We don’t actually talk about the writing part of travel writing much on this site.
And it’s not exactly because there are tons of other sites out there talking about to actually write publishable articles for travel magazines.
Though this is certainly an issue.
There are a lot of resources out there that tell you how to source ideas or test headlines for blog posts. And then there are a very small handful of resources that tell you how to do serious storytelling (though unfortunately all the ones I’ve come across cover so very many things at one time I can’t imagine it makes a lasting dent in your writing quality or ability to find stories with compelling characters and moving story arcs).
So if there’s not good information out there on how to write articles, why am I not telling you, regularly, how to write the kinds of pieces editors publish?
There are two main reasons, but the first is that you don’t need me to.
(“Yes, I do!” you may be thinking.)
You really don’t though.
Because writing for magazines works like this: Once you get an assignment for a magazine you’ve never written for, you study back issues of the magazine to see how the story you have been assigned is usually put together.
- Are there interviews?
- How many?
- With what type of people?
- How are the quotes incorporated?
- What kind of lead (opening) does the story have?
- Are there subheads or one uniform block or text?
- Does the article follow a certain trajectory in how it presents information (i.e. catchy descriptive lead, interview quote, then service information)?
- How much background information is included?
- How much historical background?
- Cultural background?
Forward-looking information on what is coming soon?
- How much descriptive detail?
- What kind of descriptive detail?
When you’ve gathered this information, you not only have a road map for writing your story, but also for researching it.
But there’s a second, and much more important, reason that I don’t talk about how to write travel articles for magazines or editorial websites here.
The style, format, and structure are all completely different in every case. Not just for every magazine, but also for every section within a certain magazine.
This is why we are so adamant in the Travel Magazine Database about breaking down each section of a magazine that is open to freelance pitches and all of the details about what is included, what the tone is, and what the structure is for that specific section.
There is no such thing as a travel article without an audience. This is why editors don’t accept stories that you’ve written in full before pitching. So I don’t want to tell you how to work on travel articles and have you avoid pitching because you’re working on your “writing.”
The first type of writing you need to work on if you want to be a successful travel writer is your pitching. Perfecting your pitches does much more than help you get assignments. It makes you incredibly skilled at knowing the scope, scale, and slant of an article, which saves you at least 80% of the time you may very likely be spending researching and writing things that don’t belong in your articles now.
But, if you haven’t been pitching because you’re afraid you won’t be able to write the article once you get the assignment, today’s webinar is for you. I’m going to share my format for writing feature articles based on interviews quickly and coherently in today’s webinar, this afternoon at 3:30 pm EST / 12:30 pm PST on Transforming Interviews into an Article (Live Demo!) .
By popular request, in this webinar, I’ll walk through the process of organizing notes and quotations from interviews into a full reported feature article from start to finish. The entire webinar will be a live demo using real interviews.
Even if you can’t make the call live, you can catch it in the replay. Just remember to register in advance to get the video replay automatically sent to you via email after the call.
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