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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.

31 March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011
We meet Lonely Planet’s Tony Wheeler; Is “up and Adam” correct?


In this issue:
  • We meet uber-travel writer Tony Wheeler,
    co-founder of Lonely Planet
  • TIP: Pluralising tricky surnames
  • A weekend of Travel Writing
  • Lucked out” - is this good or bad?
  • Enter our Photo Caption Competition
  • Check out this punctuation mistake!
  • TIP: Up and at ’em

This morning, I had the pleasure of chatting to fascinating author, publisher and entrepreneur, Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet (pictured with me right). It was great to get an insight into how he evolved Lonely Planet from a series of printed books, to embracing the internet, iphone apps and even television. This is the new world of publishing. Stay tuned to our blog where I’ll report on our hour-long chat. Meanwhile, if you want to live a life like Tony’s - he recently flew in from Zimbabwe - check out our Travel Writing course.

Yesterday, I went to a networking lunch and I was amazed at the number of people who came up to me to find out more about writing books for children. This is clearly a very popular genre and judging by the number of kids’ books my friends buy every week, there’s certainly no shortage of demand!

If you want to write books for children or young adults, it’s important to understand the children’s market. And that’s what we unpack for you in our 5-week course Writing Books for Children and Young Adults.

You'll learn:

  • details about what publishers are looking for
  • what other successful children's/young adult writers do to turn their novels into best-sellers
  • the steps you need to take to write your own children’s book
  • and much more.

Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Pluralising tricky surnames
Sometimes you need to pluralise surnames. Let’s say you live next door to a family of eight with the last name Jones or Ramirez.

RIGHT
The Joneses
The Ramirezes
WRONG
The Jones’s
The Ramirez’s

When you pluralise, you basically stick “es” at the end of the word. Using an apostrophe is wrong in this case.

Other tricky surnames are those that end in “y”, like Dennehy or Kennedy or Moody. While you may be tempted to change the ending to “ies”, this is wrong. You should simply add an “s”.

RIGHT
The Dennehys
The Kennedys
The Moodys
WRONG
The Dennehies
The Kennedies
The Moodies






A weekend of Travel Writing
Few of us can say we don't love travel. To travel is to experience so much - new sights, new sounds, new people. And for writers, new inspiration! Many people dream of writing travel features for their favourite magazines or newspapers, and it is possible. Sure, it's a competitive industry, but with the right strategies and tools, you can confidently pitch your articles to editors, and get paid to travel.
 
Over just one weekend, you can learn the tools of travel writing with Sue White, a prolific travel writer who has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue Australia, Travel + Leisure (Australia), Sun Herald Travel, Vogue Entertaining + Travel, CNN Traveller and various ABC outlets. Sue’s practical advice will help you turn your dream trip into a writing career.
 
Here's what some recent participants had to say about the course:
"As always having an experienced/successful 'real-life' writer makes all the difference (may seem obvious but I have been on courses where tutors have been want-to-be vs actual writers!) The focus on the 'business' of travel writing was great. Sue was great - I loved her relaxed style and openness to questions. She had loads of practical examples that brought things to life."
- Christa McDermott
 
"Inspirational & motivational - I've been given confidence that I can be a travel writer. Sue is a very experienced feature and travel writer and willing to share her experience and strategies. The Sydney Writers' Centre … has a very 'hands-on' and practical approach, and is very professional. It's great to be taught by professional writers who are actively engaged in the industry."
- Coral Cooksley

Weekend Intensive Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 April 2011 (two-day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information and to enrol online.
 
Want to take your travel writing further? Our first Travel Writing in Italy trip will be held in September with Sue White. Click here for more information and to download an itinerary.





Alan Marshall Short Story Award
One of Australia's most well-known short story competitions is now open for entries. The Alan Marshall Short Story Award is open to all Australian writers, in honour of the author of many books including I Can Jump Puddles.

There are three categories in the award:

  • The Open Section is for stories up to 2,500 words long by any writer living in Australia. First prize is $2,000 and second prize $1,000.
  • The Young Writers section is open to writers aged 15 to 19 years old and is for stories up to 1,000 words long. First prize is $400.
  • There will also be a Local Writers' Award, with a prize of $1,000 for a writer who lives in the Shire of Nillumbik.

Entries close at 4pm on Tuesday 10 May 2011.
Click here for more information, an entry form, or to read past winners.






Student Success
We received some exciting news this week from Candice Laidlaw who completed the online course in Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White in January. Candice has just had an article accepted by Good Reading magazine! Here's what she emailed to Sue:
 
My pitch was accepted! ‘The Whispering in New York City’ story will be published in the September issue of the Good Reading magazine. I hope you can see from all the exclamation marks how excited I am!
 
Thank you for your guidance and proofreading skills. Your feedback really helped me nail this pitch ... I'd love to have the opportunity to study under you again. Thank you for helping me to realise my dreams.

 
Congratulations Candice! We can't wait to read your article.
 
If you'd like to see your writing published in your favourite magazine, and even get paid for it, our next Online Course in Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers will show you how. You'll learn how to write great articles, how to analyse publications, and how to make editors notice you.
 
Here's what some recent participants thought of the course:
"I loved being able to take the class whenever I wanted to from home, and the simple step-by-step process of the course. I learned lots, and feel more confident about my writing."
- Holly Lander
 
"The structure of the sessions gave a good progression through the structure, research and writing of a feature article. Sue's presentations were clear and easily understood. I especially appreciated the value in the feedback she gave on my assignments. I work and doing the course online gave me lots of flexibility but it also felt as though I was part of a group."
- Nanette Irvine
 
Online course: Feature Writing in Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Facebook Photo Caption Competition
The Facebook Photo Caption Comp is back! In April, we’re celebrating our international writing program in Bali, so your challenge is to write a photo caption with the word "island" in it. The photo can be of anything you like, as long as you include the word "island" in the caption. You can be as creative as you like with this one!

You can post your entry on our Facebook page or email it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au. The most creative entry as voted by the Sydney Writers’ Centre team will win a $100 voucher to be used on any 5-week or one-day course.

Entries close 5pm Friday 22 April 2011.





What we're reading
This week our course manager, Danielle Williams, is reading The Book of Rachael by Leslie Cannold.

Leslie Cannold is considered one of Australia's leading intellectuals, and she has recently been announced Humanist of the Year by the International Humanist and Ethical Union. So it's no surprise that her first novel, The Book of Rachael, tackles some big themes, like equality and feminism.

