Challenge the structure

Your writing can take whatever shape you desire. If you don’t want to emulate other writers, don’t. If you hate what appear to be the current conventions of travel writing, steer clear of them. If you don’t want to categorize your style as “narrative galloping” or “place-based repetition” or “poetic grime,” allow your pieces to take whatever shape they need to in order to say something worth saying.

Learn when to break the writing rules you’ve been taught. “Always write in the third person.” “Every paragraph must have three to five sentences.” “Every story must have an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.” It’s not narrative that’s inflexible; it’s the writer. Don’t be afraid to play with forms or break rules.

(Schwietert, 2013)

Take a moment to be mindful of the voice that seems to want to come out. 

  • Does it want to start somewhere other than the start of the story? Begin with a beautiful detail that emerges and build out from that scene, keeping in mind the themes that seem to arise from it to give you further direction.
  • Does it want to take a non-linear structure? Take your writing from the previous point and then find another beautiful detail somewhere else in the story to follow it. Give yourself space between those “scenes” to figure out how to knit the story together with some transitions. You don’t want your reader completely confused.
  • Don’t fret if you want to mix poetry, prose, and narrative voices. Weave media elements into your words if it helps to further your story and your message.

You are the only one capable of translating that unique experience into something another life form can enjoy. Accept whatever form your travel story needs to take in order to be most authentic and meaningful.