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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.

28 April 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Should you capitalise season names?
  • We’re coming to Melbourne!
    Tell us what you’d like ...
  • Motivation and Inspiration with Creative
    Writing Stage 2
  • CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
  • More Student Success Rachel Cuthbert
  • WEBPICK: Writers and Kitties

Believe it or not, I spent a lot of time over Easter reading books on grammar, style and writing. Yes, I realise that’s a bit nerdy. And yes, I know I should get a life. But I’ve been interested in grammar ever since I was a little girl.

When I was in primary school, my two favourite pastimes were reading a book called “First Aid in English” (which was a brilliant book on language and grammar) and giving myself manicures. Strange, but true.

As a result, I developed a love for grammar. I also have really nice nails.

It wasn’t until years later that I realised how lucky I was to have this book at home. Since then, I’ve seen so many people struggle with grammar and punctuation because these principles were never taught at school. However, it’s a vital career skill and we receive calls from corporations all the time about our grammar seminar.

If you think you need a refresher in Grammar and Punctuation, our seminar is practical, interactive and fun!

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am 5.00pm
Cost: $450 – includes a copy of Grey Areas and Gremlins by Deb Doyle, valued at $50

Click here for more information or to enrol online.




TIP: Should you capitalise season names?
Now that we’re well into autumn, this tip from Grammar Girl is a timely one. This is what she has to say on the question of whether or not to capitalise season names:

Season names aren't capitalized unless they're part of a formal name, such as the name of an event or a class.

The spring flowers are making me sneeze.

I can't wait until fall.
(Grammar Girl is American which is why she says fall. We would say autumn).

Aardvark hopes someone will ask him to the Spring-a-Ring-Ding dance.

The 2010 Winter Olympics seem as if they happened long ago.







The Australian / Vogel's Literary Award
Congratulations to Rohan Wilson who last night was awarded the 2011 Vogel Award! We were there to meet Rohan, who was introduced by a former winner, Tim Winton.

You can watch our video interview with Rohan here.

To see photos from the award announcement visit our Facebook page.






We’re coming to Melbourne!
Thanks to many emails from our Melbourne readers asking us to hold our courses there, we’re packing our bags, and a few of our presenters, and heading south. We’re calling it “Melbourne Week” (but it’s actually four days!). We’re waiting until Grand Final fever is over and will be in Melbourne on Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 October 2011.

We’re going to bring the best of the Sydney Writers’ Centre to you so we’d love to know what courses you’d like!

For Melbourne readers, this is your chance to have a say. We’ve selected some of our most popular courses but we need to whittle that list down to just a few – so please do tell us which courses you’d like most by clicking on the survey link here.





Motivation and inspiration with Creative Writing Stage 2
If you’ve completed Creative Writing Stage 1 or Writing Books for Children and Young Adults, then you already know the essential elements to a good story. But maintaining your motivation and inspiration is also an important part of your writing journey and that’s where Creative Writing Stage 2 comes in.

Workshopping your writing is essential if you want to extend your skills and make your stories shine. This course will give you the chance to put into practice what you’ve learnt and get invaluable feedback from the presenter and your classmates.

For those of you who prefer to attend classes in the morning, we’ve scheduled a daytime Stage 2 course with Pamela Freeman. It’s rare that we’re able to hold daytime courses with Pamela, and this may be the only one we hold in 2011, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"Pamela is amazing and such an inspiration. She is so obviously passionate and willing to share her successes and experiences with the class. I enjoyed workshopping our work with Pamela and other members of the class. The course and feedback I received has given me the motivation and confidence to continue with my project and I look forward to soon commencing the Novel Writing Workshop."
- Tracey Jordan

"The course took the process of writing to a deeper level and Pamela is a passionate word lover, which I found inspiring. I have learnt to survey my work more closely, and to think about the whole process from a deeper perspective."
- Sharna Bryant

DAYTIME Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More student success
In 2010, we held our first writing retreat in Bali. Twelve lucky participants headed to Ubud and spent five days learning the Art and Craft of Writing the Senses with Patti Miller.

