60 Second Storytelling Tip: How to Break Through in Your Travel Writing

by David Miller Mar 24, 2016

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I’ve written a lot in the past about breaking through in your travel writing by shifting your mindset from simply “blogging” about your travels to asking questions and doing basic journalism 101 work.

In this video I wanted to show that really all it comes down to is connecting with people, putting them in your stories, letting their voices tell part of the story. It’s as simple as that. This is the breakthrough.

Travelogues, selfies, drone, and POV action sports videos all have their place, but consider how much more sticking power a piece of media or story has when it centers around characters beyond just the narrator.

Here are three super basic tricks:

  1. Use an audio recorder. Above and beyond the obvious fact that you can record a conversation and then be able to go back and transcribe / use it in the story, just carrying an audio recorder with you can serve as a reminder that you need to be out there connecting with people and capturing good interviews.
  2. When conducting interviews, ask lots of questions that begin with “when.” The question “when?” naturally leads people into a narrative mode.
  3. Look for places where the subject is hiding something, holding back, or not answering freely. The giveaway is in the body language. Do they suddenly tense up, break eye contact, look away, get emotional, etc.? Don’t simply move on to the next question but take a second to evaluate: Why might this question be difficult for them? There’s an art to interviewing people, and if you can quickly think of an appropriate question that allow your subject to talk more candidly or delve into this more sensitive area, you can co-create powerful moments that lead to stronger stories.

For more resources and guidance, also consider our educational community, MatadorU.

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