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…
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…
© Nick Vernon
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