We know that many of them have continued writing since then, and one participant, Rachel Cuthbert, recently had her first book review accepted by Good Reading Magazine. Congratulations, Rachel! We look forward to hearing more about your writing successes.

There are only two places left on our next Bali tour, which will be held from Saturday 18 June to 25 June 2011. You can find more details or download a full itinerary on our website. And we’re so thrilled that a group of former students have already placed a booking for Bali in 2012!





CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
In 2011 the CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature, or ‘The Nib’, celebrates 10 years as one of Australia’s most important awards for research in literature. The award can be won by fiction or non-fiction, making this a unique opportunity for authors and researchers.

Books entered must be published between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011. While research is the main focus of the award, judges will also be looking for readability, literary merit and value to the community. One prize of $20,000 will be awarded.

Entries close Friday 8 July 2011. More information and an entry form can be found here.





Paper Giants: how YOU can be published in magazines
It seems that 1.2 million Australians tuned in to watch Paper Giants: The Birth of CLEO magazine recently, about how Ita Buttrose and Kerry Packer brought the magazine to life. I was certainly one of those viewers. Although I worked at CLEO for four years, it was way after Ita’s reign. But the magazine industry is just as dynamic and glamorous (and unpredictable) as it was depicted on the two-part series.

If you’d like to get published in your favourite magazine, our online course, Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers, will show you how. Many of our former students have achieved it – some before they’ve even finished their course!

The course is held in our virtual classroom, which means you can log in whenever and from wherever you like.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"The course was really practical, interesting and easy to follow. Sue was great! The online delivery was very convenient as I could fit it in around work and family commitments."
- Elizabeth Willmott

"The online delivery was very easy, very well structured and easy to navigate. It allows repeated listening to the modules which will be useful. Also being able to do it in segments throughout the week whenever I had time was so convenient. Fantastic! The course offered great practical advice that would normally takes years of industry experience to learn."
- Rachel Morton

ONLINE COURSE: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Tip: Abbreviation or acronym?
It may seem obvious, but we do see people confusing abbreviations and acronyms. So, to clear it up, here’s all that you need to remember:

An abbreviation is a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase – like ATM (Automatic Teller Machine), Mr (Mister), Dr (doctor) or St (Street).

An acronym is when a word is formed from the initial letters or groups of letters in a set phrase or series of words. Think NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus).

Abbreviations can also be acronyms, but not all acronyms are abbreviations. An acronym can be pronounced as a word but an abbreviation can’t. So NATO is an abbreviation and an acronym, while ATM is only an abbreviation.





How to DIY your PR
Free publicity for your business doesn’t just happen. The right media coverage can help boost your sales and your profile, but to achieve it, you need an effective publicity strategy.
 
Our PR and Media Releases That Get Results seminar is ideal if you’re completely new to the art of PR, but it will also be helpful if your PR plans need some help. You’ll learn:

  • how to write effective press releases
  • how to attract the attention of journalists
  • what you need in a good PR strategy
  • learn online tool to distribute your message
  • and much more.

By the end of the day you’ll come away with a much clearer publicity plan for your business.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"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

"The whole day was extremely practical. I felt very empowered at the end. I'm now far more aware of how PR can be implemented in my industry and specifically to my business, what tools are best for my area and media pitches vs media releases. Catriona was informative, lively, enthusiastic, willing to share her knowledge and provide advice specifically to your industry."
- Victoria Sharp

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Lay-by (not lay-buy)



Our new media manager Tracy spotted this sign in Byron. The correct term to use here is "lay-by", as listed in the Macquarie Australian Dictionary, not "lay-buy".





What we’re reading
This week our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Everyone has at least one friend who raves about Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's one of those books. Set in a desolate, post-apocalyptic world with the only character dynamic being the always potent relationship between father and boy son, this book promises a high impact read. I felt that the book did not deliver on this promise. Like it's own story, The Road was a grim, cold read that had me scavenging for emotional engagement, similar to the main characters searching for food, as we headed for an ending as underwhelming as the vague descriptions of "the south" the book sets up as the destination.

