On Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle: Magazine Writing and the Evolving Markets In Asia

by Liang Ai Ting Aileen, Victoria Junior College 

A large multimedia room, well-lit with the aid of glass panels, buzzing with the excitable chatter of both the budding writers and seasoned professionals. A panel of well-dressed, charismatic individuals at the heart of the ever-changing technological age. Writers, not of the traditional pen-and-paper definition, but writers all the same. Mr Darren Ho, the editor and founding member of men-focused magazine AUGUSTMAN, discusses the unchanging relevance and connectivity of magazines in the world today.

To Mr Ho, magazines offers a glimpse into the world, and brings content from every part to its readers. It offers a collective representation of varying perspectives, and hence can be a trusted source for the public to base and formulate their opinions on.

Yet, the question still remains -- why editing and not writing?

“It’s more fun to change someone’s idea of a story, and give them a different or added insight.” As an editor, Mr Ho acknowledges the distinctions between editing and writing, and though he does produce his own works, finds that editing offers the chance to grow and maximise the potential of the younger writers. Beyond just writing and working around written works, however, editors are faced with the physical manifestation of the written word -- the management of resources and people. As magazines are a representation of a plethora of voices, each voice deserves to be articulated, as long as context is given and it is driven by sense. Magazine writers, being a more dynamic type of writer, has to challenge themselves to truly extract something uniquely theirs from the Interviewee, possessing the originality that research cannot compensate for.  Magazine writing contains the elements of writing, but is largely interspersed with other creative expressions and art forms, and involves the establishment of a balance between the two.

In true writer fashion, Mr Ho uncovers the undercover processes of article-writing. He names most prominently ‘being a grammar nazi’ as the first most important basis of writing, before refining and strengthening them through the breaking of tone and flow. Being more people-based and responsive, the contributors have to think more so of the intended effect on the audience, to suit its varying purposes and messages put across.

As any writer is supposed to do, “Write a lot, read a lot”. Writing and reading are complements to one another, and opens a person’s mind to a broader range of perspectives. Yet, to retain the passion in writing, there must be a balance struck up between work and leisurely inspiration, to truly maximise and prolong creative capacity. However, as any true writer can relate, the true essence of writing lies in its most primal form of passion, as a word translation of an experience in life.

Clearly, writing is highly flexible and widely encompasses a broad range of definitions and forms. Most importantly, however, is the origin of the intent -- the passion one has for writing and communication.