The novel is a re-imagining of the story of Jesus, told from the perspective of his younger sister, Rachael, a woman blessed with a photographic memory and an intellect rarely acknowledged (and certainly never encouraged) in women of that time.

The Book of Rachael is a remarkable book. Combining all the emotion of a tragic love story with an epic historical novel, it has obviously been painstakingly researched. It’s a fascinating snapshot of daily life in Jesus’s time, as well as a history of the tribes of this area (modern day Jordan and Israel).

For anyone familiar with the Bible, this is a refreshing and startling take on one of history’s most enduring stories.

We want to know what you’re reading! If you’d like to submit a short book review (no more than 200 words) send it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au and we’ll consider it for publication in our newsletter or blog.





“Lucked out” - is this good or bad?
When you “luck out” of something, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it depends on what country you’re in. In Australia and Britain, this typically means something bad.

For example:
“I lucked out on my flight back from New York. My seat was broken and they ran out of food.”

However, in the US, it means the opposite. It means you’ve gotten lucky.

For example:
“I lucked out on my flight back from New York. They upgraded me to first class and no one sat next to me!”





Why punctuation is important
Here's why punctuation is so important:



If you want to avoid making mistakes like this, you need to know the rules of grammar and punctuation. Didn't learn them at school? Well, you're not alone. Many Australian students in the last few decades weren't taught these important skills. That's why we developed the one-day Grammar and Punctuation Essentials seminar with Deb Doyle. In just one day, you'll learn the basic rules that will enhance your writing, and your confidence.
 
Here's what some recent participants had to say about the seminar:
"This is a great course. Don't miss out."
- David Ngo
 
"The structure was excellent, the material was excellent. Overall, a great course that I attended. Deb is a talented presenter who listens and answers questions from the audience. She ensures that the audience understand the topic and solves their queries."
- Pankaj Mankani
 
This seminar is taught by Deb Doyle, an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor. Deb has conducted courses for the Productivity Commission, AMP and Wizard Home Loans as well as many other corporate and government entities located in Sydney and Melbourne. Deb's courses are interactive and fun. You'll be amazed at how engaging and interesting a workshop in grammar and punctuation can be.
 
Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 8 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Up and at ’em!
Be careful when using the term “up and at ’em”. Believe it or not, I have seen it written as “up and Adam”, which of course, makes no sense.

The phrase means to get going or get busy, as in: "Up and at em, there's a lot of work to be done." It’s a shortened form of “up and at them”, and definitely shouldn’t be written as “up and Adam” or “up and atom”.

Incidentally, the phrase was made popular in the 1960s by a crime-fighting cartoon ant, Atom Ant. His catchphrase was "Up and at em, Atom Ant!" and he would shout this as he flew off on each daring mission, every one showing up the (two) local police as incompetent and inept.






WEBPICK: Literary Minded
Our Best Australian Blogs 2011 Competition has not only attracted over 200 entries, it’s also bought together some of Australia’s best bloggers as judges. One of them, Angela Meyer, will be judging the Words category, so we thought we’d remind you about her blog, Literary Minded.

Literary Minded has been going for four years, two of those on Crikey’s blog network. In that time, Angela has established the blog as the place to go for book reviews and literary news. There are also posts on her latest project - 20 classics in 2011, as well as plenty of guest book reviews and news from writers’ festivals around Australia.

Toni Jordan, author of Addition and Fall Girl, describes Literary Minded as “an essential part of my morning procrastination ritual”. We think it should part of yours too!

Check it out here








Other upcoming courses
Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 1 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 4 April 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 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 8 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When: Saturday 9 April 2011 and Sunday 10 April 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 11 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April 2011 - Friday 15 April 2011 (5 days in a row)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 12 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 12 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 13 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Thursday 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson
When
: Tuesday 19 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 21 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 21 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursday 28 April 2011 and Thursday 5 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona Pollard – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 5 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Course: Daytime Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 11 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine Writing Stage 2 with Gayle Bryant
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 18 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 19 May 2011 and Thursday 26 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 16 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett – NEW DATE
When:
Wednesday 22 June 2011 and Wednesday 29 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2011

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

Travel Writing in Italy with Sue White
When
: Friday 16 September to Friday 30 September 2011



24 March 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Enrolment or enrollment?
  • Getting paid for your travels
  • Text Publishing Prize for unpublished manuscripts
  • Book giveaway Bright and Distant Shores by Dominic Smith
  • TIP: Pique, peek or peak
  • WEBPICK: The Screenwrightist

As you read this I'll be flying back home from New York City. As you know, I love books and writing so one of the best things about this trip was staying in The Library Hotel (pictured right), within a stone's throw of the beautiful and grand New York Public Library (where Carrie got jilted at the altar in S*x and the City). Each floor of this hotel is dedicated to a different category of the Dewey Decimal System. And each room within each floor has its own sub-category. I stayed in the "Law" room, which had its own mini-library of law-related books and law-related artwork on the walls.
 
The hotel has beautiful little havens such as the Reading Room (complete with grand piano and evening glasses of prosecco), the Writers' Den and the Poetry Garden. You can check out a little video here.
 
Another reason I love travelling is that I also get to write about my travels. I've already filed a couple of stories with more on the way. This is a great way to fund your trip – and get paid to travel. If you'd like to explore the world of Travel Writing, you'll discover how in our five-week course. And if you can't make it in the evenings, we have an intensive weekend workshop for you too.
 
This practical, information-packed course will teach you about the types of stories editors are looking for, how to structure your travel writing features, the realities of life on the road and much more.

Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Enrolment or enrollment?
Since I've spent the last two weeks in the US, I've been resisting the temptation to correct the spelling of certain words when I see them in magazines or on billboards. Of course, these words aren't actually spelt wrong in America! The trouble is that we are increasingly seeing these US English spellings in Australia. Despite Microsoft Word's function to use the British/Australian English spellcheck, some US words creep in. We all know that it's:
travelling (Australia)

not

traveling (US)

But I'm also frequently seeing the following words sneak into the Australian vernacular:
installment (US)
enrollment (US)

Instead of:

instalment (Australia)

enrolment (Australia)





What’s new this week at the Centre:






Unleash your creativity!
Do you just want to do something different? Many of us find ourselves in a writing rut at some stage. Whether we’re writing fiction or writing reports at work, maintaining the creative flow is not always easy. There’s a popular notion that you must be born with creativity, that it’s a talent only a few of us are blessed with. But it is possible to unleash your own creativity – even when you’re not feeling very creative!
 