That said, I can see how this book would have a huge impact if you could connect with the father or the son character. But, as the father is emotionally shut down and the boy is quite young and scared all the time, I found that difficult. So I'm not going to be raving about this book to my friends but I advise you get a second opinion on it, because I know it's been life-changing for The-Road-raver in my life.

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: Writers and Kitties
Cats and authors go together like pen and paper. At least, that’s what Writers and Kitties would have you believe. This is a collection of photos of some of the world’s most famous authors and their favourite furry friends. There’s Aldous Huxley with his moggy, Jean-Paul Sartre clinging to his cat as he writes, and, in the only doggy photo we could find, Samuel Beckett and his two pets – a nervous-looking puppy clearly concerned about sharing his bed with a cat.

Check it out here.

NB: the Sydney Writers’ Centre is an equal opportunity office and welcomes cats AND dogs. So, dog-loving writers, we’ll feature a website on writers and their dogs as soon as we find it.









Other upcoming courses
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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 11 May 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 12 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 16 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 18 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 May 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 31 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Thursday 2 June 2011 and Thursday 9 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 2 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Daytime How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 7 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Daytime Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 8 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson
When
: Tuesday 14 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
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

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 22 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 23 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 30 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

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: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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



21 April 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011
In this issue:

  • How to get on Sunrise or in The Sydney Morning Herald
  • Perfect your pitch and get published
  • More student success Carmen Gowans shortlisted for award!
  • Book giveaway Counter Attack by Mark Abernethy
  • Turn your travel into memoir
  • WORDWISE: Easter
  • TIP: Don’t confuse loose with lose
  • WEBPICK: Insulted by authors


One of my favourite pastimes is to pore over the weekend newspapers with my latte, poached eggs and mushrooms. But I’ll confess, I’m not just reading the news. I know this sounds totally geeky (and possibly a bit weird) but I also love identifying the stories in the paper that have appeared as a result of someone sending a media release to the journalist versus the stories that have been hunted down by the journo themselves.

It’s amazing how many articles in papers and magazines as well as segments on TV are the result of a pro-active person sending a media release to a journalist. If you’re not taking advantage of this opportunity for your business, you’re missing out on valuable publicity.

Would you like to see your business or project on Sunrise or in The Sydney Morning Herald. You don’t need a massive budget. You just need to know HOW to present and distribute this information in a way that appeals to journalists. That’s why our seminar, PR and Media Releases That Get Results, is so useful.

It’s extremely practical and will cover:

  • the kind of information you MUST include if you want media coverage
  • what you must NEVER say to a journalist
  • who you should quote and what they should say
  • online media release distribution strategies
  • and much more

Here’s some feedback from a recent participant:
"It was fantastic that Catriona used recent, relevant and real-life examples from actual work she had done. Catriona was very switched on the entire day, from 9am to 5pm. She was great! The staff at the Sydney Writers' Centre were very professional and courteous. And I walked away from the course learning more than I had expected. I felt confident about trying to do PR and writing media releases after just one day!"
- Lisa Sobreviñas

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Can you start sentences with “and” or “but”?
There are some pedants and old-school grammarians who cringe at the idea of starting a sentence with a conjunction like "and" or "but". Maybe you were taught this golden rule at school and have stuck by it ever since. Well, language has to move with the times, and it's not wrong – or right. It depends.

Starting a sentence with "and" or "but" is not some heinous sin that can never be forgiven. It's informal and casual. So it's acceptable when informal language is the tone you're going for.

Let's say you're writing a report on a serious issue that's to be tabled at the next board meeting, or writing policy that's going to become legislation, or an invitation to Kate and Will's wedding then don't use conjunctions to start a sentence.

But, if you're writing an article for Dolly magazine, or connecting with surfers on a surf website, or a brochure about fun online dating methods, then using informal language like this is perfectly acceptable. And you'll see it all the time. But just don't go nuts and use it at every opportunity.






What’s new this week at the Centre:
  • Long Easter break. We’ll be out of the office from Friday 22 April and back on Wednesday 27 April but you’ll still be able to contact us through our website.

