Tuesday, September 15, 2015

All Writing Is Travelogue

When writers put down words, they take readers on a journey. In this sense, all writing falls into the "travelogue" genre, the chronicle of a journey, first the writer's journey of discovery and then the reader's.

About two years ago, I wrote a blog post about the characteristics of travel writing, using tips from Laurie Gough's blog The Travel Writing Life.

Travel Writing Tips
  • Focus on interesting, different, and special qualities. "Usually this will be a combination of the place and the people."
  • Concrete details: "not 'fruit' but 'rotting pomegranates.'"
  • "Stay true to who you are." Let the readers find out as you go along.
  • Open your senses to the small things: oil-burning lamps, newly cut timber, cricket chirps . . .
  • Characterization: "How human beings are acting on this planet never fails to enliven a story."
  • Find the good, even in the lousy.
  • Backstory: history, facts, past events.
  • "Read your work aloud to yourself."
  • Tone/mood:"take in as much of a place as you can."
This summer one of my activities has been to bicycle tour to state and county parks near my hometown, day rides and overnight camping. I've also been reading journals from the website Crazy Guy on a Bike, which hosts thousands of journals and photographs of bicycle tours.

These Crazy Guy journals written by so many people vary in quality, as one might expect. I plan to add some of my adventures to the site, having already added a few, and I'm realizing I have a chance to use my adventures and the bicycling platforms to improve my writing.

Right now on my blog, Tom Kepler Bicycling and with my YouTube biking videos, I think I'm spending a lot of time on "turn left here" descriptions, not the best way to fascinate readers.

I'm looking forward to the challenge of writing about actual journeys, rather than solely journeys of the mind and imagination. Four opportunities for publication are immediately available:
  1. My blog Tom Kepler Bicycling
  2. YouTube bicycling videos
  3. Crazy Guy on a Bike, my journal and photos blog
  4. Adventure Cycling Association's Bike Overnight blog
Each platform has a unique flavor and focus. You might sit down, look them over, and take a journey. Have fun! You can even subscribe to my bicycling blog to receive emails of my bike journeys.


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