Welcome back to AuthorHouse Author’s Digest, and the second part of our series on travel writing (you can read part one in our Author Advice section). We’ve gathered these tips from some of the biggest names in travel writing and publishing, and selected the ones that we think would most benefit self-published authors.
So without further delay, let’s look at today’s new tips for travel writing!
Check your facts. By all means, talk to people on your travels (especially locals) as much as possible. Quotes are a great way to add color and realism to your story, and a casual conversation might open up entire avenues of investigation you’d never considered.
But where facts are concerned, do your research (before and after your trip) and double-check the information you gather. Just as most of us aren’t experts on our own hometowns or states, even a local’s claims can be influenced by urban legend, political beliefs, or just plain error.
Detail, detail, detail! Include as much detail as you can, large or small. Those details are what add interest to your story, helping it come alive! Don’t assume that your readers already know something about your location; they might know nothing more than the stereotypes they’ve seen in movies or television. And while you might emphasize the visual, don’t forget sounds, smells, tastes and even the tactile. Show, don’t tell!
Know what to leave out. Avoid events that might have been very significant to you personally, but won’t be interesting to a reader. That horrible bout of diarrhea that kept you stuck in your hotel room for three days straight? While it no doubt affected you, the reader probably won’t care. Likewise for lost luggage, the bus you missed, etc. (unless you’re using the story to illustrate something of value for the reader, like a safety tip).
Have a point. In our last article, we discussed how you should have a niche, an angle on your location that’s unique to you (Hawaiian locations that have been used in popular films, for example). Your story should also have a point; what information, what new understanding, would you like the readers to take away with them? Most (if not all) of the events in your story should support that point.
We’ll present the conclusion of our series on travel writing next week. Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting Author’s Digest!