What's in a Title?

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm taking a poll, but it has nothing to do with the election.

Lately I've had several discussions with my writer friends about titles of blog posts. Should the title be descriptive so the reader knows whether the subject will interest him or her, or should the title be intriguing to rouse the reader's curiosity? The same question applies to the blurb included with a Facebook post linking to the blog. I'd love to have your comments telling me what type of title--informative or intriguing--is more likely to make you read a post.

As an illustration, but mostly for fun, ask yourself which of the following book titles shown in the picture attract you most.

  • Little Women or Pride and Prejudice. Both of these novels are about sisters who look for love. Okay, so you have to read partway into Little Women before the love stories start piling up, but they do come.
  • Bird by Bird or On Writing Well. These are both books about writing.
  • A Pebble in My Shoe or Four Continents to Freedom. Each is an autobiography about growing up in Europe during World War II, living in an internment camp, and becoming a refugee after the war.
  • The Last Voyage of the Lusitania or A Night to Remember. While one book is about the Lusitania and the other is about the Titanic, each tells the story of a passenger ship that sank at sea and lost over a thousand lives.
  • The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to) or The Law (in Plain English) for Writers. These books are both legal guides for writers.
  • An English Murder or Violet Dawn. Both are murder mysteries.
There are no right or wrong answers. It's all personal preference.

But I would like to know which type of title is more likely to make you read my blog posts.

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