Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Working Chapter Titles for Your Memoir

WhaMemWriMo: Whatcom Memoir Writing Month

As I write my memoir, I title each chapter with a working title.  I like to put an action in the title so I know what is happening in that chapter without rereading it.  For instance: My Brother Hitchhikes to the Lookout Tower to Visit; Something's Wrong Inside: A Visit to a Lewiston Doctor; The First Lookout Tower We Hiked To.  

Once you title a chapter or scene, highlight it and give it a Heading Style.  I use Heading 2 in Word. If you know how to use the mapping panel (check the box), each of the scene titles with a Heading Style will show up as a list to the left of your document.  In most Word programs, you can move a scene to a different location by highlighting it and dragging it up or down in the list.  This saves time and confusion when rearranging scenes in your memoir (or novel).

In addition, with highlighted titles, you can build an Table of Contents.  Again in Word under References, click Table of Contents and choose a format.  It is easy to update your table as you continue to write your manuscript.  Your scenes must be titled with a Heading Style in order for them to show up in the table.

Most likely you will write a number of scenes before you start moving them around.  But you never know and this makes the process really simple. And if you can read the titles like a story, you will see where you need to add scenes later.

Have fun!
Nancy Canyon  

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