Thursday 19 July 2018

Grabbing a Young Reader by the Throat

We often write our stories then later decide upon the title. Why not do the opposite? Start with a zinger of a title at the top of the page to keep reminding yourself of your focus. You might change it several times while writing, but it can be your rudder as you weave from one paragraph to another.
A title can put you in the right mindset. That handful of carefully selected words can energise you; make you pound keys to make the point. If they can impact you, they can likewise seize an editor and a reader.
In writing for children, key words to use in titles are: words to use are
SECRET                MAGIC
MYSTERY            GHOST
WITCH                  WIZARD
DRAGON              DINOSAUR
NAUGHTY           RUDE
Use the following tricks to make a title sparkle. They have been collected from actual children’s books and magazines. You have to admit, most of them make any child want to turn a page.

Naughty Words: Bumosaurus; On Your Potty!;The Buggerlugs Bum Thief; Bums, Tums, Toes and Tails; Nude School; The Naughty Book                                                                     

Promise: How to Make Your Parents Love You; Read Me and Laugh; The Birthday Tree; How to Speak Dog; The Power of Your Big Toe; How to Be Top of the Class                                                                                                                                                 Alliteration: Big Bad Bruce; Perky Little Penguins; Dare Devils; Captain Congo and the Crocodile King; Ratbags and Rascals; Fidgety Fish and Friends; Basil Bopp the Burper                                                                     
Mystery: Hide Till Daytime; Step on a Crack; Clinton Gregory’s Secret; Ruby Rosemount and the Doomsday Curse; Things in Corners; The Case of the Kidnapped Brat
Numbers: Ten Ways to Get Out of Cleaning your room; Eight Biggest Homework Excuses; Five Simple Ways to Get Your Teacher to Like You; 101 Revenge Tricks; Six Seconds to Midnight; One Minute from Death                                                                        
Play on Words: It’s Time to Sleep, You Crazy Sheep! The Illustrated Mum; Don’t Throw Rocks on Chicken Pox; Our Home is Dirt by Sea; Erky Perky Silly Stuff                                                                          
Immediacy: Give Me Truth; Countdown to Trouble; When you’ve Run Out of Fun; When Toys Come to Life; Now is the Time! Hands Up!

Contradiction: A Cage of Butterflies; Come and Play, Mr Croc; Deep Sea Doctor; Perfect Horror; Sink or Swim; The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Miracles: How I Got My Life Back; Saved from the Bully! Sam and the Killer Robot; My Uncle’s a Werewolf; Miraculous Miranda; Rescuing my Teacher; Real Magic

Humor: Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeballs; The Incredibly Boring Monotonous Family; That Smell is my Brother; The Undertaker’s Gone Banana; Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God                                                                         
Action: Freak Street: Meet the Zombiesons; Splash; The Running Man; Escape by Sea; Boy Overboard; Blink and You Die; Roller Girl                                                                                 

Common Expressions:No Worries; To the Moon and Back; Just in Time; Excuse Me, Please; Out of Bed, Now!

Questions: Whose Eggs; Whose Knickers? Where’s Mum? What is Poo? Ask Me Anything; What If? Can I Catch it Like a Cold?                                                                            
If you want to find out how effective your proposed title is, has a

Writer of this article, Dianne (Di) Bates has published 130+ books for children over a career lasting more than 30 years.

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