A Title Is Only a Few Words

But, at least for a blog post, that may mean the difference between clicking a link and ignoring it.

A title or headline must grab interest in a few words, make the reader or listener pay attention for what comes afterward, and be descriptive of what comes afterward. So, no, we can’t just type in all caps “REALLY COOL STUFF AHEAD” and expect anyone to read it. Bummer.

Some words might incite interest, like “free.” If you use that method you’d better provide something free, though. And some clickers are getting wise to the oh-i-have-to-buy-something-else-to-get-it kind of free.

It’s enough to make people question the cost of free.

What else out there gets attention?

Another method of titles – which may not work in fiction – is to focus the writer for the article. It makes me think of novels titled “Frodo and His Epic Journey to Destroy the Ring.” Probably better not to do that.

Titles either seem to come to me or be elusive prey. I haven’t found a good method to hunt down a fiction title for an ornery story except to get help from someone else. Give it a working title and ignore the snickers of “Title Here” until something else fills the void.

In some ways, it would be nice to write more non-fiction. At least the focus is there to make something like “Five Tricks to Beat the Evil Overlord that Anyone Can Do” work.

Now that my brain has kicked into high gear to think of random tricks to beat evil overlords and stories I could work that into, I think I’ll be off to fantasy-land.

What do titles mean to you and how do you come up with them?

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3 Comments

  1. Vivian Zabel said,

    14 May 2010 at 14:55

    Sometimes (most times, thankfully) titles come to me full blown, but other times I struggle to find the right one until I’ve written some of the story or blog or whatever.

  2. Jamie said,

    14 May 2010 at 15:46

    I am the worlds worst at titles. Most of my published stories have single word titles that seem to work, but they could probably be a lot better.

  3. ransomnoble said,

    14 May 2010 at 15:50

    I guess I’m not the only one looking for a full-blown title-talent. Thanks, Viv and Jamie, for your thoughts.


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