Friday, 23 April 2010

For My Dear Friend Without Whom...

Writing the dedication is one of the nice bits of being a writer. It's your chance to say thank you to anyone who has helped you with the book, or in your life, or to make a wider point. However, dedications are a bit like the Oscar winner's speech you've been practicing for years; when you actually get to the point of writing one you're suddenly not so sure.

My daughter got the dedication in my first book. It seemed fair, given that I'd used her name for the main character, promising to change it when the book was finished, but I never did. Also, she was (and still is) the only member of my family who showed any signs of interest in my writing. But when the book came out, oh the complaining from my son. Why wasn't he mentioned etc etc.

So dedication No 2 went to him. My partner got No 3. My lovely parents, to whom I owe so much, got No 4 - just in the nick of time as my father died a couple of months after the book was published in hardback. My dear friend Nancy, who reads all my first drafts, and was a terrific personal support a few years back, was a shoo in for No 5. Now I'm on No 6, and it's getting less obvious as to whom I should dedicate the book to. My dear old dog is desperately ill at the moment, so I'm tempted to give it in memoriam of him, but perhaps it would be more tactful to mention my agent, or some of my other friends and family.

Still, think of the problems should you write for younger children. You may have several books out each year, and start to run out of children to dedicate them to so you have to move on to adults. The only book that has ever been dedicated to me is called All Aboard to Work Choo Choo! by Carol Roth and Steve Lavis, and as you might guess from the title I'm not in the target age group.

Worries, worries - it's not all champagne and flowers being a writer you know. How do other writers choose?


Jenny Haddon said...

I'm very fond of PG Wodehouse's: something like 'To my daughter Leonora, without whose unfailing support and encouragement this book would have been written in half the time.'

I would dig out the exact quotation but I don't trust the Net and I dare not start thumbing through my PGW collection, not at this hour of the morning. Maybe this evening.

I don't dedicate books on the whole. Not unless there's some really special reason. Maybe I should reconsider

Sarah Duncan said...

Oh but you must Jenny, think of all the pleasure you'd give. People LOVE having books dedicated to them.

The PG Wodehouse quote made me laugh - the dedication in Another Woman's Husband was To Steve, without whom this book would have been written faster, but life would have been in black and white.