SATW:60 Second Travel Writer #4 – Numbers 2

computer keyboard

catharine hamm 1At an SATW professional development session some years ago, University of Missouri professor Don Ranly gave us this gem: Something compared to nothing doesn’t mean anything.

Here’s a 60-Second Travel Writer Tip from LA Times Travel Editor Catharine Hamm:

Dr. Ranley was talking about using numbers effectively to paint the kind of word picture that helps reader see what you’re saying. Maybe you’re writing about San Bernardino County, California, the largest county in the lower 48 states. It’s 22,000 square miles. But how big is that? You can say that it’s about the size of Delaware. Or you depending your audience, you could say it’s about the size of 165,000 Disneylands. It takes a little extra reporting, but the delight of a story often is in the description that lets the read see through the written.

What are some other ways to make descriptions come alive? We’ll talk about some pitfalls of descriptors our next installment of The 60-Second Travel Writer.

For SATW professional development, I’m Westways Travel Editor Elizabeth Harryman.