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Writer's Studio

Titles

Titles help you focus and develop your draft, introduce your readers t your topic, and provide another reason to read your work.

  1. Copy out of your draft a sentence that could serve as a title.
  2. Write a sentence that's not in your draft to use as a title.
  3. Write a title that is a question beginning with What, Who, When or Where.
  4. Write a title that is a question beginning with How or Why.
  5. Write a title that is a question beginning with Is/Are, Do/Does, or Will.
  6. Pick out of the essay some concrete image - something the reader can hear, see, taste, smell, or feel - to use as a title.
  7. Pick another concrete image out of the essay. Look for an image that is a bit unusual or surprising.
  8. Write a title that begins with an -ing verb (like "Creating a Good Title")
  9. Write a title beginning with On (like "On the Title of Essays").
  10. Write a title that is a lie about the essay. (You probably won't use this one, but it might stimulate your thinking.)
  11. Write a one-word title - the most obvious one possible.
  12. Write a less obvious one-word title.
  13. Write a two-word title.
  14. Write a three-word title.
  15. Write a four-word title.
  16. Write a five-word title.
  17. Think of a familiar saying, or the title of a book, song, or movie that might fit your essay.
  18. Take the above title and twist it by changing a word or creating a pun on it.
  19. Do the same with another saying or title of a book, song, or movie.
  20. Find two titles you've written so far that you might use together in a double title. Join them together with a colon.

from Richard Leahy's "Twenty Titles for the Writer"

College Composition and Communication, Vol. 43, No. 4, December 1992