Boost your Creativity is a two-week course that can help you break through those creative barriers and reinvigorate your writing. Even if you know the essential elements of good writing, the key to continuing your journey is motivation – and unleashing your creativity.
 
Laurine has published three fiction titles for University of Queensland Press, two novels for Pan Macmillan, and school readers for Macmillan Education. Her latest book, iHarry, is being released in May 2011 by Penguin.
 
Boost your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When
: Mondays 28 March & 4 April 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





News from our presenters
We often hear from former students who’ve had publishing success since doing our courses, but this week two of our presenters have had their own success!
 
James Roy, one of our creative writing presenters, has been shortlisted in the German Youth Literature Prize. The German edition of his book, Town, is one of six shortlisted books in the young adult section.
 
Congratulations James! And good luck – we can’t wait to hear the final result.
 
We also heard from feature and travel writing presenter, Sue White, who has launched her first four e-books on Amazon. Three of the books are part of her ‘7 Steps’ series – 7 Steps to: Boosting Your Career, 7 Steps To: Balancing Work and Play, and 7 Steps To: A Healthier You. She has also published a World Yoga Festivals Guide for 2011.

Congratulations Sue!






Text Prize for unpublished manuscripts
The Text Publishing Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing has been launched! Publishers at Text are looking for outstanding unpublished manuscripts from writers of any age, in fiction or non-fiction. The winning manuscript will be published by Text and the author awarded a $10,000 advance against royalties.
 
But don’t send your entry yet! Manuscripts will be accepted between Monday 2 May and Friday 3 June 2011. You must send an entry form with your submission and these can be downloaded here, along with more information on the competition and previous winners.





Write for young adults and get published
Another Australian publisher is currently looking for manuscripts for their children’s books catalogue – Hachette Australia is now accepting unsolicited manuscripts for young adult readers aged 13 and over. You can find all the details on their website.
 
With so many great opportunities coming up for budding kids’ book authors in Australia, why not explore the world of children’s fiction with us? If you’ve ever wondered if you could write the next Twilight or Harry Potter but have never been sure where to start, our Writing Books for Young Adults and Children course will show you the way!
 
We have courses happening here in Milsons Point and also online – so you can join us from wherever you are.
 
Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the course:
"The most enjoyable thing about the course was Judith's passion and knowledge. I also enjoyed listening to what the other participants had written. If you are interested in writing, the Sydney Writers' Centre is the best place to start, not only children's books but any books."
- David Frazer

"The course material was excellent, and the number of people in the class was just right. Judith was fantastic. I appreciated her honest and professional feedback. The venue is excellent with great views, and the course itself is interesting and value for money!"
- Catherine Hong
 
This course is taught by Judith Ridge. She is well-known in Australia and internationally for her expertise in writing for children. Judith has worked with the Children's Book Council, as an editor at ABC Children's Books and the NSW School Magazine and freelances as an editor for Random House. Judith edited Handle with Care: Making Friends with Animals by Paul McGreevy – one of Halstead Press' all-time top sellers. She has also edited Piccolo and Annabelle 4: The Steamer Demons by Stephen Axelsen (Random House) and numerous books for ABC Books.
 
Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Judith Ridge
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
ONLINE Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Week beginning Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Book Giveaway
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Texan-based Australian author, Dominic Smith, for our podcast series. You can listen to the full podcast or read the transcript here.
 
Dominic’s latest novel is Bright and Distant Shores and we have one copy of the book to give away. Here's a bit more about the book:
 
Chicago First Equitable has won the race to construct the world’s tallest building and its resident, Hale Gray, hits upon a surefire way to make it an enduring landmark: to establish on the roof an exhibition of real-life ‘savages’. He sponsors a South Seas voyage to collect not only weaponry and artefacts, but also ‘several natives related by blood’ for the company’s rooftop spectacle. Caught up in this scheme are two orphans: Owen Graves, the voyage’s head trader from Chicago’s South Side, and Argus Niu, a mission houseboy in Melanesia – two young men haunted by their pasts.
 
If you’d like to win our copy of Bright and Distant Shores just tell us what period in history you’d like to write about and why. Email your answers to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm Thursday 31 March 2011, and remember to include your postal address (so we can send you the book if you win).
 
Congratulations to Rita H, who won our last book giveaway – a copy of Pamela Freeman’s Ember & Ash.






TIP: How to pique
Here's another word I've often seen used incorrectly. Which is correct?
The strange email he received piqued his interest.

The strange email he received peeked his interest.

The strange email he received peaked his interest.
I've frequently seen the word "peaked" used above. However, the correct word is "piqued", which comes from the French word "piquer" meaning "to irritate".






Build your business blog
There are now endless opportunities for online marketing for your business. Everything from Twitter to Facebook to your website can be harnessed to increase your online profile and bring you more customers.
 
Blogging is also an increasingly popular way to keep your customers informed and is also a great way to engage a new audience. Just ask the entrants in the business blogging category of the Best Australian Blogs Competition!
 
If you want to explore how a blog could build your business, or if you’re already blogging at work and want to refine your blog posts, join us for the one-day seminar, Blogging for Business. In one day you’ll learn the terminology of blogging, how to make your blog stand out from the crowd, and how to build and maintain your audience.
 
Here’s what previous participants had to say about the seminar:
"Fantastic presenter. Great anecdotes and information. Very funny and intelligent."
- Nicole Miller

"Perfect pace to learn and be stimulated – great presenter and teacher. Dragged me out of the dark ages of social networking knowledge to be talking the talk!"
- Sally Berry
 
Steven Lewis has consulted on blogging, podcasting and other Web 2.0 tools for companies such as Westpac and IAG. For Tourism Tasmania he created a ground-breaking series of travel podcasts, with similar projects in the works for companies like V Australia and Time Out. Steven has also promoted blogs, wikis and podcasts as a corporate insider, having worked for AMP as an in-house evangelist for its enterprise 2.0 tools.
 
Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 1 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What we’re reading:
This week Valerie Khoo is reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Continuing with the New York theme, I decided to re-read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, which I first read 20 years ago! First published in 1943, it focuses on architect Howard Roark who has idealistic visions for the buildings he wants to create and heads to New York to pursue his architectural ambitions. It's a long book – and a lot happens in it – so I won't even try to summarise the plot. Many people say that Roark's struggle represents the triumph of individualism over collectivism.

