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.

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