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How Compelling Is Your Title?
by: Nick Vernon
Is Your Title Compelling?

Your title is your selling tool. It’s the first thing readers will scan and contemplate whether to read your story.

What your title’s job is, it has to lure the readers into your story – it has to be so compelling that they won’t even have a chance to ask themselves, ‘Will this story interest me?’

Their eyes will glide over the title and into the story before they realize it. The action will be instant.


What’s a compelling title? It’s one that instantly grabs our attention because it’s…

 Intriguing
 Interesting
 Catchy
 Provocative
 Amusing


Your title may not be all these things but it will have to be at least one. There should be something about it that grabs your readers.

So how do you write compelling titles?

Start by learning from the masters.

Learn from those whose articles and stories are published in newspapers, magazines and, in particular, pay close attention how the writers of Readers Digest go about it. They have been luring readers into their written material for years. They know their stuff.

Here are a few examples of titles taken from Readers Digest….


• Did I really need to know that?

• Who is Jack Kevorkian, Really?

• Against the flames

• Who Killed Margaret Wilson?


Do you have any newspapers or magazines handy, or even better, a Readers Digest magazine? If you do, note down a few titles, then analyze why those particular titles grabbed you.

If you don’t have any magazines handy, take a look at: www.amazon.com (in the books section.) See what titles are listed there. Or look at your bookshelf.


Compare them to your title.

Is your title compelling?

If you find that it could be better, here’s an effective way that will ensure you find the best title for your story…


Read through your story and on a piece of paper jot down sentences and/or words that appealed to you as you read. Jot down as many as you come across – Don’t worry about editing them for now. Just note down all that grabbed you.

Then look at your characters. Is there something special about them, a word you could use in a title that will grab readers’ attention?

Now with the list you have gathered, think about what you are saying in your story. Start crossing out the words and sentences that aren’t directly relevant to it.

Select a few words and look through a thesaurus for a nicer sounding synonym.

Choose the most appropriate group of words for the title.

Remember… your title has to be one or a combination of the below…

 Intriguing
 Interesting
 Catchy
 Provocative
 Amusing

______________

Have You Settled On First Choice When Choosing A Title?

We’ve established what a title should be and we’ve also established your title is your selling tool. So if it can make or break the sale of your story, then we’ll have to agree that it is extremely important. How much emphasis have you placed when selecting a title?


1) You can’t write a story before titling it, so you jotted down the first thing that came to mind.

2) You added it as an afterthought when you completed the story.

3) You put a lot of thought into it and selected the best one.


I hope it was the latter – and I hope you did this…


1) You noted down as many titles as you could think of

2) Then crossed out the titles you thought were ‘so-so’

3) And kept the most grabbing title of them all?


You did do this, didn’t you?
______________


Does The Title Reflect The Story?

We all have different tastes in what we like to read. Some have a particular taste for horror, while others prefer romance or fantasy or crime stories, etc. My favourite genre in short stories is horror, so once the title grabs my attention, I will enthusiastically read the story.

You may want to leave your readers in no doubt of the type of story you have written. That’s fine. You want to grab all the fans out there and/or recruit new readers into the genre you are so fond of writing.

So, how do you select a title that reflects your story?

Should the title always reflect the story?

Not always. But your title must have some sort of connection with your story.
_____________

Is There A Connection Between Your Title And Your Story?

If you choose not to have the title reflect the story that’s fine too. But there should be some relevance between them.

If, for instance, your story is about a man walking on the moon, then it wouldn’t make sense to title it, ‘Walking on Mars.’

If your story is an uplifting tale about two characters finding love, then your title isn’t going to mention death, unless of course one of the characters’ die.

At first your title may not give away the nature of your story. But once having read the story, the reader will understand the connection. Let me give you a few examples…


‘The Fire In The Sky’

This can be the title of a story in which an airplane explodes in midair or a story about a meteorite on its way to earth, etc.


‘An Angel Amongst Us’

Can be the title of a story about a person with extraordinary kindness or about an angel that leaves the heavenly realm to reside on earth, etc.

~~~~~~~~~~

You can be ambiguous in your title if you wish. Your title doesn’t always have to reflect your story. Having more than one possible meaning intrigues the reader but remember…

There has to be a connection between your title and your story.



About the author:
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Besides his passion for writing, Nick Vernon runs an online gift site where you will find gift information, articles and readers funny stories. Visit http://www.we-recommend.com



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