Title Practice

Thursday, December 18, 2008
by LuAnn Schindler

Sometimes, coming up with a clever title can be a daunting task. For a straight news story, an inventive title can come across as corny, or in some instances, misleading. Feature stories and personal profiles may draw a reader in with a witty title splashed above the story. But still, there are times when the obvious lead-in fails to pop into my mind.

Once, I wrote about the local economic development group that gave each graduating high school senior a mailbox with the hopes that one day, they would return to this county and establish a residence. I can't even remember what pitiful title I submitted to my editor. I imagine he gasped in horror and thought, 'Well, she's having a stressful day. Better luck next time.'

To my delight, the headline combined my editor's brilliance with a short overview of the article and said 'You've Got Mail: Seniors Receive Gift for Future Use." It worked, and my story and headline received supportive comments.

Since then, I've practiced sharpening my headline writing skills. First, I'll read newspaper or magazine articles and then rewrite the headline. I've discovered that it makes me look at each word I use and make sure it counts.

Another game I enjoy playing is to create headlines or titles about my life. I'll use these categories:
  • Personality profile
  • Sports feature
  • Business feature
  • YA novel
  • Historical fiction
  • Reality show
  • Chick Flick
  • Documentary
  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction

Add your own categories and work on fine-tuning your headline and title writing skills. You'll be amazed at how this stretches your creativity!


Anonymous said...

Great idea, LuAnn! Headline and title writing aren't my strong suits and I can use all the help I can get!

Joanne said...

It's amazing that something so seemingly simple - headlines, titles - can be so daunting. So much needs to be communicated there in few words. Thanks for the tips.

Danette Haworth said...

My comment isn't related; I wanted to pop in and say


to all the ladies of this wonderful site!


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