I’m so rubbish at coming up with titles for things. I swear, if it had been up to me, Midnight’s Children would have been called Several Overlapping Tales Set in A Crucial Period of History, or something equally long-winding and ridiculously uninteresting.
I just can’t seem to come up with short, catchy titles that beat with the pulse of the story or essay or poem. Well, poems are not so bad. You can pick up a phrase from one of the lines and make it the title, and people will applaud your poetic sensibilities at capturing the “pulse” of the poem, rather than catch onto your ineptness at titling things.
But titles aren’t even that important, you say. It’s the content which really matters, you tell me consolingly, and untruthfully.
Titles do matter. They’re the first thing you see when you read an article or a blog post or a book. It shapes your first impression of the work you’re about to read. That’s why clickbait is so annoying, because it eventually turns out that the article isn’t about what you thought it was about, and now you’re disappointed and frustrated that you read till the end.
That’s why my lack of this very useful, necessary skill frustrates me to no end, because everything I write, even if it’s good, ends up with some weird, verbiose title. And it’s no good telling me to shorten them, because then they end up odd and abstract. Is there a WikiHow article for this? A ‘How to Title’ series of video lessons on YouTube? A titling expert who’s willing and able to impart the secrets of his trade for the very reasonable and affordable price of $5.99?