Commercial Travel

Your article should be written in smoothly flowing paragraphs, just as you would find in a newspaper article.  Do not use bullets or point form.  The criteria below are elements that I will be looking for in your article. 


Do not use these headings literally in your article.  The information or stylistic points should come through on their own—they should not be announced to the reader.   Weave all of this information and criteria seamlessly into your article, just as the professionals do!   I have included headings and sections in this case to show you what you need in order to create an effective commercial piece.


PURPOSE:  Make it clear why have you written this piece–is there an obvious lesson, truth, or theme that you want to communicate?  Beyond recommending a destination or site, you want to give the reader a special reason for going there.  Read Polly Bannister’s article on P.E.I., entitled “A Sweet and Gentle Land” (available in Week 1 Notes), for a sense of purpose.  Bannister aims to show the reader that P.E.I. is a gentle, welcoming place in more ways than one.  All ideas in your article should relate to that main purpose. Do not simply relate any personal meaning the place had for you—make the article appeal to the reader as well.


STRUCTURE AND DEVELOPMENT: Is there a clear beginning to the article, in which you describe the setting and introduce the theme/purpose?  Is this followed by a middle section which develops that main theme or purpose with evidence, examples, anecdotes, and details?  Is there a concluding paragraph that connects the reader back to the beginning and ties up loose ends?


Does the article develop logically, so that the reader can follow the specific changes which occur, or does it make sudden leaps which cause the reader to lose the direction?  Is the progression logical, or is the order of events confusing?


SETTING: Have you created a sense of place through colourful details?  Can the reader taste/smell/feel what it is like to be there?  Does she or he experience the place as the local people do?  Can the reader imagine the location around the people clearly?  Some critics insist that a commercial or destination piece should “leave the reader feeling they have just enjoyed a mini-vacation without ever leaving home” (Cropp, Braidwood, and Boyce 11).


DEPICTION OF PEOPLE, AND DIALOGUE: Do the people described seem real with depth and emotion, or are they recognisable stereotypes?  As Thomas Swick, the travel editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel and an author of a travel memoir asks, “What can you know—and feel—about a place when you don’t meet the people who live in it?”  Remember that these are not characters (fictional creations) but real people, so watch the wording.


Do the people involved engage in realistic dialogue (that is, have you written believable conversations)?  Can the reader imagine people talking this way?  And does your voice as the writer sound natural rather than pretentious or preachy? 


SUPPORTING EVIDENCE: Have you provided evidence for your points of view or statements?  Does the evidence lead the reader to the same conclusion that you reached?  In other words, can the reader understand why you have offered that opinion?


APPEAL: Have you used a hook to draw the reader into the article, so that they are part of the place or journey?  Is the information presented in an interesting way, so that the reader wants to keep reading?  For example, have you created an element of “suspense, humor, consternation, satisfaction, wonder” (O’Neil 7) in the reader?  Would they feel intrigued and entertained?  Is this an evocative as well as informative piece?  Just because you’re writing non-fiction, don’t forget the imaginative…


ORIGINALITY: Have you avoided clichés (overused expressions like “tropical paradise” or “winter wonderland“)?  Is the wording original and vivid?  Does the article find a fresh approach to a place, rather than talking about the same old thing (e.g., yet another article about high tea in London)?


CREDIBILITY AND ACCURACY:  Is the information accurate in terms of verifiable dates/statistics/names?  Did you do your homework?  Can the reader trust your opinion?  What authority do you have to write this article (e.g., frequent visitor, cultural background, attentive LHUM 1212 student 😉

POINT OF VIEW AND BIAS: If your article is in the first person (that is, told from your perspective), do you avoid talking too much about yourself?  Remember that commercial articles are first and foremost about place.  Too much personal detail will skew the focus.  Also, be sure to make the point of view consistent throughout the piece—don’t suddenly shift points of view, so that it’s unclear from whose perspective the story is told.


Is the article fair?  Are you biased toward the subject?  Does this bias prevent you from presenting a fair view of the place?  Do you admit the bias? 


VISUALS: Have you included appealing, relevant photographs to entice your reader?  Are they accompanied by an interesting, informative caption?  If you borrow the image(s) from an outside source, be sure to document them properly in APA format.  Photographs can be subject to copyright

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