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What Makes a Good Trip Report?

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What Makes a Good Trip Report?

Postby kayakerSS » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:14 pm

Okay SPers, what makes a good trip report?

I've just returned from a couple of really great trips, and I'd like to write up my experiences, something for my own personal records and also something that I can share with other people. I'm struggling with how much detail to add versus just talking about the experience (how I felt, interesting/funny experiences, etc.). How do you guys approach writing up your trips? What kinds of things do you like to see in other's reports? How much detail is too much?
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Postby rpc » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:39 pm

don't use too many words or too big a word...some of us have short attention spans & low IQ's (& are likely to label you a "show-off"). Lace them heavily with profanity because that adds drama to any scene - a well placed "f.ck!" can really tie a paragraph together. try not to write while sober because ...well, that just makes for boring reading. do not chestbeat because we do not like it (some of us have small penises & you know, the "showoff" thing). that's all I got for now - might have more later at home (after a few beers).
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:45 pm

I like trip reports that are written in a narrative style, yet relay information that would be useful to someone wanting to repeat the route or trip. For example, what air taxi service/outfitter/trekking agency (if applicable) did you use and did you like them, what trail head you departed from, how long the approach took, what the climbing was like, how difficult - but not just in terms of number or letter grades, how was the descent, what sections were difficult to protect, how were the camping/bivi sites, how long the trip took, and of course plenty of descriptive photos.

I also appreciate good writing; grammatically correct, simple, yet elegant prose, gentle humor (think Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbeck). I think MVS does this particularly well: http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=547 e.g. http://www.mountainwerks.org/cma/2002/forbidden.htm. Obviously this is my personal preferance, others may prefer a different style.
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Postby Dow Williams » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:46 pm

rpc wrote:Lace them heavily with profanity because that adds drama to any scene - a well placed "f.ck!" can really tie a paragraph together.


My sentiment exactly. My editor (and publisher now days) takes those out, guess I should renegotiate those terms in my contract next signing.
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Postby JasonH » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:46 pm

Make sure to include.

1) Bears
2) Sunburns
Last edited by JasonH on Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bob Sihler » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:52 pm

Try to go beyond just "This is what we did" and throw in some humor, useful details on routes and conditions, and maybe some near-death encounter that will make our eyes bug out.

Don't make the paragraphs too long.

And slip in an unrelated bikini shot here and there. :wink:
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Postby Lolli » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:56 pm

:shock:
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Postby Augie Medina » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:33 pm

It may seem obvious, but create a different report for separate trips and, even as to a single lengthy trip, do a report for each notable segment instead of trying to cram too much into a single report.

Yes, put a premium on short paragraphs.

Speaking for myself, I identify with narratives where the author shares and muses about fears, self-doubts, and wrestling with hard decisions that may have been part of the experience. It can be hard to do that for fear of people questioning your fortitude, preparedness or lack of traits you may never have even thought about, but I think for the most part readers here appreciate such candor.

Finally, I've always liked the advice: there is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. So don't spare revision time.
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Postby kevin trieu » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:52 pm

rpc wrote:don't use too many words or too big a word...some of us have short attention spans & low IQ's (& are likely to label you a "show-off"). Lace them heavily with profanity because that adds drama to any scene - a well placed "f.ck!" can really tie a paragraph together. try not to write while sober because ...well, that just makes for boring reading. do not chestbeat because we do not like it (some of us have small penises & you know, the "showoff" thing). that's all I got for now - might have more later at home (after a few beers).


fuck, that's excellent advice.
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