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Free newsletter from the Australian Writers' Centre (formerly the Sydney Writers' Centre) packed with information about our upcoming courses and events, writing competitions, festivals, free articles on writing as well as freelance news and opportunities. Here's a collection of some of our past newsletters.

27 October 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Should you use possessive apostrophes for objects?
  • Don’t forget our NaNoWriMo launch this Friday!
  • Learn the essentials of editing
  • More Student Success
  • Take your writing to the next level – Creative Writing Stage 2
  • Did you know? Storm in a teacup
  • What we’re readingBinu and the Great Wall by Su Tong
  • WEBPICK: James Killick’s Blog

Another busy week here at the Sydney Writers’ Centre! Last night, I spoke at the Sydney Professional Development Forum where there was a great bunch of people keen to learn about how to build their personal brand and get ahead in their career. One of the key factors in making the right impression in the workplace – whether that’s to your boss, colleagues or clients – is your written communication.

In fact, this can make or break whether you get a promotion, secure a business deal, or simply convey the right message. Over the past two decades, I’ve seen how business writing skills can play a huge part in your success.

That’s exactly what I had in mind when I designed the course Professional Business Writing. I identified the business writing skills you need to write essential documents at work. Then I broke this down into a step-by-step framework so that you can acquire these skills in just one day.

This practical seminar in Professional Business Writing covers:
  • 5 essential steps to plan your document
  • How to determine what you MUST write about (and what to leave out)
  • The 11 Golden Rules of business writing
  • Business writing DON'Ts
  • Common writing mistakes (and how to avoid them)
  • How to structure reports and proposals
  • Fundamentals of persuasive writing
  • How to gain the reader's attention
  • Style guides - how to use them and how to create one
  • How to revise, edit and present your documents
  • and MUCH more.

I’m also thrilled that experienced writer and corporate trainer Sue White is teaching the course. Sue’s dynamic style is the perfect fit for this seminar.

Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Possessive apostrophes and objects
There’s so much confusion around possessive apostrophes and when to use them, particularly if you’re talking about inanimate objects like a car, or a desk. Here’s what Grammar Girl has to say about it:

A while back I wrote about "cigarettes' dangers" and I was shocked when multiple people asked if it is possible to use the possessive with an inanimate object. After doing some research, I confirmed that in the past some people were taught they could only use the apostrophe and 's' to show possession for people. That "rule" has fallen by the wayside. It is now fine to use the possessive for things like cigarettes, tables, and rocks:


the table's legs
cigarettes' dangers


Some people still prefer the "of" construction, and of course, it is also acceptable (although sometimes it sounds more natural than others):

the legs of the table
the dangers of cigarettes






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Filling fast: Your Story Structure with Dr Kathryn Heyman, starts Friday 4 November.

  • Congratulations to Craig New and Melinda Stevenson who won our spooky book competition (13 October). A copy of Where Spirits Dwell is on its way to both of you. 

  • New date: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett on Monday 12 December 2011. 





NaNoWriMo launch
Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this November? Don’t forget about the launch being held here at the Centre tomorrow night, 28 October 2011 from 6pm. Local organisers and past participants of NaNoWriMo will be on hand to offer advice on how to tackle the challenge and motivation to get you started.

Check out the details here.

You need to rsvp for this one so get in soon!





Learn the essentials of editing
Want to know how to turn even the clumsiest writing into a polished document? Editing doesn’t have to be a tedious task – learning the essentials of this vital skill will make your job easier and save you time.

Whether you’re editing hard copy or on-screen, this one-day seminar will show you how a professional editor approaches their work – and how you too can edit confidently. You’ll learn how to edit for structure and style, how to use standard proofreading symbols, and simple techniques that will improve anyone’s writing.

Here’s what past participants say:
"I enjoyed all aspects of the course. The workbook was easy to follow as were the exercises. Deb was very engaging and inclusive. I look forward to doing more courses with her."
- Rebecca Connell

"Deb is Excellent – one of the most engaging presenters who REALLY knows her stuff. It's a pleasure to spend the day with her!"
- Wendy Johnston

This seminar is taught by Deb Doyle. Deb is an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor. Deb’s courses are interactive and collegial. She demystifies the editing process in a way that’s engaging and interesting.

Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 18 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Student Success
This week we have two success stories from former Sydney Writers’ Centre students.

Vanessa McKinley, who completed our Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2, wrote to us about her success in the Gold Coast Writers’ Association Short Story Prize. The theme was déjà vu and she won with her short story, Mermaid. Her story will be published along with other prize winners in an eBook later this year.

Congratulations Vanessa!

We also heard from Chris Muir, who has done our How to Get Your Book Published seminar and also Magazine and Newspaper Writing. He put his new-found publishing knowledge to good use and has just published his first novel, Whispers from the Doll House, as an eBook.

Congratulations Chris!






Take your writing to the next level
Want to take your writing to the next level? If you want to learn how to create believable characters, structure your story, and develop your scenes, then Creative Writing Stage 2 is your next step.

