So, dear readers, it is time for another installment in the How To Write Naked series. I can’t remember what number this one is in the series since I was off of the grid doing a bit of naked goat herding and naked pool dipping, but not at the same time. Let’s just say there were goats and there was a pool and sometimes I was naked. And while there was plenty of opportunities for naked writing, sadly it was a wi-fi dead spot and too far off a road to anywhere for the cable company to bother with, so I found other ways to occupy my naked time and thus lost count of where we are in the series, though matter, it does not.
I have received a few compliments lately on my titles, though sadly fewer on the words that followed. The previous sentence is a play for your sympathy. Yes, I’ve received title acclaim, but I’m clueless as to whether said title acclaim has outdistanced the general compliments I may have received. I just needed a way to introduce the subject of this article which you may already have determined by the title of this piece. Yes, I will be revealing my award winning title secrets. I haven’t actually won awards for my titles and I’m not good at keeping secrets which is why I’m telling you mine. But you might learn something, after all every now and again, a title needs a tune-up, but not one done by a tuna. I had tuna salad for lunch so I must have had tuna on the brain except I had it on toast. But back to the secret life of the title….
There are all kinds of ways to go when coming up with a title. Your title can be utilitarian and this is often the case with scientific or pseudo-scientific sounding nonsense parading as intelligence you sometimes find in dense hard to read articles. Of course, utilitarian is also a hallmark DIY post about installing cabinetry. And your reader will know exactly what to expect when they read your article.
And that can be a bad thing. They might decide they don’t want to read it based on the title because now they know what to expect. So sometimes, it pays to be vague. It can’t wait until it is free to be vague, but it feels there may be some zen transformation it needs to undergo, so it must continue to pay to be vague. The only reason for the previous sentence was to give me fodder by introducing specific words to enhance my titling options as will be revealed in a paragraph that has yet to be written but is about to take shape.
Titles can also be simple. See how easy it was to transition back on topic. I can do it when speaking, too, it’s not just a writing thing. Simplicity is often best when kept simple. Think The Notebook rather than Notes of My Summer With Jules, although both are good options, but one is simpler than the other. Of course, such simplicity is the hallmark of weepy chick lit stuff and may scare off potential readers that don’t go for that sort of thing.
But the best titles are the ones that keep you wanting to read more. Like any twelve step program I admit I had a titling problem in the beginning, but a breakthrough came with the Cerulean Blue Honey Sequined Love Nuns post. I had no idea what to use for a title, so I just pulled random words from the post and rearranged them a few times until I got something I liked. I got my first title compliment on that post. Okay, I’m not sure if it was indeed my first title compliment and since there is a digital record anyone so inclined to verify the veracity of statements made on this little part of the digital beach could so do, I’m distancing myself as I am a little fuzzy on the whole first thing, but that post stands out in my mind.
And for the most part, I’ve been doing it ever since, with it being the random word free association gymnastics to arrive at a titillating title. And the title compliments keep coming, though alas, the words that follow remain complimentless. Again, a clear play for your sympathy, don’t let yourself be manipulated. You will find that the challenge will become one of how do I work specific words into this piece just to give my title options a bigger canvas on which to splash paint. I should have just gone with the preposition at the end of the sentence in the previous sentence, but I tend to do that preposition ending thing quite often, so I’m taking a preposition ending break.
The beauty of my soon to be marketed on late night obscure cable channel TV titling system is that it combines the best of what you want in a title, and no one can ever be totally misled by one of my titles as almost every title I free associate to arrive at contains all of the words in the title, except this time. Yes, there is one word that does not appear in this article and the wordier among you probably know of which word I speak. (Apparently, I’m still on the preposition ending break.)
So to recap, and I hope to do it in a bullet style way but sometimes I find that style a challenge, rearranging random words to arrive at the title of your magnum opus or great work for those of you who didn’t take Latin in high school is the best way to attain title nirvana as it satisfies all of every good title’s desires:
- It grabs you in such a way that it gives you a sense of what it is about in that performance art, what the duck kind of way which is so intriguing in a baffling way. The reader is so intrigued or baffled or both that he must read on. (Apparently, the preposition ending break has ended.)
- (Okay, I’m so excited that the bullet thing worked, yet I’m still a bit nervous as I know the dismount can be tricky and I forgot what I was going to write for the second bullet so I’ll just move on to the third bullet which will now be the second though not in a zen way.)
- I think the first bullet kind of sums up the beauty and simplicity of the whole random free association using words contained in your article that additional bullet points are not warranted.
I will now attempt my dismount.
I’m sure that dismount would have garnered a perfect score if exiting bullet points was some kind of sport. My lingering in the bullet points got me to tinker with the title, yet again, which is what this titler tends to do with titles, though I’m not usually lingering in bullet points when I do title tinkering. But since I did, the wordier among you who were unable to find the word that appears in the title but not in the post, need not feel like you must relinquish your wordier than thou crown, because I rewrote the title since I wrote that sentence about one word not appearing oh so long ago. It might not seem long to you because you didn’t linger in the bullet points title tinkering like I did. And just so you know, the word that didn’t appear was support but you would have no way of knowing that since you didn’t know about the support title since that title never appeared anywhere you might have seen it.
So now you know my title secrets and you, too, can be the title tinkerer of your dreams. Of course, it helps to have a large vocabulary and not be afraid to use it. If you don’t mix it up word-wise, your titles will all sound the same. But if you are one of those limited vocabulary types, fear not. Just order something from the next ‘enlarge your vocabulary’ ad that comes your way, or just read. Read anything and everything, even the dictionary. But if you do, start with the letter “T” for that is where titillating titles and other words that begin with the letter “T” can be found.