Going Travelling? Here’s How To Write About It

By on December 23, 2016
Going Travelling? Here’s How To Write About It - Writer's Life.org

Travelling can be so inspiring for a writer. The more you explore the world, experience different cultures, sights, sounds and smells, the more you view beautiful landscapes, bustling cities and the more interesting people you meet, the richer and fuller your bank of writing ideas will be.

From taking a couple of days either side of a weekend and heading to a nearby city, to packing up all your worldly belongings and setting off to travel the world, no matter where or how long you are travelling for there will always be ways to make a story out of it.

Travelling can fill you with awe and wonder. When you go somewhere you have never been before you tend to keep your eyes open that little bit wider, to be more willing to try new things, to talk to strangers - these experiences are perfect for stories. It might be that you experience a hilarious or humiliating cultural misunderstanding, that you find yourself lost in a slightly unsavoury part of town, or that you buy something from a market stall owner who ends up telling you their incredible life story.

So how do you make sure that you are ready to capture those brilliant moments on your travels and turn them into some epic creative writing?

Here are some useful tips.

The quest

To kick off your story you need to let your reader know what inspired you to take this journey in the first place. What drove you there? If you are travelling around the world you might be running away from something; you might be hoping it answers a question or teaches you things about yourself you didn’t already know. Perhaps you are going to visit relatives you haven’t seen in a while, perhaps you are heading somewhere to buy a specific item. Your quest can be life changing and huge or small and specific, but either way, giving a reason is crucial.

Keep your reader guessing

You need to engage your readers, and, as with all good stories, the way to do this is to make them desperate to find out what happens next. Entice them in by asking a question or, better still, getting the reader to ask themselves questions ‘who is she, where is she going, why does she need to go there?’ The questions your readers asks must fill them with intrigue, so they have to find out the answers.

Use what you see to take your reader on your journey with you

Wherever you are, you need to immerse yourself in the place completely and entirely. Listen to the sounds - every single one of them. Look all around you and memorise the colours, the faces of the people, the buildings, the streets, the way the trees are swaying and the sun hits the waters edge. Your reader needs to feel as though they are being taken into another world, they want to be there too, so make sure your descriptions are as rich, vivid and detailed as possible.

Pick your moments and use these as the basis of your story

Sometimes the smallest stories are the most powerful. Giving a minute by minute account of what happened to you (or ‘your character’) on their holiday or trip won’t excite or engage your reader the way you want them to. Focus on one or two particular moments and use these to tell your story - these moments will actually reveal a whole lot more.

Finish with a resolution

However big or small each time we experience somewhere new it changes us a little. End your story by explaining to your reader how travelling impacted your (or the character’s) life. Did you achieve what you needed to achieve? Or perhaps what you thought you needed to achieve turn out to be something completely different?

Remember no one else see’s the world the same way you do, so don't ever doubt that your experiences are unique - and can make for brilliant stories, should you choose to tell them.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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