Writing can be overwhelming at times especially for beginners (such as myself). It’s important to take a step back, and focus on one assignment at a time. Remember the general beliefs we all share and the real world isn’t as nice as we would like it to be. These general facts of life will help guide and focus some of your writing and make it impactful. Today, we’re going to focus on writing profiles and travel pieces. Ready, set, go!
Your reader needs to look up from the page feeling like they’ve met that person. They need to know that individual on a personal level. Think of it this way, a celebrity stalker can feel like they have a relationship with a person, and have never met them. In a strange way, that’s the idea you need to give your reader.
Now, you’re not just describing the person- but the place as well. Put the person in a scene and paint the picture for the audience. To be able to do this, you must know what questions to ask. Ask abstract questions and then get more specific.
For example, you ask a doctor, “What is your motivation?” They say, “Well my mom. She died of Leukemia and that’s why I want to cure cancer.”
What a story you have now. With this, you can give your readers emotion and a nugget to the story. They have compassion for this doctor and by the end- they want to donate to his fund and give him a long big hug.
Emotion is key in all writing. Even in a general news story, your readers want to gain knowledge and feel something. Your job is to give it to them.
Think about travels close to home. You don’t have to write a piece on India to be a travel writer. Sometimes the most unique and attractive pieces are those about a place close by that most don’t know about. The example Telling True Stories gives is a random Manhattan paper writing about South Bronx. Most in Manhattan don’t know much about South Bronx and readers will be interested in what’s going on there.
With travel writing, give a unique unusual nugget about something general. Or the exact opposite- a general fact about a place unique and unusual. Be the best, and make the magazine unable to say no to your query.
Good luck writers young and old! Focus on the task at hand- you can do it–well!