Friday, 5 July 2013

Have Idea, Will Travel (or rather, will travel, have idea)

Magdalena from Salford wants to become a travel writer. She asked: can you give me some advice on travel writing? I’m going to be taking a number of trips this year and hope to write up some of them, but I’m not sure how to find angles for features.
Firstly, you need to think about query letters. These can be sent either before or after a trip, but it is essential that you know exactly what your article will cover and how you intend to deal with the information, so it is often easier to query after you get back. However, if you do query in advance, make sure you mention when you will be going, so that the editor doesn’t ‘pencil you in’ too soon if she likes the idea.

I find my angles for travel features often occur to me when I’m actually in the location. I see something unusual, or notice a particular event that is different, and then build my article around that. It’s quite difficult to decide in advance, before you’ve even visited a place, what it is that is going to stand out. Keep your eyes open at all times, sometimes even a taxi trip can provide the inspiration for a unique angle. I always chat to locals and try to get to see the place through their eyes.

Also, do bear in mind that you can often write several different articles using the same information from different angles.

Markets need to be fully researched, but the following websites might be of benefit to you.

You can write your article on a trip taken as far back in the past as you like, as long as your facts are completely up to date. When querying, don’t mention when the trip took place, but send in an outline showing how you will deal with the information and the tone the article will take.

One final point, few editors will accept a travel feature without illustrations, so take lots of high quality pictures.

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