Saturday, May 26, 2012

How To Write Better Travel Stories

A lot of readers have been checking out our submission guidelines lately. That's cool and we look forward to reading your stuff. Here are three tips to help your work not just fit the specs but rock the site.

1. Write quality not quantity. Whenever a famous author dies, people race to be first in uttering the phrase "He was a prolific writer!" That just means he produced a ton of words. Yet, when you ask what book was his masterpiece, so you can actually sample his art without devoting your life to it, you often get something like "Well, this book truly defined a generation and that one perfectly captures his self-loathing phase."

"Uh, okay, but which one is really really good?" - deafening silence. Authors who boast they write 500 words with each morning coffee and finish a novel on each 3-day weekend surely have their place in the Garden of Allah, but not at Sacred Ground Magazine. Write fine prose, then cut out all unnecessary words, then cut out a few more. Got it? Today's authors are throwing words out on the internet like yesterday's motorists threw litter out on the roadside. Don't make readers sort thru a lingual trash-heap to find a verbal gem.

2. Report the real story not the official story. If a politico says his country has the friendliest and most generous people in the world, don't write it down. If the chamber of commerce says happy days are here again while environmentalists say total global meltdown will be Thursday, ignore them.

Get out there and try to understand then document real life. Author material that's original enough for people to check up on you, but so accurate that they almost never prove you wrong. Yet, be humble when they do. There's no good reason why travel writers shouldn't be known as the world's best journalists.

3. Be sexy not oversexed. Global media culture tends to be highly sexualized but not necessarily sexy. If you're an effeminate man who has sex with your woman scheduled every other day between your favorite TV shows plus every day when she's ovulating, that's just sad. If you're claiming to be a hot bisexual girl when you're merely a burned-out asexual mess looking for someone at the backpacker hostel without lice to service you harder and faster, that's just scary.

Get a life, then write about life. When asked why he was the world's greatest lover, Johnny Depp's Don Juan DeMarco replied, "That's easy, I see the beauty in every woman." If you see the beauty in the opposite gender, you can scribble passionately about it. If you don't, you can't. Spare us the wounded anatomical hokey pokeys, but hungry lust-for-life romance is the whipped cream on life's cappuchino. Lick your creamy white mustache off with gusto, sing along with the following video, then write us a concise, no-bullshit, damn-sexy travel story.

1 comment:

  1. I won't get that song out of my head anytime soon!