  • We’re coming to Melbourne! Details will be announced very soon, but if you’re in Melbourne, remember these dates - Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 October 2011.

  • The People’s Choice Awards in the Best Australian Blogs 2011 Competition are now open! Click here for more details.

  • QUICK VIDEO: Find out what's new at the Centre this week. (If you can't view the video in this email, just click here to see it on our blog.)






Perfect your pitch and get published
So, you’ve got a great idea for a feature article. You’re confident you can write a fantastic article and you’ve done your research on where you’d like to see it printed. Now, you just need to convince an editor to publish it.

Easier said than done? It doesn’t have to be. Pitching is an essential skill for all freelance writers, but it’s not always an easy one to master. Our two-week course, Perfecting your Pitch, can take the fear out of pitching by showing you a step-by-step process for approaching editors and improving your feature writing "hit-rate".

Here’s some feedback from recent participants:
"I have gained the confidence to get out there and pitch to editors and not fear that I am making a fool of myself. Sue was informative in a very friendly way and managed to make everyone feel involved in the course."
- Catherine Brazil

"Getting insight from a working freelance writer was extremely helpful. It was also fantastic to structure the course with one lecture and Q&A session followed by a workshop session. I took the course to learn how to write a pitch and to gain insight into an industry I know very little about and came away having learned what I sought to learn."
- Grace Foss

Perfecting your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursday 28 April & Thursday 5 May 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More Student Success
A big congratulations this week to Carmen Gowans, who has done two courses with us – Online Creative Writing Stage 1 and Online Creative Writing Stage 2. Since finishing the courses she’s been busy writing and has just had a short story, “Sophie’s Treasure”, shortlisted in the 2011 Charlotte Duncan Award! Here’s what she wrote to us:

“Thought you might like to know that my short story, ‘Sophie's Treasure’, made the short list. Eeek! I've been meaning to thank you for your blog and newsletters. They're a wonderful resource, the competition info especially. So thank you very much, and please keep it up!”

Congratulations Carmen! And good luck in the final.





Book Giveaway Counter Attack by Mark Abernethy
Recently, we had the pleasure of chatting to Australian thriller writer, Mark Abernethy, for our author podcast series. You can hear the full interview on iTunes or read the transcript on our website.

Mark published his first book, Golden Serpent, in 2007 (and wrote it in only 8 weeks!), which introduced us to the Australian super-spy – Alan McQueen. His latest book is Counter Attack, the third book in the Alan McQueen series. Here’s a bit more about the book:

Alan McQueen has been lured out of retirement, but any dreams Mac has of a cosy office job are shattered when he’s dispatched to Singapore to oversee a covert mission. And when things go disastrously wrong, he not only has to defend his reputation in Australia but also stay out of jail in Vietnam.

From the leafy suburbs of Singapore to the mean streets of Saigon, from the political infighting of Canberra to the old killing fields of Northern Cambodia, Mac has to use all his cunning – and a few unusual alliances – to get to the bottom of a conspiracy that could throw the world into a thermo-nuclear showdown.


Want to know what happens next? We have one copy of Counter Attack to give away. If you’d like to win it, just tell us who you would base your fictional super-spy character on, and why. Send your answers to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm Thursday 28 April 2011, and remember to include your postal address.





Turn your travels into memoir
The world may be shrinking, but the genre of travel memoir is growing more popular every day. And we’re not just talking about Eat, Pray, Love, the massively successful memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. Many other authors have found success writing about their travels, like Sarah Turnbull (Almost French), Francis Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun) and Bill Bryson (Down Under).

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

Here’s some feedback from recent participants:
"Claire is lovely and had our interest and attention at all times. She is so experienced and knowledgable and encouraged us all to share our ideas whatever our level."
- Jennifer Leeder

“I really enjoyed the pace and structure of the course, the short exercises, reading and listening to other members of the group, and the feedback from the presenter. Claire is an excellent teacher. It was great to have a presenter who has been published in the field.”
- Katherine Hill

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





WORDWISE: Easter
Most of us know that Easter is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, and whether you observe it as a Christian or not, we enjoy the associated long weekend every year.

