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What to call memoir? (1 Viewer)

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MichelD

Senior Member
I had a positive response from a regional publisher after sending in three sample stories of my memoir of growing up in an isolated village on the west coast of Canada in the 1950s and 60s. This publisher specializes in this kind of local material. He asked (without commitment) for the completed manuscript for scrutiny. I'm ready to send it in.

I am struggling with even a working title for the manuscript. Should I try for a clever title like "There's no road there you know" or just call it "Stories from Deserted Bay" for now?

Also should I write "Copyright 2021" and my name on the manuscript?
 

WasatchWind

Senior Member
I had a positive response from a regional publisher after sending in three sample stories of my memoir of growing up in an isolated village on the west coast of Canada in the 1950s and 60s. This publisher specializes in this kind of local material. He asked (without commitment) for the completed manuscript for scrutiny. I'm ready to send it in.

I am struggling with even a working title for the manuscript. Should I try for a clever title like "There's no road there you know" or just call it "Stories from Deserted Bay" for now?

Also should I write "Copyright 2021" and my name on the manuscript?
I don't know about the copyright stuff - I am many years away from submitting a manuscript. But in terms of what you feel you should do as a title... I don't want to say "that's your choice" - that's annoying, unhelpful feedback. The problem is that I can't get inside your head.

The only memoir I've read is Homer Hickam's Rocket Boys (which inspired the film October Sky). You might consider what the focus of your memoir is. Even though it is a non fiction story, it, like any story, will have running themes.

If I was writing my memoir right now, with my focus on religion in my life, I might have a title echoing a favorite scripture of mine. Perhaps you might have your title be what people knew you as, or described you as throughout your life.

Generally, I'd say that you wouldn't want something too vague or common, nor something too long. Something that if you mention it, then people will remember it (as I'm assuming you're focusing on how to market this well.) When someone says Rocket Boys I instantly have that come to mind.

In the end, I'd say that since it is a memoir, I'd focus on making it feel meaningful to you. Real life is not as easily summarized as a book. It has no cut and dry, no loose ends ending. You can however look back on what your takeaway from your life experiences is. What did you learn? What memories do you cherish the most? What is it that you want to communicate to people reading your memoir.

Once again using the example of rocket boys - For Homer Hickam, getting interested in building model rockets is what changed his life forever. He and his friends were destined to be stuck in Coalwood West Virginia their whole lives. Their fascination with rockets however, and their work in learning and experimenting, led to him and all his friends going to college, and leaving the town for good. So the title Rocket Boys reflects important memories in his life, his feeling that it all happened with the help of his friends, etc.

I hope that the limited perspective of a 23 year old has helped you. I hope that everything goes well with your manuscript!
 

MichelD

Senior Member
Let's see:

Stories such as two 12 year olds "borrowing" a rowboat and rowing out to an island 5 miles offshore and barely making it back in the rising wind and waves for example.

A description of commercial hook and line fishing in an old wooden boat with a one-cylinder gas engine.

Various hunting stories, shooting first deer, and first black bear.

Various other juvenile adventures into the bush alone or with friends.

Narrow brushes with the law, including nearly shooting a friend's father not realizing he was downrange in the bush when fooling around with a .22 rifle.

Coastal life, descriptions of abandoned settlements that failed in the wilderness and the last remaining structures falling into the ground....
 

apocalypsegal

Senior Member
I like "There's No Road You Know". Publisher would likely change it, but who knows? It's catchy.

As to manuscript format, if they don't list their house rules, then follow standard manuscript format. You can find it with a web search. I don't think copyright is mentioned, as a publisher will apply for that when they get to that point.
 

MichelD

Senior Member
This sounds brilliant to me. I mean, as long as it agrees with the memoir's contents.

Oh it does. It was on northern Vancouver Island and for the first ten years of my life there was no road connection between north and south. In 1963 rough logging roads from north and south finally connected. Many mufflers and the occasional transmission dropped off cars on those roads. A real paved highway was not completed until 1979.
 

LCLee

Financial Supporter
There may be a reoccurring theme in your life as in lessons learned or coming of age. Also think of a subtitle. Mine is ‘Self Worth’ ... ‘A sixty-year struggle with ADHD.’ That might catch a reader who may have gone through similar situations. I don't know if I would localize it as that may reduce your number of readers.
 
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