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How to Do a Creative Title


A bland title could turn a reader away from your story, essay or book. A creative title, on the other hand, grabs a reader's attention while hinting at what's to come. The direction your title will take -- that is, how creative you can be with it -- depends on the creative freedom the format of your text requires. A formal essay requires a particular kind of title, while a poem or short story can handle more imaginative titles.

Jot down the main themes in your story or essay. The themes are the main subjects your paper deals with, such as love, relationships or politics. Themes can also be the message of your paper, such as the negative effects of war or dealing with the loss of a loved one. Summarize or describe the themes in a few short phrases or even single words.

Search for apt quotes. Often academic papers begin with a quote relevant to their theses, followed by a colon and a brief description of the paper, such as "'To be, or not to be': Philosophizing in 'Hamlet.'"

Pick a significant theme or motif from your text. Usually stories or narrative essays incorporate images or symbols meaningful to the main character or expressive of a central theme or idea. Including one of these in the title helps unify the story.

Craft the ideas you have accumulated into a title of anywhere from one to 10 words. Academic or research papers often follow the "Quote: Theme" format, while creative writing titles can be as short as one word. Effective academic essay titles succinctly summarize and leave no doubt as to the topic of the paper. Story titles, on the other hand, can be a little vaguer to peak reader interest.

Tips
  • Ensure your title captures the mood of your narrative. If you have woven a bleak and somber tale, a title with words such as "sunbeams" and "happiness" may not be appropriate.
  • Always capitalize the first word in a title. Capitalize all other words except for words two letters or less, unless they are pronouns, such as "he" or "it."
About the Author

Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.

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