Titles are a special form of hell. Coming up with a title that grasps the attention of readers, while also giving them a clear sense of what your paper is about, is incredibly tricky. For students, the audience of your papers are usually TAs and Professors. Giving them a standard title will be boring because they’re probably reading about 20 to 30 papers. If you want to stand out, the first place to start is the title.
Here are some tips for how to write a good title:
1 Write First; Worry Later
An obvious idea, but until you have your ideas and arguments in solid hard copy (or soft copy), don’t try to crack down on a title.
2 Thesis → Title
Because your title should represent the content of your paper, why not try turning it into a title? Like your thesis statement, readers should get an idea of what your paper is about by just reading the title.
3 Employ the “Quip & Colon” Manoeuvre
Some writers like to use a fun, catchy “quip,” followed by a colon, followed by a more detailed statement about the content of their papers. Consider the following examples:
- “Canvas and Mirror: The Symbolism of Mars in The War of the Worlds and The Martian Chronicles”
- “A Higher Love: The Speaker’s Passion for God in John Donne’s ‘Batter My Heart’”
- “The Articles of Capitulation: Reconstructing the Political, Social, and Economic Context of Post-Conquest Quebec”
4 Ask yourself WHY?
If you are really stuck, ask yourself WHY:
- Why do you think your topic is important?
- Why should someone read your paper?
So here’s the thing: if you put a lot of hard work and time into a paper, you want your professor to be interested and excited to read it. This is why creating a capturing title is vital to your assignment writing process.
If you’re still feeling unsure about where to start with titles, and you want to have a bit of fun, try out this generator: https://www.besttitlegenerator.com/index.php. I don’t recommend that you get your title from an online generator, but these are long, snowy days, and we could all use a good laugh.
Stay thirsty (for writing) my friends,