The book (which was made into a film starring Gary Cooper in 1949) polarises opinion. Some find the book truly inspirational, as an incredible story of the human spirit eschewing mediocrity. However, others disagree with Rand's undisguised politics: where capitalism and free markets reign. Regardless of the politics, The Fountainhead is a great read. It kept me riveted 20 years ago, and it's doing the same today.
 
We want to know what you’re reading! If you’d like to submit a short book review (no more than 200 words) send it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au and we’ll consider it for publication in our newsletter or blog.






WEBPICK: The Screenwrightist
Many writer/bloggers devote their blogs to short-story or fiction writers, but here’s one that also focuses on writing for the screen.

The writer of The Screenwrightist, Kim Peres, writes screenplays, plays and novels and combines her love of all three here.

More than just writing tips, there’s a lot of technical information here that writers in all three areas would benefit from. Recent posts include musings on how films are more accurate than novels, why writers shouldn’t overuse adjectives and adverbs, and the importance of learning story structure.

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 24 March 2011 and Thursday 31 March 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

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

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Monday 28 March 2011 and Monday 4 April 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 28 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – FULL
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 1 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 4 April 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 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 8 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When: Saturday 9 April 2011 and Sunday 10 April 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April 2011 - Friday 15 April 2011 (5 days in a row)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 12 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 12 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 13 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Thursday 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson
When
: Tuesday 19 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 21 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 21 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursday 28 April 2011 and Thursday 5 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona Pollard – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 5 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Course: Daytime Travel memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 11 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine Writing Stage 2 with Gayle Bryant
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 18 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 19 May 2011 and Thursday 26 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 16 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2011

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

Travel Writing in Italy with Sue White
When
: Friday 16 September to Friday 30 September 2011



17 March 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011
In this issue:
  • Greetings from Austin, Texas
  • TIP: A spelling dilemma
  • Student Success – Julian Howard shortlisted in Stringybark Awards
  • Random House Batavia Short Story Competition
  • How you can self-publish: student success
  • Did you know? Palindromes and the Sator Square
  • WEBPICK: The Gender Genie

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered as a result of the devastating events in Japan during this past week. We have some online students living in Japan and if you have been affected in any way, please do let us know what we can do to help.

This newsletter comes to you from Austin, Texas. I’m currently here at the South by South West Festival and it’s been a busy schedule of book readings, book launches, meet-ups and sessions with some of the world’s top thought leaders. I’ve also attended panels on the Future of Journalism and participated in discussions on the trends we’re seeing in the world of words. I’m looking forward to reporting back to you on these emerging trends when I get a moment to catch my breath. So stay tuned to our blog for that.

I’ve also been filing stories for Fairfax while I’ve been here, reporting on what some of the Australians are doing here at the Festival. In researching these stories, I’ve been amazed at how great some people are at PR – while others can be utterly useless. I know that sounds harsh but I just think it’s such a
wasted opportunity if you don’t make the most out of getting
publicity for your business or your cause.

That’s why I recommend the seminar “PR and Media Releases That Get Results” with Catriona Pollard. By the end of the seminar you’ll walk away with:

  • a clear blueprint for your business
  • an understanding of what should be in a media release
  • knowledge about how the media works
  • step by step guidelines on how to contact journalists/editors
  • the confidence that you’ll be able to implement your own campaign
  • and much more.

PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 24 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Click here for more information or to enrol online.







TIP: A spelling dilemma from Grammar Girl
Grammar Girl covered an interesting spelling, um, dilemma this week – do you write “dilemna” or “dilemma”? I’ve seen both versions used in various publications and even books. Apparently even the French get it wrong, sometimes spelling “dilemme” as “dilemne”.
 
Here’s what Grammar Girl said about it:
 
The only correct spelling is "dilemma".
 
"Dilemma" comes from Greek. "Di" means "two or twice", and "lemma" means "assumption or premise". A dilemma is a choice between two undesirable options.

 
It’s possible the confusion is caused by other English words that are spelled with “mn” but said as “mm”, for example autumn, hymn,
solemn
and column. But in this case, it’s definitely “dilemma” with the double m.

If you’re ever in doubt of how to spell words like this, check your dictionary.
 





Whoops!
Last week’s tip on the difference between “defuse” and “diffuse” had a tiny (!) error in it. Did you spot it? Some of our keen-eyed subscribers did.

We said that “diffuse” was an adjective, but in our example we used it as a verb. Thanks to everyone who emailed us to point it out.



Student Success – and how to kickstart your creative writing
This week we heard from another former Creative Writing student, Julian Howard, whose work was shortlisted in the recent Stringybark Awards. Here’s what he emailed us:
 
“I have been lucky enough to be included in the cut for publication in the book ‘The Umbrella's Shade' after entering the Stringybark Short Story Competition. I completed Creative Writing Stage 1 and wanted to say a big thanks to Jeni Mawter and you guys for helping me start out.”
 
Congratulations Julian! We’re looking forward to hearing about more story successes in the future.
 
If you want to kick-start your creative writing, short story writing competitions are a great way to keep up your motivation, and our Creative Writing Stage 1 course will show you how to write the best possible story.
 
Covering all the essential elements, including plot, character and voice, this 5-week evening course will help you refine your writing and build your confidence.
 
Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the course:
"The course was very practical and simply presented. It worked really well with a balance of listening to Jeni and doing exercises that we shared with the group. The access to Jeni was great. She was enthusiastic and encouraging about writing, and sharing what was clearly a wealth of experience. If you're interested in writing and need a motivating hand / kick up the bum to get started, try a course. Listening to Jeni, I realised that the only limitations to getting started are with me and I just need to start typing."
- Jo Cross

"I enjoyed having an experienced writer explain some of the different methods of writing and cracking into the industry. Jeni was fantastic. She was very sympathetic to the needs of new writers. An excellent presenter, and a good course."
- Maya Sebestyen
 
Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 22 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Random House Batavia Short Story Competition
The story of Batavia, a Dutch East India Company vessel shipwrecked off the West Australian coast in 1629, is one of the most fascinating, and bloody, chapters in Australia’s history. It has inspired plenty of writers over the years and the latest, Batavia by Peter Fitzsimons, has just been released by Random House.
 
To celebrate, they want you to write your own story inspired by the wreck of the Batavia for a chance to win $500 cash. Two prizes will be awarded – one to the best story as judged by the publisher at Random House, and one to the People’s Choice.

Stories up to 1,000 words will be eligible and must include the sentence: “Described by author Peter Fitzsimons as a true, adults-only version of Lord of the Flies meets A Nightmare on Elm Street, the story of Batavia takes place in 1629.”

