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Lonely Planet Travel Writing 2nd Ed.: 2nd Edition [Paperback]

Don George
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2009 Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing
Written by a pre-eminent travel writer and bursting with invaluable advice, this inspiring and practical guide is a must for anyone who has ever yearned to turn their travels into saleable tales. Packed with insider hints and tips, practical writing exercises and examples of travel writing excellence, this guide helps you bring the dream job of Travel Writer within scribbling distance of reality. Discover The secrets of crafting a great travel story How to conduct pre-trip and on-the-road research Effective interviewing techniques How to get your name in print (and money in your bank account) The quirks of writing for newspapers, magazines, online and books Extensive listings of writers' resources & industry organizations


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Most helpful customer reviews
By Suhail Zubaid AHMAD TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had ordered this book through Amazon to improve my travel writing skills when I was a Chief Editor of a Department eMagazine at a reputable US based financial institution. I found the book to be very helpful in turning my bland writing style into a more readable one to the point where some people admired my writing from dramatic beginnings to lively piece to having a Rudyard Kiplings' flavour. English being my third language, my writing skills may still be weak, but at least the book has made a tremendous impact on why, what, and how I write.

The author has discussed many writing tools to make it an interesting read. I have found after reading this book that why some writings pull me right into the story making me a live participant and why the others appear to be so bland that it seems I am reading a treatise.

Another reason why this book can be read by anyone interested in reading about travels is that the author has taken a sample of many diversified and interesting travel stories from well-known travel writers. Just reading those stories is sheer pleasure. The book is also packed with interviews of working travel writers, ensuring that one has multiple perspectives on what travel writing is about.

The only negative I have on this book is the sidebars. There are two types: black text on grey background and reverse white on grey background and are difficult to negotiate through.

The chief author, Don George, is himself a traveler, travel writer, travel editor and teacher of travel writing, and all his experience comes into play in this compact, well-organized book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource April 20 2010
Format:Paperback
This book came highly recommended by a professional travel writer and it didn't let me down. It is packed full of information and examples of great writing. Any travel writer could benefit from this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A travel writer rates it "great'' Aug. 1 2005
By Catherine Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best guides to any kind of writing that I've run across -- and by far the best to the difficult craft of travel writing. I've used it in my classes this summer and have been recommending it to every writer I know.

The chief author, Don George, is himself a traveler, travel writer, travel editor and teacher of travel writing, and all his experience comes into play in this compact, well-organized book.

The basics are all there, but the book goes far beyond them, adding a short history of travel literature; an outline of the ``quintessential qualities'' a travel writer needs (not least flexibility, frugality and passion); detailed advice from successful writers and major editors; even a list of travel-literature classics.

This book is destined to be a classic of its own -- one I wish I could have turned to when I was setting out in the field 25 years ago. And, like Lonely Planet's guidebooks, it's compact enough to slip into a backpack and take on the road, in case the muse hits -- as it too often does -- on a distant beach or mountaintop.

-- Catherine Watson, former travel editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is the author of ``Roads Less Traveled -- Dispatches from the Ends of the Earth'' (Syren, 2005).
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Realistic Guide to Travel Writing Oct. 30 2005
By Robert Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is both sobering and inspiring, but most importantly, practical. Starting from an important place, "What It Takes To Be a Travel Writer," this may well convince you that travel writing isn't really a dream job for most people. Relationships with close friends can be strained, travel isn't as fun when it's a job, pay isn't usually too great, and there is such a thing as burning out from traveling too much. Some travel writers even forget to stop taking notes when they're on an actual vacation.

From there, the book delves into the practical aspects of travel writing- finding your story, getting published, using technology in your field research. This knowledge should give you confidence that you can make your dream a reality, provided you live simply, have realistic expectations, and market your work strategically.

Probably what makes the book the most useful is that it is just packed with interviews of working travel writers- about  of the book- and this ensures that you will have multiple perspectives on what travel writing is about.

I was torn between buying this book and the Travel Writer's Handbook, which was also rated well last time I checked. But it seemed the past reviewers for this book were more articulate, and so I presume they were actually writers...
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book you need for travel writing. May 11 2005
By Shad Schroeder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If I can't get published after reading this book, then I should give up.

Don George has written the best book I've read about travel writing. Not only does it deal with nuts and bolts issues of preparing for the trip and writing the story, it inspires the reader with the many interviews of working writers. The chapter about finding the focus of your story is one of the most practical and useful that I have read. Following his advice about crafting the story won't only improve your travel stories, but your writing in general.

Also included in the book are seven examples of 'good' travel writing and many suggestions for other travel stories and authors to read.

This isn't a pie-in-the-sky, get rich quick book. Mr George and the writers interviewed are very clear that you have to work hard and that you won't likely be able to support yourself only as a travel writer. It does make you feel that you can be published and gives many useful suggestions about how to do so.

