Travel Writing Conference Morning Class Descriptions

Advanced Narrative Workshop
, taught by Tim Cahill

Advanced Narrative Workshop will be an intensely hands-on workshop for a small group of advanced writers. The workshop will focus on taking good writing to the next level: framing a story, finding and crafting a lede, using the right anecdotes and details, and shaping a resolution. The workshop will include writing exercises as well as close readings and critiques of material written before the class and brought by participants to the class. Note: Admission to this workshop is by acceptance only. All interested participants must submit a travel essay or article of no more than 2500 words; a very limited number of students will be accepted. All accepted students must bring one article or essay to the workshop for reading and critique.

Writing Tales & Tips for Print
, taught by Spud Hilton

This workshop is designed to guide you through the process of writing a newspaper or magazine travel story from start to finish: where to go, how to find a new or inventive angle, pre-trip research, strategies for gathering information while traveling, composing a story editors will love and marketing your work. I’ll cover writing both destination narratives and service pieces, and I’ll explain what editors are looking for today, with special attention on the evolution of print, online and digital and its effect on your work. I'll also talk about writing a tight, delete-button-proof lede, editing your own work and, perhaps most importantly, how to structure your storytelling to avoid the dreaded diary rehash. There will be hands-on writing assignments and exercises. Consider this time to smooth out that piece you've been working on for months or start one from scratch. Also learn how to get the most from your writing by tailoring it to multiple platforms.

Advanced Personal Essay
, taught by Larry Habegger

This workshop will focus on the art and craft of the personal essay, with close readings, in-class critiques, and discussion to help move stories to deeper levels. By personal essay we mean a wide range of writings that draw on the experiences of the author to illustrate a larger truth, whether a short newspaper column to make a point, or a longer memoir piece that examines an episode in life to find meaning in it. These essays or stories are not restricted to a single form, but they share the key component that the writer’s personal experiences contribute to the depth of the writing. We explore these concepts, do some writing exercises to nurture inspiration, and critique a story by each participantin a workshop setting. Admission is by submission only and the class is limited to nine participants.

Writing for the Web
, taught by Jim Benning & Pam Mandel
This course will cover the ins and outs of travel storytelling for the internet, from writing personal essays and service-oriented articles to blogging and multimedia production. Topics will include essay structure and themes, best travel blogging practices and using social media. It will include an introduction to producing audio slideshows and video. It will look at the business of travel writing online (we’ll touch on the business of writing for print, too) and include strategies for promoting oneself as a writer, establishing professional credentials and reputation, and making money in this challenging environment.

Building Your Digital Platform
, taught by Jodi Ettenberg, Andrew Evans & Pam Mandel

It’s common wisdom that you need “an online platform” if you want to be a working writer. But what *is* a platform, how do you build one, and how do you maintain it? Pam, Jodi, and Andrew will guide you through the digital landscape -- blogging, social media, photography, audience development, and more. They’ll teach you how to make the most of what's available, how to build the right platform for your work and goals, and how to find the most useful resources in a crowded online world. They'll also provide best practices for using your platform for digital travel storytelling.

Writing the Big Five
, taught by Jim Benning & David Farley

No, not lions, rhinos and the other safari all-stars. Instead, this course looks at their travel writing equivalents: magazine stories, newspaper articles, personal essays, blog posts and – with enough material – books. These are the essential five forms, and understanding them is important. Over three days, we’ll explore the craft and business of each. Topics include: how to decide which form is best for your story; how to create a compelling story arc; how to write vivid prose and avoid clichés; how to pitch stories, essays, blog posts and books -- and how writing for the web differs from writing for print. We’ll workshop your story and book ideas and help you hone them. And each day, we’ll get you writing. In-class exercises will help you unearth memories and shape them into compelling, entertaining prose.

Travel Photography
, taught by Robert Holmes, Andrea Johnson & Jeff Greenwald

Over the course of three mornings, this course will introduce the concept of visual travel journalism, both still and motion, with an emphasis on creating visual storytelling. We will assess photographic equipment, techniques and working methods; take an in-depth look at aesthetics, developing your creative vision, photographing people and working with light. This will be a highly interactive workshop with lots of opportunity for Q&A.