“Show, not tell.”
“Don’t underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.”
“We travel, initially to lose ourselves, and we travel next to find ourselves.”
Hearing these words delivered by the sapient speakers at the “Lonely Planet No More: A Travel Writing Seminar” was more than enough reason for me to consider worthwhile my trip to Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street on the afternoon of May 18. To be specific, it’s worth the sacrifice of a running jaunt which I usually have Saturday afternoons.
It was my first time to attend a travel writing seminar, or any writing workshop for that matter. Walking towards the venue, I was half expecting a boring palaver but checking out the many congregating at the Fully Booked atrium 20 minutes before the posted start time of 2pm gave me hope that this seminar had something special to offer.
A look at the poster bolstered this hope. A quick check via google pointed to the line up of speakers having street cred. First in the line up is Greg Bloom, the author of Lonely Planet Philippines Country Guide and contributor to LP guides for Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the Baltics, cool places figuratively and literally. The 3 lady writers from Writer’s Block Philippines exuded cool as well. An International Blogger Activist Scholarship Awardee, Ana P. Santos, is the founder and editorial director of http://www.sexandsensibilities.com. A lifestyle journalist, Nikka Sarthou, is the content manager of OfficiallyPhilippines.com. A co-founder of WBP, Nina Terol-Zialcita, loves writing about her “journey of authenticity and abundance” in http://www.littlerichgirlblog.com.
These speakers did not disappoint come action time. Greg started the proceedings with his sharing of “How to Get that Clip.” His favorite example was “Schussing in Siberia” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/schussing-in-siberia/article1006920/), his very first article that got published in several publications in countries ranging from Russia to Hong Kong.
Next came Nina who impressed the audience with her lecture on ” Anatomy of a Travel Feature.” Her chalk talk got my attention with her use of the words “hip-swivelling action” but I was in picture-taking mode in capturing her 6 tips on how to give a great lead:
1. Lead with the narrator in a problematic or overtly stressful situation.
2. Lead with a disarmingly simple and short declarative sentence.
3. Lead with an apostrophe….. (I failed to take a photo of this slide)
4. Begin in-media-res, with descriptions placing the reader in the middle of a scene.
5. Lead with an assertion.
6. Lead with a dialogue.
After the anatomy lecture, Ana took front and center to talk about “Writing Tips and Tricks.” This sassy dynamo of a speaker had me sitting erect when she pointed out the ideal mindset of a travel writer – “I am a traveller. Not a tourist.” The difference in the mindset is that a traveller is more open to other experiences. “A traveller is on a journey of discovery.” One practical tip I will surely try to get the hang of is bringing out human emotion in our photographs.
AdmittedIy, I did not anymore got to listen to Nikka’s portion of seminar as I was already up and about in the Non-fiction section of Fully Booked, thumbing thru travel books and the like. Words are truly a powerful tool of inspiration and this cabal of wordsmiths slash travellers got me.
Nina’s job description of a travel writer goes like this – “Your job is to make people fall in love with the place.” At the “Lonely Planet No More : A Travel Writing Seminar”, I sure was smitten with their work.