One of the most useful tools for writers of fiction is workshopping. Creative Writing Stage 2 gives you a chance to practise what you learn and get valuable feedback on your work. Each week, you’ll focus on different tools and techniques to help make your creative writing shine.

This course is taught by Pamela Freeman. Pamela is the author of 23 books, the most recent of which, Lolly Legs, has been published by Walker Books. In 2010 Full Circle (Book 3 of the Castings trilogy), was published in the US, UK, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as Australia.

What past participants say:
"Sharing my work with like minded people has really given me the courage to move forward with my book. Pamela is amazing, she is very generous with her knowledge and experience."
- Hera McCaffery

"A great experience and very useful for improving your writing."
- Tim Sweeney

Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman LAST COURSE FOR 2011
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Can’t make it to our training rooms in Milsons Point? You can also do this course online.

ONLINE COURSE: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When
: Week beginning Monday 14 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Historic or historical?
Do you say historic fiction or historical fiction? Describe a city as a historic city or historical city?

Well, it actually depends on what you are trying to say. "Historic" is an adjective that means something important or influential in history. "Historical" is also an adjective and refers to "from a period in history" or "from a period in the past".

For example:

"A historical politician" is a politician from the past, who may or not have had much impact on society. This might be a low-level member of parliament who barely served a term.

"A historic politician" is a politician who was important in history, such as Winston Churchill, who played a significant role in the events of World War II.

As for fiction, it's usually described as historical fiction, as it's set in the past.






Publish your eBook!
Amazon’s Kindle has been a boon for writers, many of whom have become bestsellers simply by publishing their work as an eBook. The beauty of publishing this way is that you, the writer, receive royalties of up to 70 per cent, much more than a traditional publisher can offer.

And it’s not just novels that are published as eBooks. This format is perfect if you’re writing short stories, non-fiction, or even travel journals. All forms of writing can be uploaded and sold as an eBook, giving writers in all fields an opportunity to see their work published.

What past participants say:
"Steven Lewis has been there and done that with eBook publishing, which made what he had to say more relevant. He has good humour and a good presentation technique."
- Sharon Livingstone

"Steven was very engaging and full of fascinating information. I never lost attention, not even once. The two hours flew by."
- Shona Parker

Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Wednesday 9 November 2011 (two-hour seminar)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $85
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






This week’s funny...
We all have a certain song stuck in our heads now…








Did you know? Storm in a Teacup
This is one of those strange sayings that’s become so popular we don’t even question its meaning. But think about it literally and you have to wonder – why a storm in a teacup?

We know that "a storm in a teacup" is a problem that’s been made to seem far more important than it is. Similar expressions have been around since Roman times. Cicero used the phrase excitare fluctus in simpulo, which translates to “cause waves in a wine ladle”. In the 17th century two other variations were in regular use – “a storm in a cream bowl” and “storm in a wash basin”.

The saying has morphed into the British “storm in a teacup”, which is still used today.  Americans have their own version – “tempest in a teacup”.






What we’re reading
This week our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading Binu and the Great Wall by Su Tong. She writes:

Binu and the Great Wall
is an international bestseller by Chinese author Su Tong. This short novel provides the backstory for the Chinese myth of Meng Jiang Nu, the woman crying at the Great Wall. Readers follow the journey of Binu, a young woman from Peach Village in China, who sets out to take her husband Qiliang winter clothes so he does not die of cold or overwork, as he has been taken to build the Great Wall.

The key themes of the book are Binu's determination and naivety, and her misery. Having grown up in Peach Village where people are not allowed to cry, tears stream from her palms and hair instead, for almost the entire story. Along the way she meets a wide selection of uncaring and unsympathetic characters who block her journey, rob her of the winter clothes and eventually lock her up. While she does reach Great Swallow Mountain and the Great Wall eventually, the ending of the story is both far too brief after her extended agony, and also a major disappointment for anyone expecting a western-style effort equals rewards narrative.

We want to know what you're reading! You can write a book review for the Writing Bar and we'll feature an excerpt here in the newsletter. If you'd like to submit, check out the review guidelines here





WEBPICK: James Killick’s Blog
James Killick is an IT professional by day and a fiction writer by night. He’s also a creative writing teacher and, lucky for you, a blogger. Lucky, because his blog (not so originally named, James Killick’s Blog) is full of writing advice and wisdom.

There are posts on writing plots, creating characters and writing scenes. There’s also a great post on “What theatre can teach about storytelling” and plenty of tips on writing a great blog.

