"I wonder what a thematic trip report might be like, as opposed to the usual chronological one. --Or some other way of organizing the material. Probably the best thing, though, one can do to write better trip reports is to read high-quality nature writers. I cut my chops imitating Norman Maclean, and even thought it took me some time to grow beyond that, it was a good place for me to start."
"Mostly, I find that trip reports focus on alternatingly on the events themselves as well as the psychological impact that they have. It's a kind of inner-outer narrative. That's not a bad thing at all, but generally speaking, when I read a trip report, the conventions of the genre cause the writer to lose a lot of his or her own voice in the process. With a few exceptions, it is difficult to tell one writer apart from another. Usually with writing, voice is something that is very evident, even among those who are not very experienced (I see this in my students all the time, from day one)."
I copied the 2 passages above separately for emphasis because, IMO, they provide 2 very useful insights into the shortcomings of our trip reports in general. Looking back over my own reports, they certainly apply, and shall be taken to heart in my future efforts. The loss of voice comment caused me to wonder if perhaps we have begun to substitute pictures for the written language in attempting to communicate our experiences in the backcountry. From this amateur's perspective, most of the trip reports I have read, and enjoyed immensely, make far more effective use of pictures than writing. Responses?
"I made an initial attempt 'here'(link), after a fishing trip in April"
All I can say is that anyone interested in elevating their trip reports to a new level should read the report in this link. What an elegant piece of writing!
Thank you, Clayton, for responding so thoughtfully. This post is one of the most useful I have ever read here.