February 15, 2016

Tips in Choosing Titles

How do you choose a title for your story or article?  Do you have one in mind before you write the piece?  How do you know if it's a good title?

The purpose of a title is to give a reader some idea about the content of a piece.  It is the first thing that I look at when reviewing a submission for Kid's Imagination Train.  But sometimes a title may fail to promise what it plans to deliver.  For instance, several months ago I received a nonfiction submission with a title that led me to believe that the piece would be about scientists helping people in unique ways.  Instead, the article centered on inventions. The title was misleading.

Titles can be straightforward and to the point, or they can be creative and lively.  Ideally, titles should pique a reader’s interest.  In a recent submission to KIT, I received a wonderful poem titled "What do Bears do in the Rain?" The title immediately captured my attention.  An article written by Erin K. Schonauer and Jamie C. Schonauer and published in Stories for Children Magazine was titled "The Cresent's Ghostly Guests".  Makes you curious, huh? 

Here are some tips in choosing titles:

Choose a title after you have written the article. 
Keep the title short.
Use playful titles and alliteration for a very young audience. 
Use snappy titles for older children.
Create intrigue.
Read your article again and see if the title is a good fit.

Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, a title must relate to the content of the piece.  In the bear poem, we learn exactly what bears do in a downpour.  And in the ghost article, we discover where haunts occur and and why.

A good title whets a reader's appetite.  It gets them in the mood to read your work. When you choose a title that relates to the essence of a story, article or poem, you won’t disappoint your audience.  You will deliver what you have promised.

February 1, 2016

The Power of No

How do we feel when we hear the word no?  When a publisher or an agent says no (as in a rejection), it stings us temporarily.  We move on and submit again because rejections are part of the writer's life.  But how do we feel when an acquaintance or a relative tell us no?  Often, we feel miserable for quite a long while.    

People use the word no to assert themselves or to feel superior.  As a result, this little word invalidates our remarks and leaves us speechless, powerless, and crushed.  This is a form of bullying—intimidating someone verbally, through e-mails, or with text-messaging.   

Most writers have experienced rejection from a publisher or agent, but this is not a form of bullying.  It is a method that is used to convey that a submission is not up to standards. However when we deliver the perfect manuscript, that rejection can turn into an acceptance. 

On the other hand, people who habitually say no have developed a trait that can rarely be changed.  Anything we utter (or e-mail or text) will and shall be met with nope.  So, to shield ourselves from being hurt, we can focus on what we can change.  We can steer clear of toxic people.  We can politely limit contact and conversation.  Then when we do so, we can surround ourselves with people who communicate with more respect.     

Coming Feb. 15:  A post on tips for choosing titles