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 31 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 31 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 and Friday 11 November 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Wednesday 9 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 10 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 11 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Intensive Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go
When
: Saturday 12 November and Sunday 13 November 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 16 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 17 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 18 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville – FULL
When
: Monday 21 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 25 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 28 November 2011 and Monday 5 December 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Better Business Emails with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 30 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 1 December 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 8 December 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Monday 12 December 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Weekend Life Writing with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When:
Saturday 21 July to Saturday 28 July 2012


Writing in Paris with Patti Miller – 2012 dates to be confirmed



20 October 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Do you diffuse, disperse or disburse? 
  • Perfect your business writing
  • NaNoWriMo – Will you be taking part? 
  • TIP: Back to basics – nominalisation
  • Get your picture book published!
  • What we’re readingGreat House by Nicole Krauss
  • WEBPICK: Fifty-Two Stories

I love going to the movies. Next on my list are Real Steel with Hugh Jackman and Warrior with Joel Edgerton. Yes, I do have a thing for boxing movies. So it's probably no surprise to you that one of my cats is named Rocky (and my little doggie, pictured, is Rambo).

I love being swept away in the story, leaving the cinema inspired, elated or moved. That's why I'm so thrilled that screenwriter extraordinaire Tim Gooding is one of our wonderful presenters. I expect to see the names of some of our Screenwriting graduates in the credits when I go to the movies soon.

If you've toyed with the idea of writing a movie, then Screenwriting Stage 1 is the ideal place to start. You don't need an idea – just a passion to write for film.

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

However, if you've already got an idea well underway, then Screenwriting Stage 2 is the perfect course to make sure that it becomes a fully-fledged script.

As well as receiving guidance in developing your own screenplay, you will also learn about:
  • Complicated characters – How to create characters who surprise, who have complexity and contradiction.
  • Genre – Is your screenplay a genre piece?
  • Big stakes – You’ll find out about “wounding to reveal”.
  • Mystery and Suspense – Using this to make your screenplay more gripping.
  • Finer techniques and principles – You’ll learn about point of entry/exit, subtext, point of view, and more.
  • The Deadly Middle Act – Learn how to improve the area that most frequently goes missing.
  • Selling your screenplay – Discover how to find a producer and pitch your script.

Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Diffused, dispersed or disbursed?
Reader Margo Hutchison has asked us to explain the difference between the words diffused, dispersed and disbursed. She came across a writer using the word “disbursed” when writing about an experiment in osmosis, referring to the “dye having disbursed through the liquid”.
 
First, “disbursed” is definitely the wrong word to use in this case. It actually means “to pay out money, expend”.  For example:

We’ll disburse money from the social fund for the party.

“Dispersed” certainly sounds similar, but its meaning is quite different. It means to “scatter abroad; send or drive off in various directions” or “to spread”. It can also mean to dispel or vanish. For example:

Police were sent in to disperse the crowd.

The wind will disperse the fog.


Finally, “diffused” means “to pour out or spread something”. In physics, it means “to mix, move, or spread by diffusion”. It can also mean widely spread or scattered. For example:

The dye diffused through the liquid.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • We've launched our new Facebook group for graduates! If you've completed one of our creative writing or magazine writing courses you're eligible to join. Click here for details.

  • Filling fast: Your Story Structure with Dr Kathryn Heyman, starts Friday 4 November.

  • New dates: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle, Wednesday 30 November. 





Perfect your business writing
Is your writing holding you back at work? Do you struggle when it comes to writing reports, proposals or correspondence? Learning the fundamentals of good business writing could be all you need to build your confidence and save time at work.
 
Professional Business Writing is a one-day seminar that will show you how to plan, write and present your business writing tasks. During this seminar you’ll cover the golden rules of good business writing, common writing mistakes (and how you can avoid them), how to write persuasively and how to structure your reports and proposals.
 
Here’s what past participants say:
"This was a very helpful course and it has helped me be more confident in my writing."
- Sarah Knight

"I enjoyed the interaction with classmates and learned some great writing tips. The presenter is very knowledgeable and has good background experience."
- Amandeep Mankoo

Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





NaNoWriMo – Will you be taking part?
It’s hard to believe another year is coming to an end, and that it’s almost NaNoWriMo time, again! Already we’ve heard from some of our Twitter and Facebook followers who are taking part. Will you be?
 
For those who aren’t familiar with the NaNoWriMo phenomenon, or National Novel Writing Month, it’s an annual event that asks participants to write a 50,000-word novel in just one month. It's a crazy, busy, coffee-fuelled and sleepless spree of creativity!
 
In 2010, 200,000 people joined NaNoWriMo and 30,000 of them reached their 50k word goal. This year, we're hosting a launch event at the Sydney Writers' Centre at 6pm, Friday 28 October. Come along and hear from NaNoWriMo veterans and published authors on how to make the most of the month.

Click here for more information and to watch our interview with Lindsey Grant, the international Program Director for NaNoWrimo.





Writing about interiors, style and design
If you’re someone who appreciates a beautiful bathroom, stops to look at unique buildings, or is constantly on the lookout for new design ideas, then you could be writing for any of Australia’s best-known design and interiors magazines.
 
Home Beautiful, Belle and House & Garden are just a few of the many magazines devoted to design, architecture and interiors. In our two-week industry insight course, Writing for Interiors, Style and Design, you’ll learn all about writing on this fascinating topic.
 
