Eyewitnesses to traumatic events typically talk about them, and they may do so for different reasons. Of interest was whether qualitatively different retellings would lead to differences in later memory. All participants watched a violent film scene; one third talked about their emotional reactions to the film (as one might do when talking to a friend), one third described the events of the film (as the police might request), and one third did unrelated tasks. Following a delay, all participants were tested on their memories for the clip. Talking about emotions led to better memory for one's emotions, but also led to subjectivity and a greater proportion of major errors in free recall. Differences were minimized on tests providing more retrieval cues, suggesting that retellings' consequences for memory are greater when retellers have to generate their own retrieval structures. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.