Finally, Mr George provides and extensive list of resources in the USA, The UK, and Australia. He even includes sample release forms.

I only have two minor complaints about the book. The seven examples of good writing would have been more useful if Mr George had provided specific commentary about them. That said, he did use several as examples when he was discussing the opening and ending of articles and readers should be able to see the stories merits after reading the book. My other complaint is that the book's font was small. Maybe I'm getting old or need new glasses, but I found myself squinting at times.

But don't let either of these minor complaints stop you from buying this book - it's great. Thank you Don George and Lonely Planet.
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Travel Writer Rates It "Pretty good, but..." Aug. 18 2006
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
So you're ready to dive into TRAVEL WRITING? Better see what's floating in the pool first.

Let me be the first to thank Don George and friends for having done us all the favor of creating a Lonely Planet offering for aspiring travel writers. It truly does contain a wealth of helpful hints and contact information for beginners. In fact, my copy has a rainbow mohawk sprouting from the colored Post-its I've tabbed important pages with. But here also lies its greatest flaw. A well planned book should not require the reader to create a haphazard hairpiece to augment its index. This one does.

Of George's eight chapters, fully five of them contain interviews with various authors, totaling 65 pages. I enjoyed them all, but they act as hurdles to readers using the index and should have been contained in an appendix. Further, some of the responses overlap, creating redundant reading.

Along that same line in chapter four, "The Art & Craft of Travel Writing," Don George presents a section called "Five Compelling Beginnings," showing how to hook readers with a good lead. But then a problem arises in chapter five, "Examples of Good Travel Writing," when George shows how to unhook his own readers by using all five of those same beginnings (along with their middles and ends) as examples of great completed stories. I felt as if I'd been had. After reading seven example magazine articles, where one would have sufficed, we finally got back to business. (For my previous three paragraphs I'm subtracting 1 star)

My final admonition: Practice what you preach.

Author Don George states in chapter four, "There is simply no excuse for getting your facts wrong, and you should not expect sympathy (or future work) from an editor if you do."

Uh-oh, pay attention here Don: When your sample writer Stanley Stewart penned, "a huge sky decorated with mare's tail clouds," you asked readers, "have you ever seen clouds depicted this way before?"

Oops. Yes I have Don. Mare's tail is a term used for cirrus clouds. Don't fire yourself. I forgive you. (But I'm docking you another star.)

Despite these petty annoyances and enough literary padding to qualify as a wonder bra, TRAVEL WRITING is still a great tool; just one that you will have to seperate from the clinging rakes and shovels.

My recommendation: Buy it, but get some Post-its too.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another travel-writing contender Aug. 21 2008
By Barbara Hudgins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read several books on travel writing, and have even written one myself (although my book "Crafting the Travel Guidebook" concentrates on travel books rather than articles for magazines and newspapers). "The Travel Writer's Handbook" was the classic book because it covered so many angles--research, getting assignments, what clothes and equipment to take along--and of course, how to write a compelling article. Peat O'Neal's "Travel Writing" is geared more to the beginning writer with many examples of different leads and writing exercises as well as the usual chapters on cajoling a travel editor into giving you an assignment.

This Lonely Planet compilation by Don George and others falls more into the "teach by showing" category. So whether you like the book or not depends very much on whether you think George's choice of terrific travel articles are really so terrific.

First of all, they are all very loooong. I didn't see any example of the 750-1000 word article that many newspaper editors prefer. Then there is the problem of the tiny type. Okay, maybe all Lonely Planet books have tiny type (I mean it looks like 9 pt. or less) but this one has the added problem of the type being too light! Some sections have a gray background and that helps the readability a little--but only a little.

And then those pictures! With all the color photographs Lonely Planet has lying around they had to choose these b&w close-ups of calligraphy and tattoos? Thematically sound but aesthetically weak. I blame the production team for this one, not the writers.

On the good side--there is a terrific appendix-resource section and the scope defintely includes the USA. U.K. and Australia. Plenty of sound advice on writing and an explanation of how newspaper and magazine work and why editors pick what they do from freelancers. Very little hype except for the back cover blurb, but after all, what else would you expect?

I found the interviews with writers and editors to be so-so. Not every travel writer is thrilling when asked to talk about his craft. Editors usually give a more cogent view of the world of travel writing and what a newcomer might expect. There is also a chapter on writing for travel guidebooks but it only covers the Lonely Planet pre-formatted type of guide. Even so, it was interesting to hear how one gets into that realm and what the royalty situation is.

There is also information on how to research your work and the necessary chapter on cameras, laptops and other tools of the trade. All in all, a welcome addition to the travel-writing library--but how I wish LP would have graduated to a larger type for this one!
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