Here’s what past participants say:
"This course was excellent. It's the best short writing course I have been on and wasted no time in presenting the right information for getting your work published."

- Phillip Brook

"Nigel's personal insights were really valuable and interesting. I particularly appreciated that he had asked people he knows in the right positions, such as magazine editors, to provide their dos and don’ts."

- Nicola Duncan
 
Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When
: Wednesdays 26 October & 2 November 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Back to basics – nominalisation
What in the world is nominalisation? It's a fancy word for turning verbs into nouns. You'll often see it in academic writing and it sometimes creeps into business writing. Often, this results in sentences that are unnecessarily wordy or complicated. For example:

A.  Drivers will stop the trains.
B. There will be a stoppage of trains by drivers.
 
A. We discussed the plan.
B. A discussion was had about the plan.

In these examples, the verbs "stop" and "discuss" have been nominalised in version B.
 
Here are some more verbs and their noun forms, or nominalisations:

act action
produce production
advance
advancement
meet
meeting
clever
cleverness
aware
awareness






Did you know? The royal "we"
Queen Elizabeth II is heading to Australia this week for what will probably be her last visit. It reminded me of the royal "we” she so likes to use when giving speeches, especially her Christmas Day broadcasts.
 
Also known as the “pluralis majestatis” or “majestic plural”, the first recorded use of the royal "we” was by King Henry II in 1169. He was under a lot of pressure from his barons due to the latest spat between the church and some European monarchs. Invoking the Divine Right of Kings, he argued that his choices were God’s choices also, and so used “we” rather than “I” when issuing orders.
 
Since then, monarchs, prime ministers, popes, and other dignitaries have used the royal "we” when addressing their subjects. Queen Victoria is thought to have announced “we are not amused” in 1900, and in 1989 then PM Margaret Thatcher announced to the world, “We have become a grandmother.”






Get your picture book published!
We had such a big response to our first Writing Picture Books course that we’ve decided to schedule one more for 2011. Places for this five-week course are filling quickly so get in early!
 
If you want to know what appeals to children and publishers, Writing Picture Books will show you. You’ll learn how to perfect the language and rythmn of your book, how to work with illustrations, and how you go about getting your picture book published.
 
This course is taught by Cathie Tasker. Cathie has edited over 150 children’s picture books, both popular and award-winning titles. She has worked with some of Australia’s greatest picture book creators – Rod Clement, Bruce Whatley, Jackie French, Mem Fox, Bronwyn Bancroft, Cathy Wilcox, Rodney McRae, and many more.
 
Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
When
: Thursdays starting Thursday 10 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online. 






This week’s funny... 
This was emailed to us this week and we just had to share it.








What we’re reading
This week our Course Manager, Danielle Williams, is reading Great House by Nicole Krauss. She writes:

Great House
follows the journey of a writing desk through the narration of four very different people. We start with Nadia, a successful novelist in her mid-50s. Nadia was given the desk by a Chilean poet, who was later kidnapped and murdered by Pinochet’s forces when he returned home. This would be a remarkable enough story for a humble piece of furniture, but the desk plays a vital role in the lives of so many people spread across the globe – the daughter of the poet, an Israeli man grieving for his wife, an antiques collector determined to recover the desk stolen from his father by the Nazis in 1944.

This book is a stunning reflection on the often fragile human state, and how we deal with loss and tragedy. For me, the most intriguing thing about the novel is the constant meditation on writing. Nadia especially seems to struggle with guilt over mining the lives of others’ for inspiration, while neglecting her own life and relationships. Yet she can do nothing else – writing is her purpose.

This is a beautiful book and well deserves the critical praise it’s received. I highly recommend this one.


We want to know what you're reading! You can write a book review for the Writing Bar and we'll feature an excerpt here in the newsletter. If you'd like to submit, check out the review guidelines here





WEBPICK: Fifty-Two Stories
In the world of publishing, short stories have been neglected over the years. Whether it’s a collection of stories by one author or many, short story anthologies haven't always been as popular as they should be. Luckily there are now plenty of websites where those of us who love the more compact form of short stories can get a regular fix.

Fifty-Two Stories is just one of them. Run by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins specialising in contemporary fiction, Fifty-Two Stories started as a project to publish one short story a week for one year. It’s now in its third year and still going strong. You can subscribe to read the stories or submit your own. Some authors have even gone on to score a publishing contract with Harper Perennial – proving the power of a good short story.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 24 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Monday 24 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Wednesday 26 October 2011 and Wednesday 2 November 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 27 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 31 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 31 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 2 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 and Friday 11 November 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Wednesday 9 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 10 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 11 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Intensive Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go
When
: Saturday 12 November and Sunday 13 November 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy – NEW DATE
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 16 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 17 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 18 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Monday 21 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 25 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 28 November 2011 and Monday 5 December 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Course: Weekend Life Writing with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Paris with Patti Miller – FULL
When:
Thursday 20 October to Saturday 5 November 2011

Writing in Bali with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When:
Saturday 21 July to Saturday 28 July 2012



13 October 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011
In this issue:

  • TIP: Know your verbs
  • Presenter success – Congratulations Patti Miller!
  • Get paid for your writing – Online course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing
  • Book giveawayWhere Spirits Dwell by
    Marina Machado
  • TIP: The importance of proofreading
  • What we’re readingThe Secret Goldfish by David Means 
  • WEBPICK: Review in Haiku

It's been a busy week at the Sydney Writers' Centre. I'm loving daylight saving – this place is just gorgeous when you arrive for your courses around sunset. The view of the Harbour Bridge and the water is amazing!