Entries close on Thursday 31 March 2011.
Full details can be found on the Random Books Facebook page.





Writing Letters and Emails – do you know the rules?
Most of us write every day – we write emails and letters to customers, colleagues and managers – yet so few of us are confident communicating this way. Despite being such a major part of many jobs, the art of writing a clear and concise letter or email is rarely taught in school or universities.

With some simple tools and templates, you can improve your writing at work. Our one-day seminar, Writing Letters and Emails, is a practical and informative day that will show you the right way to structure your correspondence, every time.

Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the seminar:
"The presenter was very good. She was informative and interested in making the content appropriate for all individuals in the class. This course is a good way to 'brush up' on skills and learn new ones.
The teacher was very approachable and the location was great."
- Anna Cummins

"Deb is a friendly easy going presenter with loads of little tips on how to structure information/details into an email or letter."
- Candice Arzapitian

Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More Student Success
We were thrilled to hear from Christa McDermott this week. After completing a number of courses with us, including the Travel Writing course and How to Get Your Book Published, she has written and self-published her first book, It Happened in Florence. Here’s what she wrote:
 
“Inspired by attending various fabulous courses with you over the last 18 months, I seriously got in to action with my writing last year and co-wrote It Happened in Florence with my friend and colleague – which was heaps of fun. We self-published and the book is now available on Amazon! I’ll be sending you through a copy when I get my hands on my promotional ones!”

Congratulations, Christa! We can’t wait to see the book.





Self-Publishing: How to do it
Like Christa, many people choose to self-publish their books as it gives them total control over the entire process. It can be incredibly rewarding but it’s also very hard work – you might be surprised how much is involved in publishing and selling a book.
 
Many people choose self-publishing over the more traditional publishing route for various reasons. In particular, it suits non-fiction authors who want to write about their area of expertise. If this is your preferred option, you need to be well-prepared. Our next self-publishing seminar is coming up soon and is ideal if you want to know if this is the path for you.

Here’s what recent participants had to say about the seminar:
"The seminar was presented by a very knowledgeable presenter who covered every aspect of self publishing and was able to answer all questions raised. Geoff was excellent – amiable, accessible, knowledgeable and professional."
- Andrew Akratos

"Good no-nonsense, practical information from someone who has 'been there, done that'. This seminar gave me some very good information that I can use to make an informed decision about whether or not to self publish."
- Betty Sheppard
 
Self-Publishing: How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Did you know? Palindromes
I’m sure most of you know what a palindrome is – a word or phrase that can be read the same way in either direction. (Actually, any units in a sequence that can be read forwards or backwards, including numbers and music.) But did you know about the earliest known palindrome, the Sator Square?
 
The Sator Square is a Latin word square featuring the words SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS. Written in a square, the words read the same top to bottom, bottom to top, left to right and right to left (one possible translation being “the farmer uses his plough as his form of work”). The earliest known example was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii and dates back to 79AD. Other examples have been found all over Europe and even in Egypt and Turkey.
 
Many religions attribute powerful mystical properties to the square and it has been used in folk magic for everything from removing jinxes to protecting livestock. Whatever its powers, it has deservedly fascinated linguists and wordsmiths for centuries.





What we’re reading:
This week freelance travel writer Briar Jensen tells us about what she’s reading – What’s Their Story? by Bruce Moore.

Briar writes:
Ever wondered how the word “chunder” came about? Or the origins of words like “dunny”, “furphy” and “dinkum”? And what on earth is a “wowser”?
 
There are many guides to Aussie lingo, but I recently came across What’s Their Story? A History of Australian Words by Bruce Moore. Published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, the book takes a look at the history behind 67 Aussie words, from Anzac to yous(e).
 
I’m not a budding etymologist (I had to check how to spell that), but I do wonder how some of our Aussie expressions came into being, like “tall poppy” and “budgie smugglers”.
 
Moore, one of Australia’s foremost lexicographers, comprehensively but succinctly sums up the often tangled web of each word’s origin. Various theories – true, false, or unverifiable – make interesting reading, along with examples of the word used in Australian media. Footnoted references make further research easy.
   
For me, this is not the sort of book to read from start to finish, but to delve into at whim, choosing a random word that takes my fancy. It currently sits on my desk, so when I need a break from writing I have a browse. Now, what exactly does “bludger” mean?

 
We want to know what you’re reading! If you’d like to submit a short book review (no more than 200 words) send it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au and we’ll consider it for publication in our newsletter or blog.






WEBPICK: The Gender Genie
Here’s something I didn’t know I needed until I found it – an online tool that can predict the gender of the writer of any text. OK, need is probably an overstatement, but it’s certainly a fun time-waster!

The Gender Genie claims to be able to tell you whether a piece of writing has been written by a man or a woman. Using a simplified algorithm developed by a group of computational linguists based in Israel (no, I cannot tell you what a computational linguist is...) the Genie will predict the gender of the writer and apparently has an accuracy rate of 80%. All you do is paste the text into the box (preferably at least 500 words) and you’ll be given a male and a female rating based on the type of language being used.

This tool has gotten a lot of attention (even the New York Times
and the Guardian have devoted column space to it) and is fascinating, if not always correct.

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 21 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 22 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self Publishing - How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 24 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 24 March 2011 and Thursday 31 March 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

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

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Monday 28 March 2011 and Monday 4 April 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – FULL
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 1 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 4 April 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 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 8 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When: Saturday 9 April 2011 and Sunday 10 April 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April 2011 - Friday 15 April 2011 (5 days in a row)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 12 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 12 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Thursday 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson
When
: Tuesday 19 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 21 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursday 28 April 2011 and Thursday 5 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Travel memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 11 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine Writing Stage 2 with Gayle Bryant
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 18 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 19 May 2011 and Thursday 26 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2011

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

Travel Writing in Italy with Sue White
When
: Friday 16 September to Friday 30 September 2011



10 March 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Do you defuse or diffuse?
  • How to get free publicity for your business
  • More student success – Candice Ward and Mavis Stucci
  • Join our online classroom – Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers
  • We’re reading: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
  • WEBPICK: Write or Die

I'm writing this from the plane as I'm heading to Texas for the South by South West Festival. Apart from heaps of filmmakers, musicians and tech-geeks, there's also going to be lots of authors. I'm looking forward to attending the author panels, book readings, sessions on the new age of publishing, and reporting back to you via our blog.

I've already bumped into some Aussie filmmakers who will be launching their films at the Festival and I'm also looking forward to those screenings.

