How to Write Dedications

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If you’re writing a dedication, you’re probably an author, screenwriter or filmmaker who wants to express your regard or gratitude for someone in your work. Book dedications are typically the first thing readers see after the title page. In film and television, they often come at the closing of the story, right before the credits roll. Whatever the medium, dedications should be brief. They should identify someone or something of importance to you and offer an insight that connects that person or thing to the work itself.

Dedication as a Memorial

  • Author Tim Dowling likens dedications to permanent memorials. He says they should have a timeless quality. Keeping this in mind, choose your tone carefully. Decide if you’re going to be funny or serious and if you want to use “Dedicated to” or just “To” as your opening. Then specify the subject of your dedication. Don’t just write, “To youth.” Write something entertaining if talking about your own youth: “To my ill-spent youth and all those I lost along the way.” Connect the person or thing to the work. If you’re dedicating a book to your friend Bill, who helped you edit the manuscript, you might write, “To Bill, the sharpest eye west of the Mississippi.” Dowling recommends making your dedication reassuring and inviting for the reader or viewer.

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