I've been closely watching the world of books for children and young adults. It's a category that has exploded in recent years and I find this heartening because it means that children and teens are reading. In a world where they could be fixated on Playstation, there is hope!

Of course, this means there is opportunity for writers as well, which is why I love our course Writing Books for Children and Young Adults. This course is taught by the amazing Judith Ridge who is one of Australia's leading experts in children's writing. I learn something new about this category from Judith every time I speak to her. She's an endless supply of information and advice.

If you're interested in writing books for children and young adults, this 5-week course covers:

  • how to get started
  • finding the right voice
  • creating characters and stories young readers will enjoy
  • how to write believable dialogue
  • how to structure a story that works
  • the secrets to plotting for different age groups
  • what you need to know about getting into the children’s publishing market
  • and MUCH more

Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 18 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Back to basics – know your verbs
We all know verbs are the action or doing words, but there are distinctions between verbs themselves. What's the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs?

We say a verb is transitive when the action happens to a receiver, or the direct object. For example:

Little doggie Rambo ate his dinner.

Verbs are intransitive when the action stays with the verb, or is not received. For example:

The storm broke.

She writes.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Our new editing and proofreading service is now available for any fiction, non-fiction or business documents. Click here for more information.

  • Filling fast: Creative Writing Stage 1 Weekend Intensive, Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 October – only 3 places left! 

  • Congratulations to Naomi Brick who won our Maggie Stiefvater book pack. The books are on their way, Naomi! 





Congratulations Patti Miller
We received some very exciting news from one of our presenters this week. Life Writing guru Patti Miller has just secured a publishing deal for her sixth book, The Mind of a Thief. Patti received offers from four different publishers for her latest book, a narrative non-fiction, and it will be published by UQP in 2012.

Congratulations Patti! We can’t wait to read the book.




Get paid for your writing!
It’s easier to learn from home than you might think. Our online courses have given hundreds of students from all over the world the chance to complete our most popular courses, including Online Magazine and Newspaper Writing. In fact, many have gone on to be published in major newspapers and magazines!

The online course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing will show you how to write a great feature article and get it published. You’ll learn about what editors want, how to develop story ideas, and how to sell those ideas to editors. And you can do all this through our virtual classroom from wherever you are in the world!

Here’s what past participants say:
"I live in Perth and have small children, so the fact that I could do it at night when my children were asleep was great. I enjoyed the course tremendously!"
- Sandy Taylor

"It was easy and convenient. The best thing was that I could do it anytime and in bits and pieces. But also because of the weekly responses from Sue directed at our indivdual questions. I felt like I was part of the group."
- Natasha Devalia

ONLINE COURSE: Magazine and Newspaper Writing with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 17 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Queen of Crime Awards
Want to put your crime writing skills to the test? The annual Queen of Crime Awards is on again and crime queens are invited to enter stories of up to 5,000 words.

First prize is $750 and there are also cash prizes on offer for second and third place-getters. Entries will be judged by Beverley Cousins, a fiction publisher at Random House Australia.

Each entry costs $10 (or $5 for Partners in Crime members) and the deadline is Friday 28 October 2011. For more details or to check previous winners visit the Partners in Crime website.





More apostrophe abuse
We hope this is just an unfortunate typo.



Surely they know you don’t need an apostrophe to create a plural!





Boost your business profile
Free publicity for your business? Yes, it is possible. Setting up an effective PR strategy and knowing the essentials of writing a good media release will give your business the edge when it comes to free media coverage.

Our one-day seminar, PR and Media Releases that Get Results, will show you the elements of a great PR strategy and how you can develop your own. You’ll cover media releases and how to write them, useful online tactics for PR, how to deal with journalists, and much more.

This seminar is perfect for business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals looking to improve their PR and marketing skills, or anyone who is new to PR.

Here’s what past participants say:
"I really enjoyed how engaging the course was. Catriona was fantastic. She encouraged everyone to participate in discussion, and gave great real-life examples for everything that was taught."
- Clara Ho

"Amazing and invaluable insights into the industry, and really hands-on advice. My new knowledge has given me a better grasp of what I do everyday and helps me see smaller tasks in relation to the bigger picture."
- Annie Vaughan

This seminar is taught by Catriona Pollard. Catriona is director of CP Communications and has 17 years experience in developing and managing public relations and marketing programs.

PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 27 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Book giveaway
If you’re one of those people who loves reading spooky stories (preferably right before bed, on a rainy night, while alone in the house) then you’ll love this week’s book giveaway. We recently spoke to Karina Machado, author of the wonderfully creepy Where Spirits Dwell. You can watch the full interview here.  

This collection of true stories about some of Australia’s most haunted houses will surprise and terrify you. You won’t believe how common hauntings actually are!

We have two copies of Where Spirits Dwell to give away. If you’d like to win one tell us your spookiest true story. Email your answers to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm Friday 21 October 2011.





TIP: The importance of proofreading 
This poster was spotted at Auckland airport:



Look what happens when you have two random thoughts merging into one. We think they might have meant "Send us your comments and be in it to win it" OR "Send us your comments to win an Apple iPod Touch 64GB." But somehow the message got garbled along the way.

It goes to show the importance of proofreading – especially on a huge poster in a prominent location. If anyone in your team needs help in this area check out our Perfect Your Proofreading seminar.






Get your story right
Structure is what holds your story together. You may have great characters, a witty voice and the perfect setting, but if you don’t get the structure right, your story can get stuck. For many writers, structure is the most difficult thing to get right.

Our two-week course, Your Story Structure, will help you understand structure and find the shape of the story. You’ll learn about classical narrative and how to apply it to your writing, look at how to find and maintain conflict, explore the hero’s journey and mythic quest, and much more.

This course always fills early so don’t wait to enrol. This will be your last chance to do the course in 2011.

Here’s what past participants say:
"Kathryn has an excellent personality for the task. She delivers the course with jam packed enthusiasm."
- Elizabeth Petrovich

"Kathryn is so encouraging. She has such good energy and love for what she does and you can see it, which makes it enjoyable for everyone. She has passion for writing and allows everyone to show theirs too."
- Chantelle Ravenswood

This course is presented by Dr Kathryn Heyman, the author of four novels, all published internationally and in translation. She's been nominated for the Edinburgh Fringe Critics Awards, the Orange Prize, Scottish Writer of the Year Award, the Kibble Prize, the West Australian Premiers Prize.

Your Story Structure with Dr Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 4 & 11 November 2011 (two morning classes)
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: $250

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





What we’re reading
This week our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading The Secret Goldfish by David Means. She writes:

The Secret Goldfish
by David Means is a collection of extremely powerful short stories. I don't read a lot of short stories because I much prefer the longer form, but when Jonathan Franzen recommended Means's writing at the Melbourne Writers Festival, I couldn't wait to read it.

Franzen was right when he said they were very intense. The stories focus on difficult characters, dark themes, and include a fair amount of violence. But Means's stories perfectly capture those hard-to-describe moments, where there are multiple intentions and emotions coursing through his characters. Each story in the collection is a masterful example of short form fiction. You're drawn in immediately, and you hunger for more story when they end, but each tale is a richly rewarding experience.

I got hooked and read them all in an evening, but I recommend people read them slowly, and let each story swim around alone in your mind for at least a day to get the most out of this stunning collection.


We want to know what you're reading! You can write a book review for the Writing Bar and we'll feature an excerpt here in the newsletter. If you'd like to submit, check out the review guidelines here





WEBPICK: Review in Haiku
The tagline for this website is, “Review in haiku. Brevity in film review. Everyone happy.” And that pretty much sums it up. Film reviews in haiku format and the writer’s own rating of good, okay or bad. Those films that can’t be so easily rated may score a great.

This reviewer watches a lot of films, so that may explain the need to write reviews in haiku. Very handy if you want quick advice on what to see next at the movies.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 13 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale
When
: Saturday 15 October and Sunday 16 October 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 17 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 17 October to Friday 21 October 2011 (5 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 17 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 18 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Successful Freelancing with Gayle Bryant and Valerie Khoo
When
: Wednesday 19 October 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 20 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 24 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Monday 24 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Wednesday 26 October 2011 and Wednesday 2 November 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 27 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 31 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 2 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 and Friday 11 November 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 9 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 10 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 11 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Intensive Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go
When
: Saturday 12 November and Sunday 13 November 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 17 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 18 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Monday 21 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 25 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 28 November 2011 and Monday 5 December 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Course: Weekend Life Writing with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Paris with Patti Miller – FULL
When:
Thursday 20 October to Saturday 5 November 2011

Writing in Bali with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When:
Saturday 21 July to Saturday 28 July 2012



6 October 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011
Dear {tag_recipientfirstname},

In this issue:
  • Graffito is singular of graffiti
  • Creative Writing courses starting soon
  • Writing books for children and young adults
  • Why are markets bullish or bearish?
  • Turn your travels into a memoir 
  • What we’re readingAn Iliad by Alessandro Baricco 
  • WEBPICK: “Unnecessary” quotation marks

By the time this reaches your inbox, I will be in Melbourne with some of our presenters for our Melbourne Spring Writers’ Carnival. If you’re here come say hi!

