Writing Tip of the Day

On writing a pitch or a query

Don’t waste editors’ time by sending them unformed story ideas, or worse, asking them to come up with your story…

… Stiv Wilson, Wend’s Editor in Chief, also notes that he “really appreciates pitches that include a photo in the email.” He points out that since he gets so many emails a day, a great picture will help him to remember a pitch than just words.
Obviously don’t send an 8 MB image, but a little teaser of what you’re going to write about is always good.

~ Taken from MatadorU.com, “How to write an attention-getting query

asianTraveler Magazine is hiring a Webmaster and a social media manager!

asianTraveler MagazineGood news to Web and social media junkies!

asianTraveler Magazine, the longest-running travel magazine in the Philippines, is now looking for one (1) full-time Webmaster and one (1) full-time social media manager.

Interested applicants may email gabe11@mac.com, cc nina.terol.zialcita@gmail.com. Only shortlisted applicants will be notified.
Thanks and please spread to interested parties!

Writing Tip of the Day

Excerpt from an interview with New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl, on wearing disguises during restaurant tips and not asking for freebies

Q: What do they do [when they recognize you]? Start bringing on the wine?

A: The smart ones just proceed with the meal. To me, one of the amazing differences between New York and Los Angeles is that, when I became the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, I felt like I had to train restaurateurs not to give me free stuff. I had to have these arguments. I had to send checks afterwards. I felt like I spent a year making the rules very clear: “I will not accept anything, you can’t send me free wine, you have to charge me.” They wouldn’t charge me the right price for a meal. So I’d leave these outrageous tips, $300 tips, and that annoys restaurateurs so much — that the waiter was getting all the money (laughs) — that they stopped doing it. Here no one has ever offered me a glass of wine for free. The rules were so clear here from the get-go. It’s a pleasure.

Writing Tip of the Day

Excerpt from an interview with Pico Iyer, travel writer and author of “Video Night in Kathmandu”

Q: Let’s talk about your process a little bit. Your writing, especially in “Video Night in Kathmandu,” is incredibly detailed. It is very much like you are taking a camera and shooting a panorama. One of the challenges of any writer, but especially someone who writes and travels, is the process. You’re going to Tibet, for example. What do you do before you go? What do you do while you’re there? When are you writing? When are you fitting this together? What is the process?

A: I think I usually pose a question to myself, of myself and of the place before I go. And I choose a very, very specific focus. Because anyway, it is an act of presumption to go to Tibet and Nepal for two weeks and write a whole chapter about it. So, as you remember in that book, in Japan, I chose baseball, in Manila, music, in India, movies, in Thailand, sex. Each focused theme gave me a keyhole through which to focus the material and to see a culture that I couldn’t pretend to say anything definitive about. Each theme gave me a microcosm to work within. And beyond that, I pose a question as a starting point, to frame an argument, and, of course, as soon as I get to one of those places, that question flies out the window and is replaced by another question. And then—the hope is—a deeper question and a still deeper one, and finally one that can’t be answered at all.

Feature Writing 101: Course Outline

Introduction:

Writer’s Block Founders

The founders of Writer’s Block Philippines collectively have close to two decades of experience in freelance writing. Together, their works on lifestyle, travel, arts & culture, advocacy, sex & relationships, and women’s issues have been extensively published both locally and internationally.

 

Now that they have made freelance writing their full-time job, they will answer the questions they are most commonly asked: why freelance? And how do you make money from writing?

 

News vs. Features

We read, watch and listen to news all the time so we may all—in one way or another—be familiar with news writing, but what exactly is feature writing? Relating it to the more familiar writing form of news, we will talk about the differences between news and feature articles and cite examples of award-winning features.

Different Kinds of Feature Stories

 

From the personality feature to the travel and food feature, we will take you through the kinds of feature articles, what each should have, and how to make each one compelling, moving and relevant.

 

Finding a Story Angle

They say that there are many ways to skin a cat and in this exercise-led discussion, you will find out that there are many ways to tell a story. Just how many? That’s what this exercise aims to find out.

 

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the right questions is key to getting a good story.  In this session, we will discuss what questions you should ask yourself before you take on an assignment and how to conduct good interviews.

 

Writing Techniques and Rituals

Intimidated by that blank piece of paper or that blinking cursor? We’ll talk about the different ways to get those creative juices flowing and some books that might help.

 

Writing a Lead

 

The lead is the first thing you will read in a story and, depending on how well it is written, can make you decide whether or not you want to go on reading.  In this part of the workshop, we will talk about writing a good lead and its main function in storytelling.

Writing Your Story

 

We’ve gotten our story angles, our story material, and our lead. Now, let’s write the rest of the story. Participants will be given time to write a short feature. The group will break into small groups and discuss the piece for constructive feedback and critique.