Students will work on travel stories with the goal of eventually publishing them. Discover the seven key elements – a personal voice, a point of view, imagination, insight, humor, people, dialogue – and how best to incorporate them into your stories. Learn about the importance of finding a theme – something that ties your disparate and seemingly random experiences of a place together, creating a narrative arc and, if possible, a sense of suspense (so readers will keep reading). The course will also cover markets – both print and online – for travel stories, and practice how to write an efficient and appealing query letter.
Thomas Swick is the author of the travel memoir Unquiet Days: At Home in Poland; a collection of travel stories, A Way to See the World: From Texas to Transylvania with a Maverick Traveler; and most recently The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them. From 1989 to 2008, Swick was the travel editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. His work has appeared in The American Scholar, The North American Review, The Oxford American, The Wilson Quarterly, The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Boulevard, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, The Morning News, Roads & Kingdoms and six editions of The Best American Travel Writing.