MatadorU’s travel writing program is broken down into two segments: The Fundamentals of Travel Writing, and Advanced Travel Writing. They are sequential. The Fundamentals course sets a foundation of narrative writing, travel journalism, fieldwork, and editing. The Advanced course takes these skills and develops them further.
In understanding which course is right for you, it’s helpful to use an analogy such as a ski-slope. Beginning skiers and snowboarders are often tempted to jump right out on Blue (moderate) or Black Diamond (difficult) terrain to test how good their skills are. But inevitably, those who spend proper time on the Green (beginner) runs will develop a more solid foundation and have better form as they progress. This leads to a faster, and more fun experience overall.
So this said, in evaluating which course is right for you, please remember that “Beginner” vs. “Advanced” has nothing to do with one’s talent, dedication, or ambition as a writer, but simply the amount of experience one already has in different areas of travel writing. A student may have already blogged for a couple years and even built up a substantial following, but if he or she has not spent time practicing narrative writing techniques (such as in a college writing class), or journalistic fieldwork such as interviewing, the Fundamentals class is still the right option.
If you can answer the following questions without too much difficulty, you should consider the Advanced course:
- In what tense and POV did you write your last narrative?
- Why did you choose that particular tense / POV?
- What kinds of questions have you asked interview subjects?