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Six days to go until the Paragram Paradox Prize reaches its deadline for entries and we have reminded you about the need to have your work read by someone else just to be sure that all sounds and looks as it should.

Today’s tip is just to take the time to consider your title once more. Ask yourself some important questions. The title is the first thing the judge will read and if it is memorable can stick in the mind long after a poem or piece of short prose has been read and may even prompt further readings.The more times your work is read the more familiar the judge will be with its nuances and that must be a good thing in a competition.

Here are a few title pointers

  1. Never leave your work untitled – in fact this is so important that we made it a rule that a piece MUST have a title.
  2. A title must add something to your writing – especially in a poem where every word must count. See it as part or the piece, not just an afterthought.
  3. If you are writing a competition piece with a theme, never make the theme or the name of the competition the title of your entry. We are expecting NO entries with the title ‘Paradox’ (please!)
  4. Don’t be satisfied with using the first line as the title unless repetition of that line is inherently useful.
  5. While a title must be catchy it should not be so obscure that the reader cannot work out the relationship between it and the piece of writing. No-one likes to be made to feel foolish. The key must be to delight the reader from the first word they read…and that will be the first word of your title.
  6. A good title will be catchy – it may be funny or poignant or puzzling but it must catch the attention and say ‘Read Me!’

There is still plenty of time to think hard about the title you have chosen…does it do your work justice? If not, think again.