There’s a theme in all the editor interviews I sent you this week: Originality sells.

Below, Robert Luce, Editor of Chicago Scene Magazine, says originality is one of the most important elements of a standout story.

CHRISTINA:  What would you say is the most important thing somebody starting out can do to improve their odds of getting published?

ROBERT LUCE: Have an original story angle. We know that California’s wine country is world-renowned, so we don’t need a walk through it. Why not focus on a certain brand/type of wine and talk of how it’s making an impact on the restaurant industry? You’ll be able to reference the vineyard, yet you keep the article fresh. A fresh angle will always help separate you from the competition.

Do not jump on a current travel craze that hundreds of other writers are bound to write about. If you see a story about the most extreme hotels in the world on CNN.com, you can bet that a hundred other writers have as well. 

CHRISTINA: Think about the writer you most like to work with… what makes him or her so special?

ROBERT LUCE: Passion for their subject is what makes a writer special. If they’re thrilled to be writing about a certain place, my readers will be thrilled to read it. 

CHRISTINA: If you had to name one thing you wish more freelancers understood, what would it be?

ROBERT LUCE: That sometimes you have to take assignments that you don’t care for. You’re not always going to be able to pick and choose what you like. If someone wants you to write about a local amusement park that you feel is beneath you, do it! I can tell you from experience that being open to anything the editor throws at you can lead to bigger and better things. 

CHRISTINA: Can you tell me about one of the best travel articles you remember? What makes it stand out in your mind?

ROBERT LUCE: The article about Japan that the previous editor of Chicago Scene wrote. I admired the fact that she was able to encompass a wide range of Japanese culture (nightlife, dining, people, fashion, etc.) into a detailed article that was only 800-900 words. It showed that even with a word count limit, a good writer can craft a small piece into an article that can rival a standard full length one.   

CHRISTINA: Thanks Robert. See you in Chicago!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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