How Do You Write the Title of a Short Story?

A short story title may seem like a small detail, but it’s one of the most important elements of your story. It determines whether or not people will read it, and can make or break the chances of your story being discovered. Titles need to be compelling and memorable, but also fitting with the genre and plot of your story. It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of writing your story and forget about the title, but it’s best not to rush the process. Titles are hard to write, and the right one can take a while to come to you.

The first step in deciding on a title is to consider the key emotion you want to convey. This can help narrow down the options and focus your imagination. If you don’t have a specific emotion in mind, try looking at your own life for inspiration. You may have a family anecdote or a recent experience that could be the basis for your story’s premise. Alternatively, you can look at popular books for ideas. Titles like Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, Crime and Punishment, and Vanity Fair all utilize themes that are familiar to readers and have been proven effective at drawing them in.

Once you’ve decided on an idea, the next step is to begin putting it together. Try combining different words, phrases, or ideas that you think might work. You can also use title generators or ask your friends for their ideas to find something that sticks out and catches your attention. Remember that a title should be easy to pronounce, as research shows that people are more likely to remember and understand words that are familiar.

You should also be aware of formatting rules for titles. While it’s not necessary to follow them exactly, they can give you an idea of how to structure your title and what is acceptable for the type of publication you are writing for. For example, you should generally italicize or boldface the title of a story, but not underline it. Using quotation marks is also acceptable and is often used to denote that the title is being quoted.

Another option is to include a key setting in the title, if it makes sense for your story. This can be a great way to draw in readers who are interested in certain settings, such as fantasy or modern-day Wall Street finance. It’s also a good way to tease major events or plot points in the story. Think of how movie trailers do the same thing to entice viewers to watch the full film.

Lastly, you can also consider including an object or location in the title. This is a strategy that many authors use in order to differentiate their stories from other similar ones. For example, The Lord of the Rings and The Nutcracker both feature important objects in their titles. However, this is a risky move to take because it can alienate readers who are not looking for that kind of story.