The Heart and the Head

Its been rather a big week. After some time in the wash, swishing around, lacking clarity; I began to form a direction. 24″ Waste, so titled until, I think of a better one, has been an incredible challenge.

Mental health… Anorexia… migrant background… the adolescent world…


Need I say more. Well,I have rewritten it four times and still something isn’t working! Recently I attended day 1 of a 4 day memoir writers course. As I mentioned last week, ‘What is it about?’ That question kept rattling around in my head. A succinct answer to such a basic question, should be easy, Right?

My poor brain hurt.

Google offered me some clarity. Schicksal I wrote from the heart, a strong and interesting plot carrying it. This one seemed different, a lot more thinking involved. I struggled with plot: linear Vs non-linear, characters: tangible Vs imaginary and more…

Bubble, bubble, bubble the water level rose to my nose, so I tried another approach. Researching, I explored the front matter of the book. It is writing too, I reasoned. Tinkering and rewriting these small sections helped me with that recurring question and reconnected me to my manuscript.

Here is what I found. These points come from my jottings. Revisiting them helped me to consolidate my thinking.

Preface/ Foreword (a chance to speak to the reader about why you wrote the book)

  • Conception, subject, motivation
  • Brief description of main characters or theme
  • Purpose
  • Personal journey, difficulties, growth
  • +/- acknowledgement
  • Keep it short


This is a chance to thank those wonderful souls who patiently listened to your ravings as you tried to create a novel out of the spaghetti thought strands swishing around in your head. This part of the book can be chalky, so spice it up a bit. Remember, short.


I was surprised to learn that many readers overlook this, flicking past it to chapter one. Prologues may be out of vogue but can be very informative.

  • Provide a critical part of the back story relevant to the plot
  • Hook the reader with the story question
  • Give a sample of the main characters thinking
  • Resolve a time gap issue
  • Short and sweet!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Kindly leave a comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s