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Let the place do the talking

It is tremendously difficult to write about a place you know as if you are a travel writer. I have tried it and it is almost impossible: there are too many layers of knowledge and association and – possibly mixed – feeling between you and your subject. To practice, therefore, you need to go somewhere new. It does not have to be far: in fact a very good exercise is to stay on the train to the stop you have never used before, or walk to a part of town you don’t know, or drive to and stop in a village you have only ever passed through. Now you need to engage someone in conversation. I got a whole briefing and mini guide to the town of Pant just by asking ‘What’s it like here?’ of the person behind the till in the petrol station. Shop keepers, the elderly, dog-walkers, anyone who is not in a rush may give you stories, tips and prompts. Sometimes I am very up-front: ‘I’m a travel writer and I’m looking for stories!’ works. But often people don’t want to know much about you – they are too busy telling you about them and their place, which is perfect. When you write your piece up, try to keep yourself out of it as much as possible. Let the people and the place do the talking.

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Tips for Travel Writing

First, you need to find a subject that lights you up. If beach resorts are not your thing,…

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Exploring different third person points of view

Write part of a story in the form of a scene from a play, beginning with a description…

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Subjective third person narrative

When I was a child, like most young readers I wanted to identify with the characters in books….

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Magic in the Mundane

A comic is a string of sequential panels that are both literary and visual in their storytelling. Striking the balance between what is said with words and shown with pictures is essential to creating an immersive reading experience. Write a short script for a one-page comic. A practical starting point is to think about a small event that happened to you, for example…

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Strongest Foot Forward

Making a comic involves a host of skills. Remember that when we make comics, we are combining words and images to be read simultaneously. So broadly speaking we need to do at least two things; to write and to draw.

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Reconsider the mundane

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing,…

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Developing and explaining new ideas

1. You don’t have to be entirely original. There are plenty of very good, best-selling stories out there…

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Inside the Shed

Sometimes we are really keen to tell our readers everything, to make sure that they understand what it…

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You don’t have to tell young readers as much as you think

There is sometimes an assumption that younger readers won’t understand what’s going on unless the plot and the…

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Find your story in a setting

This is a research exercise really – one that will help you find a story out of setting….

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Setting is your friend

When you write, do you start by thinking about the theme you want to explore? Or is it…

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