Meanwhile, if you're an aspiring writer, check out our Creative Writing course. We’ve got two options for you so there’s no excuse for putting it off!

Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 22 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

DAYTIME INTENSIVE Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April to Friday 15 April 2011 (five consecutive mornings)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online. 






TIP: Defuse vs diffuse
Two commonly confused words are “defuse” and “diffuse”. They sound very similar when they’re spoken, but they have quite different meanings so it’s important to use the right one when writing.

Defuse is a verb meaning “to remove a fuse”, for example “to defuse a bomb”. It’s often used figuratively to also mean “pacify” or make a situation less dangerous or tense. For example:

Serving cupcakes helped defuse the tension at the meeting.

Diffuse is an adjective
, and it means to spread out or scatter. For example:

Rocky the cat diffused the crowd that had gathered
to admire him when he spewed all over their shoes.





What’s new this week at the Centre:








PR and Media Releases
Do you know how to get free publicity for your company or is PR a complete mystery to you? If you’re looking for more ways to promote your business – on a budget – developing a great PR strategy is where you must start.

You can learn how to set up this strategy yourself with our one-day seminar, PR and Media Releases that Get Results. This is an intensive day but you’ll leave with so many new ideas on how to promote your business without spending a fortune.

Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the seminar:
“I found the approach in this seminar was practical, relevant and holistic. Catriona was knowledgeable, easy to listen to and understand, and was generous in supplying resources and examples. The program offered value for money as the skills I learned during the course will save me money on contractor fees in the future.”
- Alison Hough

“I enjoyed the interesting content, good pace, comfortable interaction, and great presenter. I immediately started writing press releases again with more confidence.”
- Sally Berry

This seminar is taught by Catriona Pollard. Catriona is the director of CP Communications and has 17 years experience in developing and managing public relations and marketing programs. She has previously set up the marketing communications department for a leading software company and managed a diverse range of accounts within PR agencies. She has extensive experience in managing public affairs and marketing in federal and state governments.

Catriona has won an award in the Public Relations Institute Association Awards for Excellence and is a co-founder of Social Media Women, a formal online and in person networking group that encourages and assists women to participate more prominently in social media.

PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 24 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More student success
Our students have had a big week this week – so far we’ve heard from two former participants who have achieved great things with their writing.

First, we received this email from Candice Ward:

I completed Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers Online while living overseas in 2009 with a view to pursuing a writing career upon my return home. The course was a great way to get inspired and prepped, however, six days after getting home I somehow landed a 'proper job'. Finally I've restructured my working life to ensure I fulfill my writing goals. I listened to all my course mp3s again over the summer and submitted my first article to The Sydney Morning Herald Traveller, which was published this month. Thanks for your practical, straightforward advice, which I followed to the tee in my pitch!

Candice also did Sue White’s Perfecting Your Pitch and it’s obviously
paid off. Congratulations Candice! Your article was great – we
can’t wait to read more.

We also heard from Mavis Stucci. After completing two courses in 2010 – Writing Books for Children and Young Adults and Creative Writing Stage 2 – she entered the Stringybark Short Story competition. Here’s what she wrote to us:

I entered the Stringybark Short Story Award 2010 last year when doing my second course with the Sydney Writers' Centre. My one-page story is among the 24 Highly Commended entries that won publication in 'The Umbrella's Shade' (named after the winning entry). There were 159 entries, so I'm really chuffed!

I wouldn't have done it without your excellent training.
Thank you.


We’re chuffed for you, Mavis. Congratulations!






Join our online classroom
Pick up any weekend newspaper, or your favourite magazine, and you’ll read feature articles written by people from all walks of life – even from some of our students. Our Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers course is still one of our most popular, especially online.

If you can’t make it to our training rooms here in Milsons Point but you do want to learn the essentials of writing great feature articles and getting them published, you can join us in our virtual classroom at a time that suits you. And maybe next time you pick up that magazine you’ll be reading one of your own stories!

Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the course:
"I enjoyed getting to practice writing a profile on one of the other students. It was helpful to put into practice what I had learnt in the module while it was fresh in my mind. If you have an interest in writing anything, from corporate publications to fiction, the Sydney Writers' Centre is a great place to learn about writing and get an idea if it is something that you want to pursue."
- Kate Hill

"The ability to listen to the modules at my own leisure was fantastic. I looked forward to them every week! The structure was brilliant and I have gained confidence in approaching publications. The Sydney Writers' Centre is a great place to learn the ins and outs of a career in writing. They're professional, very friendly and have a wealth of experience in the field. I highly recommend it!"
- Veya Seekis

ONLINE COURSE: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Book giveaway – Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman
Once upon a time, way back in 2005, our presenter, Pamela Freeman, started sharing her writing and publishing knowledge with a small, but committed group of budding authors. Since then, she’s taught... well, we’ve lost count. We do know that she’s kept up her writing and has published two books just in the last year!

And Pamela has very kindly given us a signed copy of her latest, Ember and Ash, to give away. Here’s a bit more about the book:

Two peoples have been fighting over the same land for a thousand years. Invaders crushed the original inhabitants, and ancient powers have reluctantly given way to newer magics. But Ember was to change all this with a wedding to bind these warring people together – until her future goes up in flames.

Ember’s husband is murdered by a vengeful Power, who sees peace as a breach of faith. Set on retribution, she enlists the help of Ash, son of a seer. Together they will pit themselves against the Powers of Fire and Ice in a last attempt to end the conflicts that have scarred their past. They must look to the present, as old furies are waking to violence and are eager to reclaim their people.


If you’d like a copy of Ember and Ash tell us what your favourite fantasy book is and why. (If you don’t have a favourite fantasy fiction, just tell us about any genre fiction you’ve read.) Send your answers and your postal address to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm Thursday 17 March 2011.





TIP: Toward or Towards? Among or Amongst? While or whilst?
We’re often asked if among and amongst or while and whilst are interchangeable, and the answer is yes, they are. But, in modern usage, among and while are far more common. The other versions, amongst and whilst, are considered old-fashioned and most writers recommend avoiding them.

Toward and towards are a little different – once again these are regional differences. Toward is more commonly used in American English and towards is the standard for British English. 








Perfect your Proofreading
Even we make mistakes. Yes, that’s right, here at the Sydney Writers’ Centre we occasionally let the odd typo or spelling mistake slip through. Everybody does it! But you can limit them if you know how to proofread documents properly.

Proofreading is very different to editing. When your document is almost ready for printing, when the layout has been completed, that’s when you need to proofread it to ensure there are no errors. Our Perfect your Proofreading seminar will show you how to do this well.

Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the seminar:
"Deb was very good. Her manual was well thought out, and generally well put together. Her approach was relaxed and very encouraging. I was extremely happy with the course, and feel much more confident [in proofreading] as a result."
- Janet Robertson

"I found the information and examples provided by the presenter, the small class size, and the location all very enjoyable. I now know what is industry standard in proofreading and feel better equipped to do my job. The presenter was knowledgeable, approachable and more than willing to answer any queries."
- Sandy Eime

This seminar is presented by Deb Doyle. Deb is an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor. Deb has conducted courses for the Productivity Commission, AMP, Wizard Home Loans and the RTA as well as for many other corporate and government entities located in Sydney or Melbourne. Deb's courses are interactive and collegial. If anyone can turn a proofreading workshop into a fun and interesting day, it’s Deb Doyle.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What we’re reading:
This week our Course Manager, Danielle, is reading An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin.

I’m reading An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin (better known for his comedic film roles) for our April book club. It wasn’t news to me that Martin was recognised as a writer, but I was surprised that he’s also very involved in the modern art scene and over time has become something of an authority on the subject. As I once dreamed of working in the art industry myself, I was very keen to get stuck into this book.

So far, I’m enjoying it. It seems like an accurate enough description of the art world in 1990s New York. The main character, Lacey Yeager, is young, smart, beautiful – and ruthlessly ambitious. Through charm, some hard work, and a lot of conniving, she’s making her way up the ladder at Sotheby’s auction house, and establishing herself as an expert on American art. She is the perfect vehicle for Steve Martin to show off his knowledge of art history.

The short chapters and easy writing style make this book ideal for reading on the way to work, when I have just 20 minutes to grab some quality reading time. For me, the most enjoyable thing about An Object of Beauty is Martin’s descriptions of famous (and some not so famous) art works. Some are even accompanied by illustrations, which is very unusual for fiction but I was thrilled to have a visual reference.

This is a fun read - perfect if you’re at all interested in art. Even if you know nothing about the art market, this is an engaging book that’s perfect for commuting. 

We want to know what you’re reading! If you’d like to submit a short book review (no more than 200 words) send it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au and we’ll consider it for publication in our newsletter or blog. 




WEBPICK: Write or Die
(We featured Write or Die in our newsletter back in 2009, but I thought it was worth mentioning it again as you can now buy a desktop version.)

While Dr Wicked may not sound like someone you can trust to get you writing, you’ll find a quick visit to his website surprisingly inspiring. He has designed a web application called Write or Die, and it’s a very simple concept – keep writing or suffer the consequences. While you get to decide your word goal, time limit and grace period (forgiving, strict or evil), only consistent writing will let you avoid punishment. And what is your punishment? Not quite as severe as the name would suggest, but you can select a gentle prod, a frighteningly loud and unpleasant sound or Kamikaze mode (I’ll let you discover for yourself what that is).

The beauty of this program is that it encourages you to write only – not edit as you go. It’s a wonderful tool if you want to get the words out first and then refine them later. This is definitely worth a try, and while you’re there, check out Dr Wicked’s blog as well – very informative and very entertaining.

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – FULL
When
: Friday 11 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller – FULL
When:
Saturday 12 March 2011 and Sunday 13 March 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $450

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue Whiter – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding – FULL
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 22 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self Publishing - How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 24 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 24 March 2011 and Thursday 31 March 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

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

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Monday 28 March 2011 and Monday 4 April 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 1 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson – NEW DATE
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 4 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 8 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Weekend Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When: Saturday 9 April 2011 and Sunday 10 April 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April 2011 - Friday 15 April 2011 (5 days in a row)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Thursday 14 April 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 14 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with confidence with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 15 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 19 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Travel memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding – NEW DATE
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 11 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine Writing Stage 2 with Gayle Bryant
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 18 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 19 May 2011 and Thursday 26 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2011

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

Travel Writing in Italy with Sue White
When
: Friday 16 September to Friday 30 September 2011



3 March 2011

Thursday, March 03, 2011
In this issue:
  • New look, new logo, new website
  • What did you think of the Oscars?
  • TIP: When to use "however"
  • Two student successes
  • How to avoid bad business writing
  • TIP: Using apostrophes with numbers
  • We’re reading: Manhattan Dreaming by Anita Heiss

Have you noticed something different? Yes, that’s right, your newsletter has a new look. That’s because we’ve launched our brand new website and our newsletter now reflects our new look and new logo. On the site, we’ve included more videos and resources, and we’ll be rolling out even more goodies for you in the coming weeks. We’d love to hear what you think, so do drop us a line.

Also, revamping our website has been a big job. So if we’ve missed anything or made any mistakes, we’d be so grateful if you could let us know. We want the site to work for you, and we can’t wait for you to check it out.


Did you watch the Oscars? I must admit that I tuned out about halfway through, not because the nominated films weren’t amazing but because Anne Hathaway and James Franco just didn’t do it for me. However, I definitely made sure I watched the winners of the Best Animated Short Film, Australians Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann. We’re big fans of children’s author and illustrator Shaun Tan so we couldn’t be more thrilled.

If you’d like to follow in Shaun’s footsteps and win an Oscar (okay, the one in the picture is a fake one), you should enrol in:

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Mondays starting Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

OR

Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Judith Ridge
When
: Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: However you use it
While many people believe you should never use "however" at the start of a sentence, it is becoming more common. It’s important that you remember that "however" has two distinctly different meanings, and all it takes to change that meaning is a comma. If you use ‘however’ at the start of a sentence keep in mind this advice from Grammar Girl:
 
If you use "however" at the beginning of a sentence without a comma, "however" means "in whatever manner" or "to whatever extent."
 
However hard Anne Hathaway tried, she couldn't liven up a robotic James Franco during the Oscars.
 
If you use "however" at the beginning of a sentence with a comma, "however" means "nevertheless"
 
However, I loved all seven of Anne's Oscar dresses (plus the tuxedo).






What’s new this week at the Centre:
  • We’ve launched our brand new website and new logo! Check it out here.

  • Our first Book Club meeting is being held today. Yes, yummy cakes are involved.
     
  • Out tomorrow: Podcast interview with Cory Taylor, author of Me & Mr Booker.

  • This weekend: 2 day intensive: Travel Memoir - only 2 places left.