The word “Easter” actually has a long history in a number of languages, and there are many different traditions leading to our modern use of the word. The English term “Easter” comes from the old English, Ēastre or Ēostre, which refers to Ēostre month, a pagan celebration generally held in April.

In other languages, their word for Easter comes from the Greek Pascha, which itself is derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover. Can’t see the similarity? Well, in Spanish, Easter is Pascua and in Italian it’s Pasqua – very similar in sound to Pascha.





Improve your writing in just one day!
Want to know how to improve your writing in just one day? Learning the golden rules of grammar and punctuation will have a surprising effect on your writing. You’ll be able to instantly transform clunky sentences to concise, easy to read passages and you’ll need never fear grammar again!

Even if you were taught grammar and punctuation at school (which sadly, many of us weren’t), our one-day refresher will give you a firm foundation that will give you more confidence and help you prevent the most common errors in writing.

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle is one of our most popular seminars. You’ll come away with a new understanding of the rules and conventions of writing, as well as a handy reference book – Deb’s Grey Areas and Gremlins – to practice what you’ve learned at home.

Here’s some feedback from recent participants:
"The structure of the seminar was excellent. Deb is a talented presenter who listens and answers questions from her audience. She ensures that the audience understand the topic and solves their queries. This is a good course that improves the understanding of grammar and punctuation, even if you are a professional writer."
- Pankaj Mankani

"The course was enjoyable because it was very easy to understand and contribute, even though it was about grammar. The presenter was clear about the how and the when of grammar. She had a great sense of humour and was very well informed and prepared about the topic."
- Anna Paras

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450 includes a copy of Grey Areas and Gremlins by Deb Doyle, valued at $50

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Don’t confuse loose and lose
This picture was snapped in Starbucks in Brixton by @jasonlangenauer and passed to us by @johnhaining through Twitter.



There’s lots wrong with this sign, but let’s start with “Loosing a loved one”.

Loose means free or released from any fastening; or free from anything that binds or restrains. It DOES NOT mean to come to be without, or to suffer the deprivation of something - that’s lose, with one “o”. We see these two getting confused all the time! Just remember - if you’ve “lost” something, there’s only one “o”. That applies for “losing” something as well.

Now let’s tackle the use of “urology” (“Design & print the urology”). Um, actually, there’s not much one can say about that... Surely that should say “eulogy”!





What we’re reading
This week's review is by Get Published! reader, Rachel Cuthbert, who is reading Paris Dreaming by Anita Heiss.

Author Anita Heiss cleverly weaves her strong views on Aboriginal art and women into her ‘chick-lit’ narrative in Paris Dreaming.

The novel’s heroine Libby Cutmore is through with men! She wants to focus on her career, friends and Carrie Bradshaw-like addiction to shoes.

Libby is off to Paris for five months to open a temporary exhibition of Aboriginal art in the Musée du Quai Branly. Amidst the wine, cheese, bread, coffee and chocolate diet Libby makes her mark on Paris both professionally and personally; though her promise to stay away from men is impossible to keep in the ‘city of love’. There is the artist who wants to paint her nude, the fling she finds in the bath with a young, blonde skeleton, and another black fella from Australia who tries to win her heart.

The writing is strong, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly relatable. Also, being set in Canberra (my home town), it has changed my opinion that Canberra is such a boring place to live; though it doesn’t really compare to Paris.

I highly recommend this book to any woman who wants to laugh, cry and feel the sisterly spirit of knowing we are not alone in having our hearts broken.

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: Insulted by Authors
It can be hard to stand out from the crowd especially if you’re trying to get the attention of your favourite author. Queuing up for the obligatory author signature in your new favourite book is now the done thing at writers’ festivals and book launches. But blogger Bill Ryan has taken it one step further he doesn’t just want the author’s signature, he wants to be insulted by them!

Insulted by Authors is a record of Bill’s tireless hunt for personal insults. He’s tracked down authors such as Amy Sedaris, Jennifer Egan, and David Mitchell. Apart from being hilarious, the blog is also a great place to go for book reviews and news from the New York literary scene.

