So here are two of the 3 parts of the assignment. I’d appreciate feedback on either one, but don’t feel obligated to read both. I believe this first one falls under the heading of destination story. Here it is:
The second one is the blog post, I took it from an old post I did on my blog and attempted to shape it up a bit. I know I have a long way to go to refocus my blog from “hey grandma I’m still alive over here” to “universally relevent,” so I’d really just like to know yea or nay whether this is the way a Travel Blog should look.
Thanks so much!
“Commercialism vs. the Mountain” does fit the destination story outline, though depending upon the type of publication you were pitching, might require some tweaking. The “If You Go” section would be a useful sidebar that most print publications would be interested in including. Another consideration for pitching this type of piece to a print publication is exactly how destination narratives in the first person are styled from one publication to another. By saying this, I don’t mean that you should imitate any other writer’s style, but it’s helpful to be aware of the different ways that destination narratives can be written. There’s an important distinction, for example, between the kind of first-person writing we do for magazines and the kind of first-person writing we do on our personal blogs. In many cases, the latter tends to stray a bit toward the “Hey! This is what I did on my summer vacation” kind of writing… meaning that is has very little relevance for a general readership. First-person writing for magazines and other publications serves a different purpose and so it’s styled somewhat differently. The purpose of that type of writing is to engage the reader and perhaps make them want to replicate your experience while at the same time providing actionable information about how they can do just that.
Here are a few first-person destination type pieces I’ve read lately that I think are pretty good:
“Tweet Me in Miami”: This is a first-person destination piece about Miami that was published in a recent issue of National Geographic Traveler. http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/2010/04/feature/miami-text
The writer tells the reader about his trip to Miami and so it’s very personable and engaging, but he also provides service information along the way so that the reader can “recreate” elements of the writer’s own trip. This piece also has some really original details- I like his descriptions of the building as he’s coming over the Biscayne Bay Bridge, for instance.
“Culinary Tour of Baja, Mexico”: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/culinary-tour-of-baja-mexico/1
This piece opens with the writer getting stuck in a dry riverbed in a cheap rental car, a totally first-person experience. But then it leads to his taco-stand, restaurant hopping activities, which a reader could replicate. It balances unique first-person experiences with something the reader can take action on.
Just wanted to make a note about your title. Remember that your title is the equivalent to a book’s cover: maybe we shouldn’t judge it, but we do. At the very least, you want your title to name the destination you’re writing about. The two articles I offered as good examples both say in the title exactly where the reader is going to be taken. Having a title that’s searchable is especially important if your article is destined for online publication.
Part 3- wow, funny! And the photos are just great. Regarding your question about an informational sidebar on a blog post, the answer is “It depends.” If your audience primarily consists of friends and family, then the answer is probably no… not unless they’re likely to travel there (in which case, they’ll probably ask you for your advice anyway!). If you’re hoping for your blog to be a resource for travelers to consult, then the answer is yes. Have you thought about who you want your audience to be.
hanks!! First off, that Miami article is amazing, and intimidating! I’m debating whether to scrap the Seoraksan piece and start from scratch- when I wrote it I began with a really informal blogpost and I’m starting to think it’s better to start with a blank slate. Do you think it would be worth sticking to the concept/theme I have and just reworking the first-person-narrative tone to make it more…professional? I’m thinking about new titles too, 4 years of liberal arts makes it tempting to try to be witty and probably corny with titles!
As for the blog, my audience right now is about 50-50 friends and family and people I don’t know, but I think for the most part NOTt international travelers. What are you thoughts on writing a travel blog for people who are not likely to visit the places I’m writing about? Is that really bizarre?
I’ll be back with a rewrite soon.
I’ll start with the last question first… no, not bizarre at all, especially if you want to use your blog to function as a portfolio of your various writing styles/skills AND to start building a more diverse audience through social media platforms, which we discuss much more later in the course.
I’m hesitant to tell you how you should approach your rewrite, but you might want to consider keeping the subject/theme and simply recasting the type of narrative to match a specific type of publication. In other words, just imagine (for the sake of a writing exercise) that you wanted to pitch this to a specific magazine. How might you approach rewriting the piece in a different way?
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