Creative writing - how to keep motivated
So, you’ve finished stage 1 of your creative writing journey and now you want to apply what you’ve learned to your stories. It’s one thing to have the knowledge, but if you feel you’re lacking the motivation or inspiration to continue, then the online course, Creative Writing Stage 2, could be just what you need.
 
This course is designed for those people who want to practice what they’ve learned in Creative Writing Stage 1 and workshop their writing with others. During the course, you’ll complete regular writing exercises and get invaluable feedback from your online tutor.

Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the course:
“I enjoyed the interaction with the tutor and other classmates. The course has inspired me to write a story I had only thought about before. The helpful advice from the presenter was excellent and it was very easy to do the course online. It was like having a special friend I could share my work with.”
- Dale Turner

“Cathie was superb. Her comments were insightful and useful in improving our work, as well as providing encouragement at all times. The course was fantastically easy to do - I was able to sit down and complete the modules when I found the time, whether it was during the day, or of an evening once the kids were in bed.”
- Michelle Stephens

ONLINE COURSE: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When
: Week beginning Monday 7 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Congratulations Debbie Richardson!
We received some very exciting news this week. Debbie Richardson, who completed the online course, Writing Books for Young Adults and Children, has had her first young adult manuscript accepted for publication as an ebook! Here's what Debbie said:

“I'm very pleased to tell you that my novel ‘The Bird With The Broken Wing’ is being published in a few months by a US ebook publisher. I am currently working with an editor and cover art and marketing people to get it ready for release. I just wanted to say a big thank you to Sydney Writers' Centre for offering this course online. It really helped to be able to do it at home.”
 
Congratulations Debbie! We can't wait to read the book.

If you think you’ve got a kids’ book in you and like the sound of learning at home, whenever suits you, our next online course in Writing Books for Young Adults and Children starts on Monday.

ONLINE COURSE: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson/Laurine Croasdale
When
: Week beginning Monday 7 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More Student Success
Former Feature Writing participant, Corey Courtembache, has also had some publishing success. He did the course with Holly Nott last year and had a piece featured in the Sydney Morning Herald! He sent this to Holly:
 
“I attended your feature writing course at the Sydney Writers' Centre a few months back and I just wanted to say thanks again. What I learned in the course helped to get a good piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald the other day (as well on the websites for The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today). It was really exciting to watch it being read and tweeted throughout the day.”
 
Congratulations Corey! We look forward to reading more of your feature articles.





How to avoid bad business writing
Ever seen something like this in an annual report or business email?
 
This change will allow us to better leverage our talent base in an area where developmental roles are under way and strategically focuses us toward the upcoming transition where systems literacy and accuracy will be essential to maintain and to further improve service levels to our customer base going forward.
 
Confused? So are we. There’s no need for business writing to be so incoherent. You can produce professional reports, letters and proposals for your business if you know the rules of good writing. Our one day seminar in Professional Business Writing will give you the tools you need to do this every time.
 
Here’s what our most recent participants had to say about the seminar:
“The presenter was engaging and easy to follow. She referred to all of our working backgrounds and linked it into the work we were learning, which made it more interesting. The course was easy to follow and provided good resource material to take home.”
- Marisa

“Mel was very engaging – she got everyone talking, and basically made everyone feel smart and like they had something to contribute.”
- Stephanie Oley

Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson
When
: Thursday 10 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





What we’re reading:
I’ll admit ... I’m a bit partial to chick lit. So I’m currently reading Manhattan Dreaming by the beautiful and talented Australian author Anita Heiss. I’ll also be in Manhattan myself in a couple of weeks, walking the same streets as Anita’s lovelorn heroine. She’s art curator Lauren, who is trying to get over (while simultaneously pining for) footballer Adam. I recognise Lauren in my friends, and myself. But no, I have not stalked a womanising footballer late into night while wearing my pyjamas like she has - although, it kind of sounds like it could be fun.

I admire Anita because she not only writes chick lit, she also writes non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and travel articles. She’s also an informed social commentator particularly on indigenous issues and it’s great to see her in action at writers’ festivals and on panels. But back to Manhattan Dreaming. I love the recognisable references to places, artists, and celebrities. It makes the book distinctly Australian, with a glamorous dose of Manhattan thrown in.


We want to know what you’re reading! If you’d like to submit a short book review (no more than 200 words) send it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au and we’ll consider it for publication in our newsletter or blog. 





TIP: Apostrophes and numbers
Last week’s tip on writing decades and whether or not you should use an apostrophe, prompted this question from one of our readers:
 
"My understanding is that if you’re omitting the numbers from the beginning of the decade, you need to add the apostrophe to show this. For instance, 1980s becomes ’80s. Is this not correct?"
 
Well, the Australian Style Manual says you shouldn’t shorten decades in this way in formal writing, but it's commonly used when using a more conversational tone or if you are quoting someone. However, if you DO this then yes, you technically should use an apostrophe where you’ve omitted numbers.








WEBPICK: The Noun Project
We’re all familiar with the symbols used to indicate no-smoking areas, or to point to women’s or men’s toilets. Our visual language is more prominent than you might realise - just think of all the road signs that use no words but clearly tell us there’s roadwork ahead, or a pedestrian crossing.

All of these symbols have been designed in a way that everyone can understand their meaning - whether they speak English or not. That’s why the Noun Project is so interesting. They’re building a free online collection of symbols used all over the world.

There are currently 596 symbols and the collection is growing. A quick search of the site revealed a symbol for alternative medicine (OK, not so obvious at first glance but not a bad attempt), beauty salon, windmill - there’s even one for donuts!

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 4 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When:
Saturday 5 March 2011 and Sunday 6 March 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 7 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Laurine Croasdale
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman – FULL
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 8 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson – FULL
When
: Thursday 10 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers Stage 1 with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 10 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – FULL
When
: Thursday 10 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Friday 11 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller – FULL
When:
Saturday 12 March 2011 and Sunday 13 March 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $450

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue Whiter – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 14 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 22 March 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self Publishing - How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 23 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 24 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 24 March 2011 and Thursday 31 March 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

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

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Monday 28 March 2011 and Monday 4 April 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 30 March 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 1 April 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Tuesday 5 April 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 6 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When: Saturday 9 April 2011 and Sunday 10 April 2011 (2 day workshop)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Intensive Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April 2011 - Friday 15 April 2011 (5 days in a row)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Travel memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine Writing Stage 2 with Gayle Bryant
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 18 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 19 May 2011 and Thursday 26 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2011

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

Travel Writing in Italy with Sue White
When
: Friday 16 September to Friday 30 September 2011




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