The Masterclasses 2022: 10 travel writing tips from our experts

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7. Consider the purpose and structure of your story

Once the order is secured and the trip complete, the focus shifts to writing a great article that matches the brief. Kerry Walker described how she begins to build the structure of her features, explaining, “I gather all the material in one place, type all my interviews, then look at the structure of it – like building blocks. I like to play with it until it starts to take shape.

Writer and travel editor Alicia Miller suggested that it can be helpful to remember the original brief to ensure your article stays on topic: “Always refer to the brief you agreed with the editor – this redirects you to what is asked you to do for the feature.”

8. Make sure to grab your reader’s attention

Once you’re ready to put pen to paper, our panelists all agreed on the importance of a strong opening to capture the reader’s interest and imagination.

When it comes to grabbing the reader’s immediate attention, the award-winning travel journalist Zoey Goto said, “I love an introduction where you put the reader right in the heart of the story. Think of the most colorful or evocative moment of the trip – it’s a great way to get in on the action.

After piqued your reader’s curiosity with a killer introduction, Richard Hammond reminded us of the need to keep them entertained throughout the article. “Stories are at the heart of tourism and travel,” he explained. “Editors want to entertain readers, and people read newspapers and magazines because they want to dream about their next vacation.”

9. Strike the right balance between vivid images and convenient copy

When trying to strike the right tone when writing your article, Alicia Miller suggested thinking about “the balance between those colorful moments that are really vivid and get the reader into the place, and those practical paragraphs that provide a context and analysis to your experience.

Chris Leadbeater agreed, saying, “You want a decent amount of descriptive language, but you don’t want to overwhelm the copy. I think readers have a keen ear for excesses. Just because you can write 500 words that are all adjectives doesn’t mean you should. There is a balance there.

10. Create an unforgettable ending

Finally, the need for a strong ending was emphasized by panelists throughout the sessions, with the moderator Jonathan Thompsonan award-winning freelance journalist, said, “In all the best travel writing I’ve ever read, you remember the end because that’s what you’re left with.”

To help you craft an outstanding conclusion, Zoey Goto suggested, “It’s really nice if you can get back to the intro somehow. It might be to physically return to the original frame with new ideas, or perhaps to complete a question that was raised at the beginning of the article.

Masterclasses by National Geographic Traveler (UK) will return in 2023.

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