Neopian Times Story: Yet to Have A Title
Picture this scene. You know it’s happened to all of us at one time or another.
You’ve just completed a really awesome story for the Neopian Times, and you’re about to submit it, when suddenly you realize that you don’t have a name for it. For a while you stare at the box where you’re supposed to type it in, wondering what in Neopia you could call your finished masterpiece. All the titles you can think of sound lame or unoriginal. What is the solution to this problem? What will unlock your brain’s creativity box?
Perhaps just a bit of deep thinking. Perhaps you should mull over the possibilities while playing Whack-A-Staff-Member. Perhaps you should think of the title tomorrow. Perhaps you should just submit your story as it is and let TNT think of a name for it, for Fyora’s sake!
A week later, you still haven’t thought of a title for your aforementioned awesome story. You still haven’t submitted it. Oh dear.
The sad truth is, sometimes coming up with names for your Neopian Times submissions is downright difficult. What defines a good name? How do you think of a title that will make your submission sound interesting? Below are seven tips answering these and more questions. If you follow these suggestions, soon you will be generating titles as quickly as the Alien Vending Machine gives out prizes. (And you’ll spare the staff members whacks on the head. That mallet is heavy, you know!)
1) Content Matters: This is the most basic and easy rule, but also the most important. Always pick a name that follows the plot of your story or article. For example, if you’ve written a story about a Kougra lost in the jungles of Mystery Island, your name should have something to do with Kougras and Mystery Island. Try to make your title specific as well. If you just called the Kougra story “A Kougra’s Adventures on Mystery Island” that could be about anything! It could give readers an impression that your story is about a Kougra spending the day at the beach or something. A more appropriate title would be “Lost on Mystery Island”, or something similar to that.
2) Refrain from Using “The”. Sometimes: It’s one of the most simple words in the English language, composed of only three letters and pronounced as one syllable. You guessed it! Our beloved little celebrity word, “The”. While using the word “the” in your title can be good occasionally, sometimes those three letters can be a bit too much. For instance, let’s say that you were writing a guide on how to get the Destruct-O-Match avatar. Instead of calling your guide “The Ten Tips to Conquering Destruct-O-Match” you would eliminate “the” and instead call your guide “Ten Tips to Conquering Destruct-O-Match”. It already sounds like a better title. However, sometimes “the” can be good. In my previous story in the NT, “The Black Hole: Elon’s Story” I used “the” on purpose, because Elon’s nickname was specifically, “The Black Hole” not “Black Hole”. It all depends on how you’re using our little three-letter celebrity.
3) Using Attractive Words: In my opinion, there are two major categories of words: Your everyday, typical, casual words, and special words that seem to pop out of the page. Those special words can be long or short, funny or sophisticated, but something seems to stand out about them. These words aren’t used much in your common everyday, neoboard context. Sometimes it’s nice to use these special words. Notice how I used “attractive” in my sub-title. Normally “attractive” isn’t a word that you use to describe words, but it probably caught your attention. Special words, used in special ways, are meant to ensnare the reader, so that the reader wants to read the story to find out why the word was used in that special way. Let’s go back to that fictional Kougra story I was talking about earlier. Instead of naming that story “Lost on Mystery Island” you could pull out your vocabulary of special words and name it instead, “Missing on Mystery Isle”. In this circumstance, you’ve added two special words to your title: “missing and isle”. These words are less common than their synonyms “lost and island”. Plus, the two m’s in the title add an appeal to the title, which brings us to our next category... But before we go to our next category, let me remind you to not go overboard with special words! For example, if I had named my story about Elon, “The Obsydian Abyss, Elon’s Biography” the whole point of the title would have been lost. Special words can be used here and there, but too much creates a rather intimidating effect. Okay... on to our next category!
4) Alliteration Always Amends: Alliteration, known more commonly as using-words-that-start-with-the-same-letter, is a great way to improve your title. It gives a carefree appeal to your name, and makes it sound nifty all in the bargain. Just make sure that the true meaning of what you’re trying to say isn’t overshadowed with this technique. As with all things in the naming process, don’t do too much!
5) Spelling and Grammar Walk Hand-in-Hand: Unless your story is about a Grarrl who’s learning how to spell, make sure your title is perfectly punctuated! (I think I’m getting a bit carried away with alliteration!)
6) Metaphors and Similies Also Walk Hand-in-Hand: Okay, everyone knows that spelling and grammar can’t walk, let alone hand in hand. Neither can metaphors and similes. But these techniques give your title an interesting appeal. For example, if you were writing an interview with the Shadow Usul, instead of just calling it “An Interview with the Shadow Usul” you could consider using a simile and name it “As Black as Night: An Interview with the Shadow Usul”. Suddenly the title is a whole lot more interesting than it was before.
7) Creativity Counts: The last thing you must always remember is that creativity is essential to everything. Sometimes it may take a while to think of a really creative name, but it pays off. Let’s look at our Kougra story one last time. Although you might like the sound of “Missing on Mystery Isle”, that title gives the story a carefree approach. If you like the way it sounds, that's great! However, if you want something more powerful, you may have to think more. Since Kougras originally come from Mystery Island, you might consider a title like “Lost in Homeland”. This gives the story a rather dramatic approach. It all depends on what your story is about. Which brings us all the way back to our first and most important rule, “Content Matters”.
Hopefully this guide has brought you seven steps closer to naming your story for the Neopian Times. Time to stop reading and go back to that scary name-box! You might just be able to fill it now, and give your awesome submission an even better title.
I hope everyone enjoyed this article! Be sure to neomail me with feedback, bad or good. (Although I would prefer good.)