In the meantime, I’ve been getting a lot of queries from corporate types who are stressing out about the quality of written communication from their team members. Once upon a time, the tone of writing in the workplace used to be stuffy and formal. These days, it’s less pretentious – but there are still rules to follow if you want to write clearly and concisely.

As a journalist, I’m constantly amazed at the emails, media releases and documents I receive from corporates that barely make sense!

This is because there is hardly any training in the workplace on business writing – and yet it’s something we do almost every day. In our recent survey, we discovered that 57.5% of people believe that if they were given writing training at work, their productivity would increase between 10% to 40%. Up to 40%!

That’s why I’m so pleased about our one-day seminar Professional Business Writing. I created this course myself and it’s a logical step-by-step framework that takes the guesswork out of business writing.

It covers:

  • 5 essential steps to plan your document
  • How to determine what you MUST write about (and what to leave out)
  • The 11 Golden Rules of business writing
  • Business writing DON'Ts
  • Common writing mistakes (and how to avoid them)
  • How to structure reports and proposals
  • Fundamentals of persuasive writing
  • How to gain the reader's attention
  • Style guides – how to use them and how to create one
  • How to revise, edit and present your documents
  • and MUCH more.

Professional Business Writing
with Sue White

When: Tuesday 11 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am 5.00pm
Cost: $450


Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Did you know: Graffito is singular and Graffiti is plural?
Next time to see graffiti on a wall, you can be the one who asks everyone what the singular form of the word is. And in case you want to continue your word quiz, here are some other singular/plural words that some people get confused.

Here are some others:

Plural Singular
bacteria
bacterium
dice  die
data  datum
media
medium
opera  opus
paparazzi  paparazzo






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre





Be inspired – creative writing courses starting soon
If the warmer weather is making you feel inspired perhaps it’s time you took a creative writing course? We’ve added plenty of options to our schedule for our most popular course, Creative Writing Stage 1, so you can choose to do it on the weekend, during the week, or over five days.
 
Creative Writing Stage 1 is ideal whether you’re a complete novice or you’ve been working on some stories and want to be sure you’re on the right track. Learning from some of Australia’s best writing teachers (and all published authors as well), you’ll discover how to write compelling fiction – and perhaps make a start on that novel you’ve always had in you!
 
Here’s what past participants say:
“I enjoyed learning about the principles of writing, and learning how to edit writing to make it better. The presenter was excellent. She was very passionate about the craft, and communicated very clearly and effectively in an engaging way. Very encouraging. Highly recommended. This course will assist you in finding motivation, and provide practical advice.”
- Peter Damalas

"I always thought I had a very poor imaginiation and I have always been stuck for story ideas. But this course showed me how to get past that and where to look inside myself for inspiration."
- Catherine Hawthorne
 
WEEKEND INTENSIVE Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale
When
: Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 October 2011 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395
 
DAYTIME INTENSIVE Creative Writing Stage 1 with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 17 to Friday 21 October 2011 (five consecutive mornings)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395
 
Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Mondays starting Monday 17 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Back to basics – conjunctions
Conjunctions are the words that join other words, phrases or clauses. There are three types of conjunctions – coordinating (or simple), correlative and subordinate.
 
Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases or clauses of equal rank.
For example:

We like cupcakes and rocky road.
There were no more cupcakes so we ate the rocky road.

Coordinating conjunctions
can be remembered with the mnemonic FANBOYS:

for,
and,
nor,
but,
or,
yet,
so.


Correlative conjunctions perform the same function, but are always in pairs: either-or, neither-nor, both-and, not only-but also, and whether-or. For example:

Either Rambo or Dougal must have made the mess.

Subordinate conjunctions
join dependent clauses to independent clauses and emphasise one idea (or clause) as more important than the other. Some of the more common ones are after, although, as, as if, because, before, if, since, so that, than, unless, until, when, where, and while. For example:

We didn’t go out because it was raining.
 
OR
 
Because it was raining, we didn’t go out.





Writing books for Children and Young Adults
If there’s one area in the publishing industry that has boomed in recent years, it’s been in books for children and young adults. Think about it. Twilight. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And our very own former students: Mitch Lewis with his Little Red Ute series and Jessica Shirvington with The Violet Eden Chapters (Embrace, Enticed and, soon, Emblaze)

If you’ve thought of writing books for this market, you should do our Writing Books for Children and Young Adults course. You may know how to write, but are you aware of the nuances and unwritten rules of the children’s and young adult market?

You’ll discover:

  • how to get started
  • finding the right voice
  • creating characters and stories young readers will enjoy
  • how to write believable dialogue
  • common assumptions about writing for children and about young readers
  • how to structure a story that works
  • the secrets to plotting for different age groups
  • what you need to know about getting into the children’s publishing market
  • and MUCH more.

Here’s what past participants say:
"I loved the course and truly Judith is a brilliant and enthusiastic teacher. She is passionate about children's books and such a huge knowledge of all the different age groups so that she could be speaking of book of verse for four-year-olds and switch to 15-year-old teenage writing with ease as she knew her subject matter. So thank you for your help and advice and thank you to Judith too."
- Robyn Elliott

"I have heaps of information now to help me in my work. The class has given me an excellent sense of direction, it was fantastic."
- Liam O'Leary


Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 18 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: What’s wrong with this picture?
We spotted this sign recently in an electronics store.



