I'm trying to write a blog under the heading "A tale of happiness".

The problem is that it sounds odd and almost all the heading that sound right have "two $NOUN" format (in case of common nouns) or "$WORD and its opposite" format (in case of abstract nouns) at the end of "A tale of".

Like "A tale of two cities", "A tale of two sisters", "A tale of Love and Darkness" etc. These headings have more impact rather than "A tale of happiness" or "A tale of starvation". Apart from "A tale of" examples, even "A song of Ice and Fire", "Beauty and the Beast" give a strong impact on readers mind.

I know that my thoughts are very subjective and are based on pure observations, far away from the rules. So, can you please help me by figuring which if there exist some semantics rule which can explain this? Also can you suggest some alternate heading?


I thought about all the examples you gave and if you think behind each of the couples there is a simple but strong story. Love <-> Darkness; Beauty <-> beast. These two words are enough for the reader to start imagining. It thrills you the moment you read it and you want to know more. One word does not suggest a story for example "happiness" - at best you'll think of a moment in your life which you felt happy but not a new story. While if you say something like "Happiness and Maria" or "Happiness and motels" then this suggests a story right away. Also when making up the title try omitting "A tale of" and see how it sounds. "A tale of" is not the important part so when you put one word only after it it loses its strength. So this is my theory - I haven't thought about it before so hope this helps.


It's about word associations. If you write about starvation, and call it 'A tale of starvation', it's... not really telling anything other than that the writer lacks imagination. Or if you write about star-struck lovers and call it 'A tale of love', it basically says the same.

Personal advice: avoid this at all costs. Unless the title is sardonic in some way, or about the after affects of what the title might have hinted at. For example: A Tale of Loss, being about finding love and losing the bachelor's lifestyle. A Tale of Hunger, being about wanderlust, or bloodlust, or lust for battle. In other words, if you can imagine what the entire book is about just by hearing the title, then no one would want to read it.

Alternate naming suggestions:

  • A journey to happiness

  • Traversing happiness

  • Simple things (then as a subheader: Happiness is about perspective)

Try to be creative about what your overall theme is, and use that to your advantage.

  • Even the sardonic titles like "A Tale of Loss" and "A Tale of Hunger" don't sound that great. – Laschet Jain Aug 28 '16 at 18:18
  • @LashitJain The point is the tactic used, not the outcome of three seconds of thinking while typing... – Fayth85 Aug 28 '16 at 19:40
  • I get it, but my point is an example that supports your claim would have been good. – Laschet Jain Aug 28 '16 at 19:45
  • @LashitJain So would a winning lottery ticket ^_^ I guess I'll just have to keep at it until I get one. – Fayth85 Aug 28 '16 at 19:57
  • I'll also try to find some..And so our watch begins #GoT – Laschet Jain Aug 28 '16 at 19:59

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