Saturday, November 7, 2015


THIS is a tip to help those of you who have been struggling to put out a longer piece of work – like a 20,000-word novella, or travel journal.
Here is the suggestion.

On your next two-week vacation trip to a city, or exotic spot, go with a big notebook, pen and camera.
Use the notebook as a journal and note down the things you SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TOUCH or EAT.
(Yes, that is right; a good writer is a keen observer and makes good use of the physical senses!)
At the end of each day, or early the next day, try to note the observations of the day and your thoughts.
Make a note of people you meet and sketches of them.
Write the date neatly at the top left hand corner of a new page for each day.

Each place you go to, take pictures.
If people are willing to pose in your photos, take shots of them too.
As a rule, take three shots per scene, in case one does not turn out to be good.
The photos can help you remember things and people you meet.
They can help you with descriptions of the site and environment: Where there coconut or mango trees in the background? Was the building you were standing next to blue or green in colour? How many children ran up to you and asked for their photos to be taken? How old/big were they? Where they neat in appearance or scruffy-looking?

Your photos will help you recollect details.

Photo: Youths of Wallis and Futuna perform an item during the closing ceremony of the 2013 Mini Pacific Games at Kafika Stadium, Wallis. The picture tells me a lot.

Conduct interviews with locals and note what they say. (Or, make mental notes of things that people tell you, and later write them in your journal.)
Some of the locals would give you a lot of information which would later save you time to look up – or point you to sources you can get more information from.
At other times, some of the given information may not have been documented yet – it is new, fresh. 

If you put in the right amount of effort each day, it is likely that you can jot down 600 words on average, every day.
Later when you start typing notes into your laptop and taking the time to consult the dictionary and others sources, as well as restructuring sentences, you can really be looking at 700-1,000 words on average per day.
That means at the end of 14 days, you should have about 14,000 words.
The other 6,000 words can come from your preparations (the days, weeks and months before you actually took the trip). Even the wait at an airport can give your more things to write about if you ran into friends or a lone stranger from a European nation who was interested to share with you his/her experiences.
More information can also come from other sources you can consult to confirm details given you by locals.
Remember, what you write can help your readers know more about a place, so dig deep in your research and try to add sufficient background information to help your readers better understand the place and the things you have observed.

Your work can be shared as a journal or entries of a travel blog. Alternatively, you can use the information as background information to do a creative fiction work, as in the form of a novella where a foreigner visiting that exotic spot and is stunned by the physical environment and customs of the people, as well as the friends made while there.    

So, it is over to you now.
Plan for a trip to a place in PNG, or to one of our neighbouring Pacific Islands, and may that trip start you off on your first long piece of work.
Travelling to some is a good time to collect information for creative work.

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