How to Write a Bad Travel Story

Sure, you could write a compelling story. But why, when you could just as easily write a snoozer?
  1. Despite popular belief, becoming a travel writer doesn’t always require moving to a village in Provence or restoring a villa in Italy. In fact, it doesn’t even mean you have to write good travel tales with a deep sense of place and an intriguing angle or storyline. See, you can simply write bad travel stories.

    Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

    Let’s start with the intro, or, as it’s called in the biz, the lede. The lede in a bad travel article should usually open up with you, in general, and you and your husband Larry, in particular. Example: “My husband Larry and I marveled at the lush landscape surrounding the cottages at our overnight lodge, even though it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere and dry season in East Africa.” Your goal here is not to write an intriguing, attention-getting lede, but to mention Larry as soon as possible. Goal achieved!

    Try not to have much of a point. In some travel magazines and newspaper travel sections editors like articles to have something called an angle—a perspective—and normally it should be as fresh and unique as possible. The “nut graph,” an oddly named anatomical literary part, comes toward the end of an article’s intro and states the focus of the article. It tells the reader where this article is going and it helps you, the writer, craft a piece that stays focused. But in this case, you don’t need a nut graph. Instead, craft a narrative that involves a play-by-play of everything that happened on your trip.

    Use as man...

Originally published in World Hum, June 2009