Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Story Titles Are Important for Writers and Readers

A colleague recently asked me to read the first draft of a captivating personal essay, but something was missing the right title and the real story. A third of the way into the piece I found both. Interestingly, the discovery of the title brought the discovery of the real story.

A story's title reveals its heart
Titles are important because they're like rudders, guiding writer and reader along the story's path to its heart.

Here's how to find your title (and possibly your real story):
  • As you reread your work, what word or phrase stands out, and why?
  • Does it capture what is or should be the essence of the piece?
  • If so, how?
  • Does the story change with the new title?
  • If so, in what way(s)?
  • Is the title original without being flashy and detracting from the story instead of substantiating it?
  • Does the title reveal the heart of the work without giving too much away?
Titles are important because they keep the writer and reader on track.

What story are you working on whose title you're unsure of?

Happy writing!

For more tips, visit my online workshop, Word for Words.

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