Note: This one has a language warning.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 11 May 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 12 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 16 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 18 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Thursday 2 June 2011 and Thursday 9 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 2 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Daytime How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 7 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Daytime Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 8 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 14 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
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

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Judith Ridge – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 22 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 23 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 30 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

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



14 April 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011
In this issue:
  • Author of 18 books James Roy teaches
    Creative Writing here
  • TIP: Fit or fitted?
  • Improve your writing at work
  • Big Issue fiction issue - you can enter
  • Get paid for your travel writing
  • TIP: What is an oxymoron?
  • Perfect your pitch - and get published
  • VIDEO: Amber MacArthur's innovative book trailer

I love the fact that we have some of Australia’s best authors teaching here at the Sydney Writers’ Centre. They're all so generous with their knowledge and experience. So I’m thrilled that James Roy is teaching our next course in Creative Writing.

James has been published in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany and South Korea. He’s released a whopping 18 books, ranging from novels to short story collections.

If you’re interested in telling stories and writing fiction, I highly recommend the course Creative Writing Stage 1.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Fit or fitted?
We’ve recently received emails from a couple of our readers wondering whether the past tense version of fit is “fit” or “fitted”. One of them, Wendy Stephens sent in this example:
“I came up with a name for our company — Apple.” Wozniak said they could have tried to come up with more technical-sounding names but their vision was to make computers approachable. “Apple fit nicely.”
She rightly pointed out that “fit” doesn’t sound right, it should be “fitted”. That’s definitely the case in Australian/British English. American English tends to use the shorter form. So:

American English: Rambo’s coat fit him last year, but it doesn’t now.

Australian/British English: Rambo’s coat fitted him last year, but it doesn’t now.






What’s new this week at the Centre:
  • Our one-day seminar Edit with Confidence is on tomorrow!

  • Enrolments are coming in for our newest course with Kate Forsyth, Plotting and Planning.

  • We’ve planned our schedule for Sydney Writers’ Festival and can’t wait to bring you videos, interviews and blog posts from the festival.

  • Our latest Facebook Photo Competition is now open! Check it out here.

  • QUICK VIDEO: Find out what's new at the Centre this week. (If you can't view the video in this email, just click here to see it on our blog.)





Better writing at work
Want to improve your writing at work, and your job prospects? If you’re writing reports, proposals or tenders, it can be overwhelming if you’re not confident in your writing skills.

Our Professional Business Writing seminar will show you the stress-free way to create polished and persuasive documents at work. Learning the golden rules for great business writing will enhance documents and could give you an edge in your job.

During this seminar, you’ll cover:

  • the 8-step plan to writing winning proposals
  • how to structure your reports
  • words you should never use
  • how to write concise sentences
  • and much more.

Here’s some feedback from recent participants:
"The course was well-structured and accessible. The content was really useful and I find I'm already applying some of what I learned in my work. Mel is a great presenter. I found her articulate, humorous and human. She provided some excellent suggestions and it felt that she tailored the course to the needs of the attendees."
- Angela Snowden

"I enjoyed learning about the easy-to-use tips in preparing and writing professional documents and mind-mapping. Mel spoke clearly and was very easy to understand. She thoroughly explained all topics that were discussed."
- George Radmanovic

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Big Issue Fiction Edition
It’s on again. The Big Issue Annual Fiction Edition will be out later this year, and they’re now looking for the best Australian short stories to be featured. Last year’s fiction issue featured many established authors, such as Christos Tsiolkas, Linda Jaivin, and Michael Faber, and also introduced many of us to the work of writers such Samuel Rutter and Romy Ash.

The 2011 edition will be bigger than ever thanks to funding from the Copyright Agency Limited, and that means more stories will be needed. If you’d like to submit a story send no fewer than three printed (not electronic) copies of your entry of up to 3,000 words to: Fiction Edition, The Big Issue, GPO Box 4911, Melbourne 3001. Remember to include your name and contact details on a separate cover sheet.

Closing date for entries is Wednesday 1 June 2011.





