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This year, don't
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Great newsletter - originally found
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forward to Fridays (Juliet Wallace, Manchester, ENGLAND)
by Jennifer Stewart
As the baby boomers hit retirement,
the travel industry is set to explode. Why not take advantage of this interest
by writing about your travels? Here are some of the things to avoid in travel
writing and some of the things to include.
Use cliches. Editor of The Australian Way, the QANTAS inflight
magazine, Tom Brentnall comments: "A pearl is found in an oyster. There
is only one Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed, in Saudi Arabia - it is not
some trendy retail strip of designer clothing stores." (Ouch! How many
writers have been guilty of this one?) Brentnall continues, "Paradise is
where you go when you die (it is not five minutes from an airport) and a
magnet relates to electrical polarity."
Overdo the adjectives. Words you wouldn't dream of using in conversation,
often appear in travel writing: "fabled, wondrous, roseate."
Go silly with personification. Do buildings ever really smile; do ruins
beckon at every turn; do chimney tops sing their welcome? I don't think so.
- Use the first person. Fascinating as your reactions might be to your
immediate family, the rest of the world frankly doesn't give a damn what you
thought as you took your first mouthful of Mexican food.
- Mention religious or ethnic differences. It's so easy to patronise when you
wax lyrical about the quaint little customs of the villagers; the interesting
way the townspeople behave at funerals etc.
- Use "reverse-racism". To quote Brentnall again, "It is sad
how many articles we get that describe people of non-Caucasian descent as
being 'well-trained', 'polite', 'professional', 'well-spoken' and 'hygienic'
- State the obvious. Most people who travel are aware that the sun rises in
the east - even if you add something about the skyline, this is still old
news! If you're at the beach, don't write that, "the waves rolled up on
the sands" - surprise ... that's what a beach is.
- Use journalese. How many places have you read about where "old meets
new"; how many places have "twisting alleys", "bustling
thoroughfares", "half-forgotten byways"? Too many!
- Discuss the gory details. Travel writing is meant to accentuate the
positive, not the negative aspects of destinations. (Unless, of course, you're
doing an expose.)
- Be a snob. People from all backgrounds travel these days, don't alienate any
of your potential readers by using obscure language or allusions.
Use short words in preference to long words (likewise for sentences and
Focus on what's interesting and different about the spot. Find details that
are significant in some way - they might be unusual, colourful or humorous -
just look for something that makes the place special. Usually this will be a
combination of the place and the people. Look around for someone or something
that catches your eye and use this as the focus for your piece. Maybe there's
an unusual colour scheme in shop windows or buildings; a pedestrian that
causes you to stop and look, or an absence of something that you'd expect to
find in the area.
Jennifer Stewart is a
professional writer who offers copy writing, proof reading
and editing services for businesses and individuals from
She has undertaken a variety of assignments - writing articles for ezines and
the print media; preparing award submissions for business clients; copy writing
and proof reading works of non-fiction; editing web pages and ebooks; writing
press releases and much more.
If the spelling of words like "patronise"
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Find out more about travel
Interested in travelling to
Australia? Click here
to learn more about my little corner of the world!
Do you deserve a break? How about a
Want to know more about Queensland?
Click on the links below:
Peninsula - "smiles away" from care!
on a budget - free and inexpensive ways to discover beautiful
A little bit of Greece in Queensland
- the Blessing
of the Waters.
Apple and Grape Festival is help every two years.
Visit the Redcliffe City Council and
take a quick tour of one small part of Australia.