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Today:
*** Cutting Off Legs and Necks
*** Special Reduced Press Rate on Two Summer Trips
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: Turn a News Item into a Travel Story
*** Reader Feedback: You Helped, and I Landed a By-line (and a Check)

Dear Reader,

I learned a lot today.

I’m in Charleston, South Carolina at our photography workshop and, like our participants here, found myself scribbling pages of notes as professional photographers Riley Caton and Shelly Perry spoke.

Riley’s pictures have appeared in all sorts of illustrious publications — the New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and others. I was most impressed with the photos of world-class skiers he took at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary (while on assignment for Time).

Although it’s not every day that you get to photograph an Olympic skier, Riley talked about the techniques he used to capture those great shots and explained how we could apply them easily at home — to capture images of somebody running down the street or of kids sprinting on a soccer field.

I’ve asked him to write those tips up for tomorrow’s issue of The Right Way to Travel — so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Shelly Perry was busy passing out tips of her own. “Don’t crop on a person’s joints,” she said. “If you’re going to crop out a portion of a person’s body, don’t do it on knees, hips, elbows, or neck.”

Instead, she explained, crop somewhere in between — like in these pictures:

Below the knee but above the ankle…
(CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PICTURE)

Above the waist and below the knees…
(CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PICTURE)

When these great sessions were over, I called freelance travel writer Jennifer Stevens — author of AWAI’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program and architect of our live travel-writing workshops.

I wanted to share with her the great tips I’d just picked up. (Jen’s been working this week on an article for an in-flight magazine — due in a few days with photos — and so I thought she might find useful the new insights I’d gleaned about picture-taking.)

She did. In fact, she thought they were so good, she told me to ask Shelly to do a special presentation about them for the travel writers joining us in Paris next month.

As you know, we’re running two workshops simultaneously in Paris — one track on travel writing, one track on photography. And we’ve arranged for some overlap in them — so our writers will get a few photo sessions and our photographers will learn to write articles that sell their photos.

I’m getting really excited about that program. Not only will Shelly add these special photo sessions to the writing track, but Jen, herself, is including a bunch of new material as well.

And what better muse than Paris? There, story ideas don’t just lurk around every corner and behind every door, they actually jump out and grab you! Past participants have sold their Paris stories about markets, shops, and restaurants… and you could write about tours, museums, and even French customs, too.

I’m also excited about the walking tour we’ll be taking with renowned writer-historian, Thirza Vallois. We’re lucky to have snagged her. She’s busy working on a new book, she told me. And though she’s been fielding lots of calls from folks who have seen her on TV or know her books and hope she’ll lead a special tour for them, she’s told everybody, “no.”

Everybody but us, that is. (Thirza’s an old friend. She’s been speaking at our Paris programs for the past five years now, and so she graciously agreed to lend us her expertise yet again next month.) I assure you, for the people in our travel writing track, it’ll be a highlight of the program. They’ll discover Paris through new (and extraordinary) eyes.

But anyway, I digress. You’ll find all the details about our next travel writing workshop here: http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com/workshops/.

Stay tuned tomorrow for advice from Riley on taking better action photos. And don’t forget to scroll down for today’s writing prompt from Jen Stevens on how you turn a news item into a travel story.

I hope to see you in Paris!

— Lori
Lori Appling
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: Turn a News Item into a Travel Story

Here’s a smart story prompt from Jennifer Stevens:

Pay attention to the news. You’ll find there all sorts of travel-writing opportunities. For instance, a few weeks back I gathered some useful facts by reading a weekly dispatch from Executive Travel Magazine (http://www.executivetravelmagazine.com/).

In the March 5, 2007 Alert, I keyed in on several stories about new air routes opening up. I learned, for example:

** 1.) Starting May 1, JetBlue will be adding one daily round-trip between Boston and Charlotte, two flights daily between Washington Dulles and Orlando, and daily service between Boston and Bermuda.

** 2.) Starting June 11, Air France will begin daily non-stops between Seattle and Paris.

** 3) On June 2, Spain’s Iberia Airlines will add its fifth U.S. gateway: Washington Dulles, with five flights per week.

Now, what can you do with this intelligence? Quite a bit.

For starters, let’s look at # 1 — the new JetBlue routes. Think about selling a Charlotte article or a Bermuda piece to a Boston publication. Or consider placing an Orlando piece in a Washington, DC publication.

And let’s look at # 2 — the Air France flights. You could consider selling France stories to Seattle editors. I checked the Air France website and found that, in fact, they’ll be flying not just to Paris from Seattle, but also to Barcelona and Rome. All told, that gives you three destinations Seattle editors might be more interested in now than they were last year.

In # 3 we learn that Spain’s Iberia will be adding Washington, DC to its destination cities. Well, surely you can already fly from DC to Spain. But I’d do some snooping around about price. Is this added competition driving prices down? If so, you could approach a DC editor and say that it looks like it’s cheaper than ever to fly to Madrid. That means it’s a better time than ever for his readers to learn about Spain.

You get the idea.

This weekend, find out if any new routes have opened up (or will soon) to the airport you use most often. If so, think about writing a story about your hometown for a publication at the other end of that new route.

Or, if no new routes exist, do a little digging and find out something about where planes are currently flying. Pick a city that could make a good weekend getaway for you. And then pitch your hometown as a weekend getaway to an editor in that other city.

READER FEEDBACK:

Hello Lori,
Thank you very much for continuing to inspire all us writers to get our butts in gear and start sending off our thoughts and ideas to different publications. Your newsletters and web site have such a wealth of information, inspiration and tips it is hard not to be motivated! After you forwarded details for International Living and WCities, I sent some material to them and am now proud and happy to say they want to publish my work (and pay too!!!!) Please take a look at my article on Madrid, my home-town, published in IL.. I couldn’t have done it without AWAI’s support and tips, that’s for sure!

Teba

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