Apart from the dubious spelling of “terrific” (at least, we assume that’s what it’s meant to say), the apostrophe is facing the wrong way. If they really must spell it this way, it should read: ’RIFFIC.






Wordwise: Why are markets bullish or bearish? 
We’ve seen a lot in the news lately about the dire economic situation in Europe and America, and the volatile movements on the stock market. It’s had me wondering about the financial terms "bull" and "bear". Where do they come from?

In stockmarket parlance, a "bear" sells shares, often when the market news is not so good and share prices are heading down. A "bull" buys shares, and this usually indicates optimism about the direction of the market. One long held theory is that the terms come from the English banks, Bulteels and Barings, but the terms have actually been around a lot longer than those two banks.

Early examples described share sellers as bear-skin jobbers, borrowed from a French proverb meaning "don’t sell the bear’s skin before you’ve killed him". These bear-skin jobbers sold shares they didn’t own, in the hope the price of those shares would fall and they’d then be able to buy them back cheaply. It’s thought the bull was invented as an alliterative alternative, to describe the "long" sellers.






Turn your travels into a memoir
Publishers and readers love travel memoir. The world may be shrinking but this genre is growing in popularity every day thanks to authors like Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, and of course Elizabeth Gilbert.

Travel Memoir takes a different set of skills to writing travel feature articles. You need to be able to turn your experiences into a compelling story that will grip readers from the first page. Whether you’re yet to take that trip of a lifetime, or you have travel journals from past holidays you’d like to turn into a memoir, the Travel Memoir course with Claire Scobie will show you how!

Here’s what past participants say:
"Claire is a phenomenal presenter with a wealth of writing technique knowledge and practical experience. She lives and breathes writing and it comes through as a passion that embraces and motivates her students."
- Penny Cannan

"Claire provides much insight into the nature and diversity of travel writing, as well as giving us techniques to develop our writing. I really enjoyed the challenges of this course."
- Mary Hickson

Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 12 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What we’re reading
This week our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading An Iliad by Alessandro Baricco. She writes:

An Iliad
by Alessandro Baricco is a stunning book. Taking the story of the battle for Troy from Homer's classic, Baricco shares the narrative in 12 parts, from 12 distinct personalities. The range and closer focus that the voices add to the story make the classic story much more moving and intimate than the original is for modern readers. Baricco breathes an even more tumultuous and rapid momentum into the war epic, but also presents the human side much more poignantly than any adaptation of the story I've read so far.

Both in his note on the text, and in the writing itself he tackles the idea of the beauty and glory of war, reflecting on the fact that our era is a time of war and that another world is possible. Drawing on hints in the original text in the voices of the female characters, he paints a quiet subplot of a peaceful alternative ignored by young leaders in love with the idea of action.

While there is inevitably a lot about hacking people to death, popping people's eyeballs out and rivers of blood, Baricco breathes new life into the well-known tale. It's an inspiring and thought provoking read.


We want to know what you're reading! You can write a book review for the Writing Bar and we'll feature an excerpt here in the newsletter. If you'd like to submit, check out the review guidelines here





WEBPICK: “Unnecessary” quotation marks
If you're anything like us, misplaced apostrophes or quote marks is photographed, circulated around the office and lamented. Or laughed at. There is something undeniably funny about normal phrases marred by incorrect quote marks.

Unnecessary Quote Marks is all about misused quote marks, and there are plenty of amusing, confusing and bizarre uses of quote marks.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – FULL
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 6 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 6 October 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Friday 7 October 2011 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller – MELBOURNE COURSE – FULL
When:
Saturday 8 October and Sunday 9 October 2011 (two-day course)
Time: 10.00am 4.00pm
Cost: $450

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 10 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 10 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman – FULL
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 11 October 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Tuesday 11 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 12 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 12 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 13 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale
When
: Saturday 15 October and Sunday 16 October 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Intensive Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Saturday 15 October and Sunday 16 October 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 17 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 17 October to Friday 21 October 2011 (5 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am 12noon
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 17 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 18 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Successful Freelancing with Gayle Bryant and Valerie Khoo
When
: Wednesday 19 October 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 20 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Monday 24 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Wednesday 26 October 2011 and Wednesday 2 November 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 27 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 31 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 2 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 4 November 2011 and Friday 11 November 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 10 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Intensive Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 12 November and Sunday 13 November 2011 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 15 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 17 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 18 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Monday 21 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 25 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 28 November 2011 and Monday 5 December 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Course: Weekend Life Writing with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am 4.00pm
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Paris with Patti Miller – FULL
When:
Thursday 20 October to Saturday 5 November 2011

Writing in Bali with Patti Miller – NEW DATE
When:
Saturday 21 July to Saturday 28 July 2012



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