Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Series on how to Choose a Title for my Work

Choosing a Title for my Article
By Debbie Roome

Articles generally appear in magazines, newspapers, academic publications and on the internet. The tone can be serious, comical, educational or anything in between. Because there are so many articles out there, choosing a title is an important part of the finished piece.

Spend Time on Choosing a Title
In my experience, editors often change a title. Don’t be offended if this happens as they have years of experience and know what works with their particular publication. Instead, try harder to choose an appropriate title when next dealing with them.

How long should the Title be
Article titles are normally longer than fiction titles as they need to give the potential reader an idea of what they are about. Here are a couple of random titles from magazines I have lying next to my bed:

· The Fatal Shore
· Look Years Younger without Surgery
· The Life Lift Plan
· Stopping the Traffic

They all arouse curiosity and attract the reader to continue into the body of the article.

What about Newspapers
News reports often have eye-catching headlines to draw the reader in. These may be short and snappy or long and detailed. Here are a couple of examples from our local paper:

· Council pays $19m to save city’s recycling system as firm fails
· Family watch avalanche bury snowboarder
· Ministers’ limos costing millions
· Jury discharged

Play on Words
This can work depending on the publication and content of the article. To use a very clich├ęd example, an article about cats could be entitled The Purrfect Pet. In the right context, a title with double meanings or clever word usage can add value to the overall interest.

Internet Titles are Different
When writing articles for the internet, it is important to give them a simple title that describes the content. This is so they can be found when people do an online search. If someone is looking for information on caring for the aged, he will probably type in a phrase like “caring for the elderly” or words like aged, old, care. When choosing a title for an internet article, try and pinpoint what people will search for to find your work and use those words in the title. It is important to repeat the same words in subtitles and the body of text as well to get the best results.

Titles attract readers, inform them of what an article is about and entice them to read more. Practise naming articles by giving one of yours at least ten titles. Try this with other people’s writing too. It can be great fun and will give you a perception of how important the title is ... as well as how many titles are out there, waiting to be created.

Series on how to Choose a Title for my Work - Part One

Series on how to Choose a Title for my Work - Part Two

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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