Headlines can be attention grabbers or the reason why people never read your work. If you are writing news articles, magazine features or short stories you need good titles. A few more tips.
Cover of Beach Party
Go through your local newspaper and think like an editor. Make a few notes on what grabs your attention and why, also note what doesn’t grab you. This can be a very telling exercise.
Things that turn me off:
“Something about Mary” … a boring report about a lady called Mary;
“A Brush With Fame”… a cliche headline about an artist who met a celebrity and had a photo taken;
“Yearly Garden Fete” and “Local Scouts Attend Beach Party”… dull ones;
“Two New Jobs For (named person)”… so what?
Action words grab attention. Try using these. Use a Thesaurus to find them if needs be.
Why action words, known as active verbs?
Writers can make lazy choices, using generic ordinary words like: be, have, was, is, were and so on. They are passive and convey little. Try to think of more interesting words than these.
Dramatic words are definitely reader grabbers. Think about it. “Seized” sounds more dramatic than “caught.” “Storms looming ahead” sound more interesting than “It’s dark and cloudy today.”
Funny and Crazy are good too! Some examples and feel free to use them:
Two convicts evade noose due to hung jury;
NASA space shuttle hijacked by aliens;
One armed man applauds good Samaritan;
Red tape holds up new aquaduct;
Swimmers abandon pool due to poo;
Headless body found in topless bar;
Panda breeding program fails and vet takes over.
Everybody likes a good laugh so funny headlines and first line are excellent ways to get a reader’s interest. Good luck in your writing!