When some people encounter the dense and complicated maze of book titles, they break into a sweat? Once upon a long time back, I was tormented and tortured by title trouble. I love writing, but when it used to come to choosing a title for my work, then, I would end up tearing my hair in frustration.
The titles of my stories and features would be a complete mismatch with its contents. My journalism lecturer in college constantly urged me to choose better titles for my articles and features. According to her my titles never did my writing justice. They were not catchy enough. This habit continued even when I started writing for newspapers. Often the titles of the features and stories I sent were changed. And changed for the better.
I constantly wondered how other writers came up with such amazing titles. Jealousy and envy stabbed my heart whenever I read their titles.
To become title savvy, I plunged headlong into the world of titles. It couldn’t be that hard, I thought. If few writers could achieve wonders with it, so could I. Whenever I read any articles or books, I pondered over the titles. Did it suit the story? What did it highlight? Slowly I transferred this detailed attention onto my work. What was I trying to tell my readers? What was the article/book all about? How could I sum up the work in a few words? What was the best way to convey what I had written?
It was a tedious task, but eventually I got the hang of it. Nowadays the title trauma no longer affects me. For the past several years, the editors have thankfully retained most of my titles. In my title quest, I have learnt several things about them.
1. A title should be like a teaser. It should arouse curiousity. Based on the titles readers pick up books, or, read the articles and stories in newspapers.
2. Diving into the heart of the story to emerge with a suitable title is a great idea.
3. Short and snappy titles have immediate attraction.
4. Popular and catchy phrases work better than long and boring ones.
5. Titles that have instant recall are seldom forgotten.
What about you all? Do titles trouble and torment you? Or are you the lucky ones who come up with winners? Do you have any title tips that you would like to share?