ENDINGS. Philip Lopate in To Show and To Tell talks about a typology of endings. Here are the kinds that he mentions. This is a summarized list and paraphrased in some cases by me. My travel writing group that meets every two weeks, discussed this list in our last Zoom time together. We are eager to use this list and see where it takes us in add the power and punch of a satisfying ending. Join us in discussing these through this blog post.
Step #1: Identify the type of ending you have used in one of your last stories.
- An image (metaphorical or real)
- A pithy saying in a clever or humorous way
- A line of dialogue
- A joke (use this one with care)
- A question
- A quote
- An ellipsis (…)
- A return of a refrain or a different spin on the phrase
- A new insight
- A resolve
- A sigh, a shrug, a sudden mood change
- A platitude, ONLY IF it is humorous or non-preachy
- A summary in the form of a series of semicolons
- Restating conflicting elements (ideas, images, thoughts, etc.) and how to live with them
Step 2: Develop multiple endings to your next story by trying several of these types of endings.
Step 3: Choose three of your favorite endings you have written. Think through those and select the most impactful for your story.
Step 4: Add to these types of endings overtime from your own experience and from your reading of others work.
Which ones have you used? Which ones would you like to use in the future? Which ones have you added to this list? I’m curious to learn what you think about the types of endings to our stories.
At the end of a travel day, journal about the events, people, and places you encountered.
In “Launch Your Travels” blog, the independent traveler Jen made several suggestions that a woman traveling alone can do in the evenings. It is rich with ideas for not only her niche audience, but for other travelers as well.
I had one thing to add to her suggestions, I’d like to share it with you here. If you do nothing else but this at the end of each day, you will have succeeded as being a thoughtful, purposeful, intentional traveler.
Journal about your travels. During dinner alone jot some notes while waiting for your meal to arrive. Make more full bodied reports of your travels that day after returning to your lodging. Here are some ideas to consider writing about.
- Record a conversation you had with a child, stranger or tour guide.
- Describe a place, person you met, or an experience you had, using all your senses.
- Write your reactions (emotions, thoughts, challenged beliefs) to what you encountered during this day.
- Reflect on a theme you set for your journey (i.e., as big as history or architecture, as small as slang or t-shirt sayings).
- Report your progress on an intention you set for yourself before traveling (such as do something each day you’ve never done before or practice your second language with locals).
I wondered what Potts meant by the title, Travel Writing as Memoir? As a student in his Santa Fe Workshop, held in San Miguel de Allende October 13-18, I learn that he meant the writer could impose herself in the writing, rather than standing at a distance and reporting–the reader wants to hear the voice of the writer. He meant we were free to use literary devices, such as writing with imagery, metaphor, foreshadowing, symbolism, and/or humor, among others.
He introduced us to psychogeography and assigned us the task of following a color of our choice through the city to encounter it in a unique way, randomly yet meaningfully. The concept of drifting or wandering the streets of the city aimlessly with the intent to observe with all our senses what the paths of the village had to offer us was the assignment–paradoxical in nature, but highly productive and insightful.
The workshop took my writing to a new level. I better understand how to find an appealing first sentence. I can see more ways to place myself reflectively in an essay about what I experience. And I know how to mine my travel experiences more thoroughly and insightfully through color tracking as a means of psychogeography.
What classes, workshops, or retreats have helped take your writing to a new level? Please share below, so others will find venues to develop their writing.
In a recent Travel Touchstones: Transformative Travel through Creative Journal Writing workshop with lively participants, I explained that I developed the writing exercises as a result of not having the right kind of material from my journals when drafting my coming-of-age travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away.
I offered a flow writing activity. Continue reading “Flow Writing followed by 3-step Revision”