"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" "Something Wicked This Way Comes" "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" These are considered some of the most interesting book titles on the market. A title can be the determining factor when someone is choosing a book to buy. You may not be selling your essay, but you still want it to have a title that will draw in your reader. A good title is one that sparks the reader's attention, tells the reader basically what the essay is about and sets the tone of the essay.
Essay First, Title Last
Most authors do not work from the title first. Sometimes they may have a working title in mind that may or may not become the actual title for the piece. The working title simply reminds the writer of the essay's focus. Usually the final title is determined after the piece is written. Student writers may waste a lot of time trying to dream up a great title before they even write their essay. However, it's much easier to write the essay first and then think of a creative title.
The Why of the Essay
Good titles offer potential readers the reason for reading the essay in the first place. The best place to find the reason for an essay is in the thesis statement. Typically, this is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph. Try working the thesis statement (or part of it) into a title. For example, take the thesis statement, "The American colonies rebelled against Great Britain because they were tired of being taxed, and they resented British military presence in their lives and homes." A creative title might employ alliteration: "Tired of Taxes and Troops."
Popular catch phrases that apply to the essay's topic make eye-catching titles, especially if using the phrase is amusing or creates an interesting pun. "Do You Want Fries With That?" could make a funny and interesting title for an essay about the difficulties recent college grads have in finding jobs in their chosen fields. As another example, an essay about controversial court rulings might be titled "Just Saying."
Combine Ordinary With Unusual
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is a creative title because it combines something ordinary -- a guide -- with something unexpected, the galaxy. When this novel was written, there was a popular travel guide called "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe," and the novel's title was a nice play on that. As another example, suppose your essay is about the effects of climate change on weather. A creative title might combine a reference to an ordinary local weather forecast with the huge impact of climate change, such as: "Up Next: The One-Hundred-Year Forecast."
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