What Does Colombia Need To Qualify For World Cup 10 Tips for Writing Exotic Articles About Where You Live

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10 Tips for Writing Exotic Articles About Where You Live

Think about this: Every year people around you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars traveling to “exotic” destinations. What makes these destinations “exotic”? The fact that they are different from the usual home environment. That means wherever you live is an “exotic” locale to people in most of the rest of the world. So, write about it.

“Here? There’s nothing worth writing about around here,” you might say about your hometown. With the right focus on where to look, almost any location can yield multiple gems suitable for articles and stories. Research is the key. Here are warm and practical sources for generating new ideas no matter how small or boring your hometown is. My colonial hometown of York, Pennsylvania has a population of less than 60,000. Still, I have found many gems waiting to be mined, polished and marketed. Here are some topics and resources to stimulate your thinking in even the smallest, plainest, most remote towns.

Getting started: One indispensable resource is the phone book. These pages contain enough starter information for you to produce loads of articles, if you know where to look. The front pages often include maps, contact data for government agencies, museums, libraries, other reference sites and key institutions. Listings under clubs, fraternities, and organizations produce special interest groups clamoring for promotional or human interest pieces. Thumb through your directory, you’ll start generating ideas immediately.

Buy every postcard you can find that is relevant to your area. Names, dates and key facts on local sites will be printed on the back. Be sure to check out any antique postcards available in the area as well. Put them together in a scrapbook for future reference. Enter the name of your town and the keywords of your local postcard sites into a number of internet search engines. By following up the results, points you never imagined can generate article ideas or new ideas on “old” stories.

You’ll probably spend a few moments in the library anyway, so get to know the reference department staff if you haven’t already. They are invaluable allies in your search for all kinds of information. For the price of a cup of coffee you can reap rich rewards as you chat informally with members of staff. Ask for suggestions for article ideas. No library card? Get one – and use it. Readers may not be writers, but writers are always readers. If you’re not scanning the dailies and historical archives at the local library you’re missing out on a treasure trove of news clippings that start ideas.

News and commentary on TV/radio: Local events are often reflected on wider levels. Never assume that a seemingly “local” problem is only of local interest. When houseflies became a serious problem in a small town in Latin America, I asked European and Asian magazines about possible interest in an article on what the townspeople did not only to solve the problem, but to make money from it as well. An international magazine expressed its interest almost immediately. Listen to AM band talk radio broadcasts. Please note the issues and contact information. Examine them from different perspectives. Talk to the station, friends, and family. Investigate radio or television programs that include sites, locations or businesses.

Crime: What were the most publicized infamous crimes in the town? A robbery? Kidnapping? Arson? Murder? A modern re-telling of the events or a follow-up on the aftermath could be of interest to a number of crime magazines, police gazettes, law enforcement and insurance industry trade publications. Ghost stories can be fascinating and profitable. Is a local site rumored to be haunted? Cemeteries are a real storehouse of interesting ideas. Search for unique research facts through Internet archives or newspapers. Talk to carers too.

Food: Almost every place has a hometown recipe or concoction they’re proud of. What is its origin and special significance? How long has it been passed down? Are ingredients only available locally? Can people do it elsewhere? Can unavailable ingredients be substituted? Hotel, restaurant and bed and breakfast reviews are also marketable. In my hometown, eighteenth-century Pennsylvania Dutch specialties such as shoo-fly pie, apple butter, three-bean salad, and chicken corn soup grace our tourist-attracting menus. Perhaps an educational or historical piece, or perhaps a collection of recipes is just the ticket.

Celebrity appearances: Maybe Elvis didn’t sleep there (or maybe he did), but if ANYONE of note passed through, stopped or stayed, there are those who would like to hear about it. The celebrity can be historical or modern, represent any background from Art to Zen, or be a spouse, family and descendants. With an advance schedule of events, you can profile upcoming concert performers and seek interviews. PR and publicity offices carry stock bios on celebrities, which you can use as a starting point.

Music is of global interest; an unusual type performed in your area could turn into specialist pieces on local artists, artisans or exotic instruments such as the accordion, harmonica, dulcimer, harp or zither. Where and how are they crafted? Are lessons available? Why is the tool tied to the local area? If it exists elsewhere, compare your area with any other area.

Nature: Are there seasonal attacks by bees, butterflies, bats, or other creatures? Is your area home to an unusual species? A haven for hummingbirds? A wildlife sanctuary? Wildlife and environmental publications might like the story. Zoos, insect museums, pet stores and university departments are good starting sources. I discovered a family business that cultures butterflies and then releases them at weddings, parties and other special occasions as well as giving presentations at schools, trade shows and environmental conventions. Have you noticed a strange or oddly shaped tree? Check with neighbors and the city planning commission. See if there is a story attached to that trunk or other natural wonders in the area.

Sports or Fairs: Cover city, county or state events with unique and multiple marketing angles. Look for interesting viewpoints. Talk to the category winners. Are they elderly, ethnic, or disabled? People who share family secrets? See the events in different ways. Take pictures. Surely your area is proud to host a tournament, race, rally or marathon? How contestants prepare, interviews with sponsors, family and supporters are potential article generating material. When a backyard row of giant collard greens drew attention to my late grandmother’s fertilization methods and won her an award.

mention at the county fair, I wrote it up. (She had used free elephant dung from a visiting circus as fertiliser.)

Whatever your writing genre, there are plenty of diamond ideas for articles all around you. Continually jot down ideas, brainstorm, observe, listen, chat and question everyone you can. Keep a calendar of local and regional events. Be aware of events. Never again will you say, “Here? There’s nothing worth writing about around here.”

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