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Travel Writing By Numbers


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An introductory workshop on travel writing for those who are daunted by words...From the presentation at TBU2012

Published in: Travel, Education, News & Politics
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Travel Writing By Numbers

  1. 1. Travel Writing by NumbersTravel Bloggers Unite – Umbria 2012 Abigail King
  2. 2. Who am I?Journalist Lonely Planet, CNN, Huffington Post, France Today, National Geographic Traveler & more Medical journals @abigailking
  3. 3. Who am I?Blogger Inside the Travel Lab @insidetravellab
  4. 4. Who am I?Medical Doctor Swapped a career as a hospital doctor for a life with words and pixels.
  5. 5. This Workshop• Are you thrilled to get into blogging but intimidated by the writing part? Not sure where to start or how to improve? This workshop will give you a solid framework to use to make your writing cleaner, stronger and more powerful• Two minute tricks to make your writing better• How to overcome writer’s block• Grappling with grammar• Where to go next – resources to help you
  6. 6. What is writing?• Conversation• Telepathy• Magic• Mundane
  7. 7. like driving
  8. 8. Writing Is Like Driving• You can learn to do it• You can learn to do it well• It’s a skill that brings you great freedom, pleasure and other opportunities• Some people do it exceptionally well• You may or may not be one of them• So what? Not winning a Grand Prix doesn’t stop you from driving
  9. 9. The Secret•The secret to great writing is...
  10. 10. •Rewriting•A.k.a editing
  11. 11. Getting Started• Start wherever you like• Edit. Edit, edit, edit and then edit some more• Mix in the X factor
  12. 12. The PointWhy are you writing this post?• Information guide• Provoke a discussion• Entertain
  13. 13. City Guide to Seville• Introduction• Bars• Restaurants• Hotels• Attractions• Links• Photos• etc
  14. 14. Emotion Based Writing• What’s the idea behind the story? What do you want the reader to feel?• What’s the plot?• Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy quits job to become a travel blogger and show girl just what a mistake she made. But then...• Sometimes not clear...In which case, start writing and fix it later
  15. 15. StartYou can always edit badwriting but you can’t edit ablank page
  16. 16. Two Minute Tricks• Start typing and don’t look up, don’t look back, don’t correct any typos, just write, write, write and then write some more• Put on music to match the piece you’re writing• Go for a walk
  17. 17. Two Minute Tricks• Do something so boring you return to your desk and write.• Filing, ironing, press-ups are good for this.• Checking Facebook and Twitter are definitely not.• Invest in transcription software (or pay someone to type up your audio)• Have a default proclamation of encouragement (I have “This is a great presentation!” on my default Powerpoint slide. )
  18. 18. Finish the First Draft• Do whatever it takes to finish that first draft• Take a break from it• Come back and edit• When you come back – check you have the following in place:
  19. 19. Do you have...• A POINT?!• You should be able to summarise it within one sentence: – An informal city guide to Seville – A heartbreaking story about genocide – A funny case of lost in translation
  20. 20. Writing By Numbers• 1)Trimming Tools• 2) Passive• 3) Adverbs• 4) Adjectives• 5) Paragraph Starters• 6) Introductions• 7) Finishes• 8) Call to Action• 9) Flourishes• 10) Grammar & Spelling
  21. 21. Trimming Tools• Remove at least 10%• Anything that crept in that doesn’t fit with your point• Sentences longer than 30 words (aim for under 25)• Word repetition
  22. 22. Short Words•Use them
  23. 23. The Passive• My newsletter was subscribed to by a reader• A reader subscribed to my newsletter
  24. 24. Adverbs• Amazingly, awesomely, slowly, quickly• He walked quickly• He sprinted• He strode
  25. 25. More Adverbs• He said happily vs he giggled• He said quietly vs he whispered• Hit Edit>Find> search for “ly” words
  26. 26. Adjectives• Tall, thin and lanky• Colours: red vs scarlet vs rust vs pomegranate• Beautiful, lovely, gorgeous, awesome• Don’t tell me that something is interesting: show me!
  27. 27. Paragraph Starters• Have paragraphs• Look for a natural transition• Avoid: after that, we did, and then, there was
  28. 28. Introductions• We are all too busy to do everything we would like to• If readers are not excited by your headline and your introduction, you lose them• Make sure it’s punchy• Make sure it stands alone
  29. 29. Finishes• Return to your point• Try to mirror your introduction if possible• Don’t forget this crucial aspect of writing for a blog....
  30. 30. The Call to Action• Subscribe• Share this• Buy this city guide• Read another post
  31. 31. Flourishes• Quotes• Interviews• Facts• Colourful expressions• Themes
  32. 32. Grammar• Getting ready for a date – going out with food stuck in your teeth – Run a spellcheck – Learn your weak spots – It is and it’s. Your and you’re. Their and they’re and there.
  33. 33. Minty fresh• Read it aloud• Check words on a mainstream press site• Run through your checklist• Press publish• Publicise
  34. 34. Where to go next...• My next session!• Matador or for online courses• My online course on social media for writers:
  35. 35. Going furtherBooksWrite to Sell – Andy MaslenOn Writing – Stephen KingStory - Robert McKeeBlogsCopyblogger
  36. 36. Thank @abigailking @insidetravellab