way (not boring for the reader) to deliver my memoir? Ė So long as the writing is good, as that's what makes or breaks it isn't it?

Is it possible to literally title each chapter according to the occurrence for example; the time I knew I had to get out.  

I've read an article saying Roman numerals, letters then numbers are used in terms of category, subcategory etc. Is it not okay to title each section/individual recalled event with my own title?

On a different note quickly, how can put my unvoiced thoughts of the situation at the time and my present thoughts of the then situation, in to the book in each section/chapter?

Do I write these during the present tense chapters? If so, how do I distinguish the event going on and what I was thinking but not saying at that time?
Then there's also what I'm thinking now to add. Or do I at the end of the book have a present time chapter and give my current take on the whole lot with my final words in there?

Thanks so much,

Thanks so much,
L  

Answer
Hi L,

Just touched down after 26 hour flight from Morocco to Australia so jet lag is making things a bit weird!

I would stick with traditional "chapter one, chapter two" etc. Having names for chapters is a bit prescriptive and rather old fashioned.

As to your other question about reflection; don't complicate things for yourself. Simply reflect. "I thought..." "I sensed..."

I would not have a present time chapter, but incorporate your feelings as you go alone, otherwise you have to remind the reader each time about what you are referring to. I would, however, consider an epilogue as a way of closing off your account.

Hope this helps,

Cheers

Sandy

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Sandy McCutcheon

Expertise

Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!

Experience

Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at http://www.riadzany.blogspot.com for a look at his blogging work.

Education/Credentials
St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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