Dianna's slideshow presentation on “From Open Road to Manuscript: Using a Travel Journal as Inspiration for Writing Short Fiction” was informative and inspiring.
During her presentation Dianna spoke about how she uses her travels throughout the American West as inspiration for her writing. In particular she mentioned how the landscape and the spirit of the American West “make for great conflict in stories.”
It’s been more than a month since I jotted down notes during Dianna’s talk, but here are some bullet point tips I jotted down:
*Listen for regional expressions. Ask what they mean and there they came from.
*Ask and listen for people’s stories.
*Take a lot of photos, including plants and animals.
*Use your senses: touch, feel, smell.
*Research after you see something unusual (e.g. boots on fence posts. What do they mean?)
*Watch for town names. Ask locals where the town name originated.
*Avoid tourist attractions. Take the back roads to add flavor to the story.
*Use history to spin fiction.
*Look for controversy. Talk to people. What are they worrying about; what divides them?
* Watch for historical markers.
*Be aware of connections to develop a theme: We are connected to other people through our experiences and similarities. It’s not about the place as much as interactions and connections.
To learn more about Dianna, her writing, and her business ventures, stop by her website: http://2riverscommunications.com/
After re-reading my notes from Dianna’s presentation, I’m ready to grab my camera and pen, crack open a fresh notebook, pack up the car, and hit the road.
How about you? How does traveling inspire you to write?
Do you have any tips to share for capturing the essence of your travels?