Travels inspired by the Wombles

Friday, 11 November 2011

Structure, structure, structure

As part of the planning for future books(!) I went to a book writing masterclass the other day. The course leader has a neat line in gentle, positive, constructive but incisive comment.
The course gives you the chance to pitch your idea for a travel book and to receive feedback to help you create a book proposal for agents and publishers. I thought it might be interesting for my reader if I shared some of the content from the masterclass (which comes recommended).
One of the crucial aspects of a book is structure. We learnt that the average length for a travel book is somewhere between 90,000-120,000 words and that, writing every day, it might take an average (very roughly) of 5-6 months to complete a first draft. Given the length of the publishing cycle, being over-topical might be a hindrance.
You can keep the reader's interest by writing out of chronological sequence and/or by having more than one strand to the narrative (which typically might be the actual journey and some type of inner/emotional journey). Ideally the different strands will be held together by a central theme and will come together at the end of the book.
The guest tutor was travel author Andrew Eames and, in the next blog entry, I'll say a little about his insights into themes, back stories, plot elements and the travel book market.

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