WORDWISE: Interrobang and chess
In follow up to our tip last week on the interrobang (?!), we’ve discovered another use for it – in chess. (Thanks to reader Paul Grattan for alerting us to this.) In chess commentary, the use of ?! is a notation to indicate a dubious move that may turn out to be bad. Here are some other notations used:

!? an interesting move (but not necessarily the best)

! a good move (but usually surprising)

!! an excellent move (to save the day or lead to a win)

? a bad move (there are obvious better ones)

?? a blunder (game over or a winning position lost)

Even though it’s acceptable in chess to reverse the interrobang (!? for interesting move), as one of our readers, Alicia Thomson pointed out, this doesn’t excuse regular users getting it wrong. She told us she often sees it written as !? and says, “Surely the question should always precede the boom-boom?!”





Get paid for your adventures
Are you interested in writing travel articles but aren’t quite sure where to start? Would you like to add another feather to your feature writing bow and explore the world of travel writing? If you’re ready to learn more about travelling to write (and getting paid!) our Introductory Travel Writing seminar will give you the tips to get started.

In this two-hour seminar you’ll learn about the different types of travel writing, the realities of travel writing, how to increase your chances of getting your work published, and how to get paid for your adventures.

Here’s some feedback from recent participants:

“I enjoyed the enthusiasm and encouragement of the presenter and the amount of helpful information provided. Geoff was excellent. The information he provided was more than I had expected in a 2-hour seminar, and it answered a lot of questions I had. My contact before the seminar was efficient and friendly, the seminar was very helpful and interesting and I am planning on doing more courses as I can manage to do them while working and travelling from Canberra.”
- Ann Connolly

“I got practical information that allowed me to see clearly the day in the life of a travel writer: the nuts and bolts revelations! Geoff was funny, sincere, a good listener and took care to ensure each participant walked away with their top questions answered. The Sydney Writers’ Centre is a very professional, open organisation. There's no sense of exclusivity about information and I love that sense of transparency and telling it like it is. And it's also an inspiring place to be. It respects every person's ability to make their writing aspirations a reality.”
- Desanka Vukelich

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

DAYTIME Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 8 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $85

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Oxymoron
An oxymoron is a figure of speech containing contradictory terms. You see them everywhere - consider “definite possibility”, “extremely average” and “virtual reality”.

The word oxymoron comes from the Greek for “sharp dull”, which translates literally to “pointedly foolish”. But oxymorons aren’t always inadvertent errors. They can be used intentionally in literature to create a paradox. For example:

“There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.”
- from Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“…As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe…”
- from Paradise Lost by John Milton

“...With fearful bravery, thinking by this face
To fasten in our thoughts that they have courage;
But ’tis not so.”
- from Julius Ceasar by William Shakespeare





Perfect your pitch - and get published
Successful freelance writers know there’s more to getting published than just writing an article. Getting the attention of an editor and convincing them to publish your work is crucial to establishing yourself as a regular feature writer. To do this, you need to get your pitch right.

Perfecting your pitch will improve your chances of publishing success, and this course, with feature and travel writer Sue White, will show you how it’s done. Over two classes you’ll learn how to refine and tailor your pitches to different audiences, how to sell your expertise, and how to better understand what editors want.

Note: Completion of Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers is a prerequisite for enrolling in Perfecting Your Pitch.

Here’s some feedback from recent participants:
"The workshopping of pitches was very helpful. I will be applying what I learnt to my job as a PR person and for future freelance work it's definitely worthwhile. Sue is very experienced, very approachable and friendly."
- Naomi Joyce

"I really enjoyed this course as it was so focused on one aspect of freelancing, which has helped me to focus my efforts and work to really improve the way I am planning and pitching.

"I have reorganised my story ideas and how I track them, with a clear separation from blog and article ideas. I am approaching pitching completely differently and have set clear goals of what I want to achieve from here."
- Nimmity Zappert

Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursdays 28 April & 5 May 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Awesome book trailer: "Texter" by Amber MacArthur
I recently chatted to Canadian broadcaster, podcaster, speaker and author of "Power Friending", Amber MacArthur. You can view my video interview of her here.

