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I am writing a book about travelling. However, I have never travelled abroad before and currently, in my situation, cannot. I feel a little discouraged on all the backlash I could receive on cultural stereotypes, and how I display my characters and countries (of course I will do my research, but the internet doesn't always give the inhabitants' opinions on stereotypes).

What can I do?

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  • Roughly how many travel books, magazine or newspaper travelogues have you read? Among those, which writers did you find admirable, and why? Mar 2 at 21:14
  • @RobbieGoodwin I have read a travel book (Lost in the Lakes by Tom Chesshyre) that inspired me, but I found it really difficult to find another book similar to my story. I fell in love with travelling because of how he writes his adventures. I tried to read other travelogues but none of them excited me or kept me interested. I feel completely lost.
    – Junk Email
    Mar 3 at 12:10
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    How does 'another book similar to my story' come into this, please? How could 'my story' be the basis for a travel book? Are you really planning a 'travel book' or a story about a road-trip or quest? Mar 3 at 18:40
  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Writing Meta, or in Writing Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 5 at 21:43
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    As Robbie Goodwin has already asked, could you please clarify what you mean when you say "a book about travelling"? Are you writing a travel guide (non-fiction) or a novel (fiction) or something else entirely? The answer to your question will depend on that.
    – Ben
    Mar 23 at 15:28

2 Answers 2

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Research.

With the internet, you don't need to travel to experience what it is to travel.

When I need to write about a subject I don't know nothing about, this is what I do (keeping to the theme).

  • If there's a Stack Exchange site about it, go read some highly-voted questions: https://travel.stackexchange.com/

  • If there's a sub-reddit for it, go read some highly-voted posts.

  • Watch youtube videos about tips for travelers. This will give you ideas of challenges for your traveling characters.

  • Find women's articles about travel experiences. Look in magazines like Marie Claire, and others.

  • Find stories/novels/short tales about traveling. Read them. See what in them make your emotions tick.

  • After you gather enough ideas, draft/outline your travel chapters. They will be between bad, so-so, and good. It doesn't matter.

  • From the material above, you might have some ideas of interesting mistakes, challenges, antagonists, events, to make the tale of your character's travel interesting. Try to make them fit into a narrative, like legos.

  • Write your story, review it, and follow your own heart.

Remember that stories are not about the plot, the setting, the characters, the challenges.

It is about the emotional change and transformation of the characters. You need to show why the change matters, and how they were affected. Some coaches like to talk about "fatal flaw" and "redemption". They are onto something.

The most mundane activities can make a compelling story if you show the transformation.

EDIT:

If you need to describe a real world location you never visited in your story, go to Google Maps, find a photosphere, and start sight-seeing through them.

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    A good source that I'm missing from your list are ethnological descriptions and other scholarly works on the region or country or culture as well as political news reports or non-fiction books about the political and social situation. In fact, that is where I would start.
    – Ben
    Feb 28 at 18:59
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    There are excellent YouTube channels dedicated to travelling. Search for channels that don't check into 5-star hotels and visit tourist hotspots but go to less-known areas and interact with the locals. Feb 29 at 9:58
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For your sake, I've just read On Writing, by Stephen King. I strongly suggest that you do the same; it will answer all your questions. I'll repeat only the part he emphasises most: read more and write more and then again, read more and write more…

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