How to Tap the Hidden Power of Numbers
*** Which is Longer: Half an Hour or 30 Minutes?
*** An AWAI Exclusive — Pet Photography DVDs with Ren Netherland and Shelly Perry
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: Writing for the Business Traveler
*** Reader Feedback: A Workshop Attendee Gets Published
Herschell Gordon Lewis is a professional writer and film maker. He writes mostly marketing copy but I think his presentation today also applies to travel writers. He talked about the importance of word-choice — saying that two phrases that might, essentially, mean the same thing, are often interpreted differently by the reader.
He compared “generic” descriptors to specific numbers and explained that the generic terms are often interpreted as “more” — more meaning greater or longer or bigger. Here’s what I mean:
One hour sounds longer than 60 minutes. One day sounds longer than 24 hours. Half a pound sounds like more than eight ounces. (“If you don’t believe me,” he added, “just imagine what would happen if McDonald’s changed the name of their Quarter Pounder to McDonald’s Four Ouncer.)
Half a quart, he continued, is more than one pint… one month seems longer than 30 days… half a kilo sounds like more than 500 grams…
Say, for instance, you’re writing about a spa in Mexico and you want your description of the experience to come across as positively as possible. Instead of saying you enjoyed a “60-minute massage,” (which sounds relatively short) you might call it “an hour-long escape.”
This could work if you were describing a negative, too. For example, say the line for a new exhibit at the Louvre is long. Rather than saying, “You’ll face a half-hour wait,”(which sounds long) you might say, instead, “Bring a book and brave the 30-minute wait. The exhibit is well worth it.”
Think about your intention when you describe experiences in your articles and then use this tip to convey that in a smooth way that readers will quickly understand.
I hope you have a great weekend,
Director, Great Escape Publishing
[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.]
PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK:
Taking a business trip could be an opportunity to collect information for a travel story — even if you’re only going to the next town.
Travel articles don’t have to be about far-off exotic places. You don’t even have to leave your home town, for that matter.
This weekend, think about business travel. You can pull from an experience you’ve already had on a business trip or write about services for business travelers near you.
** Is there a nice hotel with conference rooms near the center of town?
** What kinds of restaurants are near the hotel?
** Does the hotel offer extra services, like free wi-fi?
** How do you get from the airport to the hotel? Is there a shuttle?
** What about entertaining? What is there to do after hours?
Then go out and write an article about what you found.
Tackle it this weekend and send it to the Travel Post Monthly. You never know who might buy your article there: http://travelpostmonthly.com
READER FEEDBACK: Those workshops really helped
“I’ve been an attendee in several of your workshops (i.e., Buenos Aires, Rhodes, Portland) and my article about a biking trip in Croatia is published in the October edition of Tourist Travel. Those workshops really helped. Let me know about the next one. Regards,” — J. Post