Writers’ Corner – February 2015

Writers’ Corner – February 2015


Lorraine MaceBy Lorraine Mace

Something ex-pats have in common is a tendency to travel fairly frequently between Spain and the UK. One benefit of this is that it opens up the in-flight magazine market. Using an airline on a regular basis means we have access to the magazines and can study the type of features they use. In-flight magazines are a very lucrative market and many pay above the average UK rate.

Flying Styles

You might think all in-flight magazines are the same, and to a certain extent they do follow a pattern, but each one will have its own unique take on the genre. As an initial pitch it might be an idea to use something in an existing copy that you can expand on. Why not pitch a piece on unusual and/or practical uses for the assorted gadgets they have for sale?


Most magazines would be interested in an interview with a celebrity, however far down the alphabet. With so many minor celebrities having holiday homes in Spain, the chances are you might have the opportunity to interview one.

But celebrity interviews are not the only option. Many passengers are travelling on business, or taking a holiday with an idea in mind of moving to Spain and setting up a new venture or taking over an existing one. An interview with the equivalent of your local Chamber of Commerce, giving advice or explaining regulations, could be well received by an in-flight magazine.

Other Options

In addition to travel destination pieces, there are other ideas you could pitch. Why not look around the town where you live and rethink it in terms of articles?

Food and drink: Little-known local recipes and/or eateries, or a combination of the two would be of interest to tourist.

Adventure: List and make a feature of all the extreme sport options in this region.

Entertainment: A piece on local entertainment, fiestas, dances, casinos, spectacular firework displays – particularly with images – is likely to be a winner.

Nature and the environment: This is a hot topic at the moment, so a feature on how our region is dealing with the issue, whether from a negative or positive viewpoint, would interest passengers travelling here.

So the next time you are in flight, think in-flight, and if your visitors ask if they can bring you anything, say yes – the in-flight magazine.

Reader’s Letter

Loretta from Estepona sent in this plea for help: No matter how hard I try, I just cannot get to grips with when I should use passed and when I should use past. Is there an easy way to remember?


This is something that many writers have difficulty getting right. The way I deal with it to determine is whether the context requires a verb or another part of speech. If you decide the sentence needs a verb, then you can only use ‘passed’ (apart from this exception, to be past it, which is colloquial usage, meaning old or no longer of use).

They passed the time by sleeping.
The ball passed over their heads.
I passed the house on my way to the bank.

Remember this: if you use any form of the verb ‘to have’ then it will always be followed by ‘passed’ and NEVER by ‘past’.

I have passed my exams.
He has passed his driving test.

For all other parts of speech you should use past.

As an adjective: I’ve been waiting for news for the past week. (‘Week’ is a noun and ‘past’ is an adjective modifying the noun.)
As a noun: It happened in the past. (‘The past’ is a noun.)
As an adverb: He hurried past. (The verb is ‘hurried’ and ‘past’ in this sentence is an adverb.)
As a preposition: He hurried past the house. (Because there is an object [the house] after ‘past’, it is a preposition and not an adverb, but the effect is the same and knowing the parts of speech doesn’t change the fact that you use ‘past’.)

Don’t forget, if you have a writing-related question, you can contact me at: lorraine@lorrainemace.com

Lorraine Mace is the author of children’s novel Vlad the Inhaler, humour columnist for Writing Magazine and head competition judge for Writers’ Forum. She is a former tutor for the Writers Bureau, and now runs a private critique and mentoring service for writers. Writing as Frances di Plino, she is the author of the crime/thriller series featuring D.I. Paolo Storey: Bad Moon Rising, Someday Never Comes, Call It Pretending and Looking for a Reason

Writing Critique Service: http://www.lorrainemace.com/index_files/critiques.htm


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