Journalism is complex but the secret to good storytelling is simple: people love to read about people.
This new course, hosted via Journalism.co.uk [see image above], is a hands-on class exploring techniques for writers, such as case studies, sourcing expert views and playing up the human interest to build empathy with your readers.
It will make your stories really come alive.
This four-week course will be taught online. This includes one lesson per week over four consecutive weeks on the same day, plus practical exercises, ongoing feedback and a critique of a draft feature for your chosen publication.
This course is suitable for all professional writers — from career starters beginning their writing career to established journalists looking to refine their skillset in an increasingly competitive freelance market.
The Chester Literature Festival was in full swing this week.
I was there on Friday to run a travel-writing workshop [pictured above] for future freelancers and career changers seeking to branch out.
Some planned to pitch ideas to magazines, others were looking to develop their voice online as a blogger.
I ran this workshop as a taster session but, given the interest on the day for a sold-out event, I will look at future workshops for the new year.
Meanwhile, as part of the session, I shared my top six travel-writing tips as follows:
People, not places
The best travel stories are not about places. They’re about the people who live in those places.
So talk to local people and weave this into your narrative. Nothing adds life to a story like direct speech.
Find a story
A lot of travel stories are very information led. But the stories that really stand out tell proper stories. So find a real story, get a proper angle, think about your readership. Then frame these elements in the context of a destination.
Get it right
Commissioning editors don’t have the time, nor the inclination, to correct your spelling, cut down your copy if you bust your word count and punctuate your sentences. Want more work? Then get it right.
Work with the medium
And not against it. Writing for print? You have the luxury of longer sentences and more descriptive language. But if you’re writing for online, then take a leaf from George Orwell’s book and keep the language more direct. People are increasingly reading your articles on mobile devices, so format for the screen.
Spot the openings
Publications thrive on regular sections and this is your way in, especially as a first-time contributor. Editors need to fill these sections and often to look to freelancers to plug the gaps. So, read, read and read some more.
Travel writing is a job. Treat it as such. You’re working as a specialist reporter, covering a niche area. You want to be regarded as a professional? Then act professionally. And expect to be paid …