I really love Amber's book trailer. It's clever and innovative and certainly makes you curious about Amber and her book. Fans of "Dexter" will love it as it's her version of the distinctive opening credits of the show. You can view that here.





What we’re reading
This week our wonderful Feature Writing and Travel Writing presenter, Sue White, is reading The Brain that Changes Itself. 

I found myself so engrossed in this international bestseller that I knocked over the  300+ pages in only a week! Author Norman Doidge manages to make the world of neuroscience enthralling, without dumbing down the content for the scientifically challenged.

The premise? The brain is plastic, which means that our potential to learn and change is expansive. Doidge has an ability to find intriguing case studies of plasticity being used to help everyone from stroke patients to children with learning disabilities, and he gives numerous examples of how taking advantage of brain plasticity can help us move past our fears, addictions and general neuroses. If there’s a downside to this read, it’s the gory details regarding the animal experiments many of the featured neurologists use to make their scientific breakthroughs. I found myself cringing at a few scenarios of poor old chimps with amputated fingers. 

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: Boost Marketing
The last few weeks we’ve been telling you about the blogs of our judges for our first ever Best Australian Blogs Competition. This week, we’ll look at Joel Norton’s blog for Boost Marketing.

Joel is a strong advocate of blogging for business, and so will be judging the business blog category of the competition. And he’s uniquely placed to do this - he’s been blogging at Boost Marketing for a while now and he’s also a feature blogger for Dynamic Business.

Boost Marketing is the place to go for marketing tips and news about the latest business developments. There are regular posts on everything from cloud computing to online marketing and work/life balance. Who knows - you may even find the inspiration to improve your own business blog!

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – FULL
When:
Week beginning Monday 18 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman – FULL
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: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 11 May 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 12 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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 16 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale – NEW DATE
When:
Thursday 2 June 2011 and Thursday 9 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 2 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Daytime How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 7 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Daytime Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 8 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
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
When:
Wednesday 22 June 2011 and Wednesday 29 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Writing Books for Young Adults and Children with Judith Ridge – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 22 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 23 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 30 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

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



7 April 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011
I’ve been poring over the program for the Sydney Writers’ Festival (pictured right checking out the SWF website). We love the Festival and can’t wait to see you all there! We’ll be chatting to our favourite authors and reporting back to you on what’s hot and what’s not.

In the meantime, this morning I was chatting to a program manager at one of the universities. We have both been tearing our hair out at some of the written communication you see in the business world these days. Some of it is terrible.

This could be because it’s simply not taught in some schools or unis, lazy habits resulting from the SMS-driven world we live in, or a lack of managers who have good written skills themselves.

That’s why I’m so passionate about our one-day seminar, Writing Letters and Emails.

Letters and emails are the cornerstone of business communication these days. And yet so many people can get this wrong. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression so if you or your team need some structure and guidelines on how to write emails and letters, this seminar is ideal.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





WHAT IS THAT?! An interrobang
Have you ever heard of an interrobang?! Do you think it’s overkill when you see a sentence with a question mark and exclamation mark at the end like this?! Well, an interrobang (pictured) is a symbol that combines the two.

The interrobang was invented in 1962 by Martin Speckler, who was head of a US advertising agency. He proposed the single punctuation mark in a magazine about typography and some early terms for what became the interrobang were “exclarotive” and “exclamaquest”. It even found its way on to some typewriters in the late 60s and early 70s.

While the interrobang never really took off, it seems to have found favour with the State Library of New South Wales in Australia, who chose it as its logo?!






What’s new this week at the Centre:





TIP: What’s a comma splice? And should you use it?
You may not recognise a comma splice immediately, but you’ll notice the clunky sentence it creates. A comma splice is when a comma is used to join two complete sentences, creating a run-on sentence. For example:

Rambo is very proud of his new coat, it keeps him warm.

Here’s another example from English Grammar for Dummies:

The professor sat sedately on his sofa inhaling the fragrance of the roses, coffee dripped quietly from his saucer onto the cat.

You can see straight away there’s something wrong with that sentence. In both examples commas have been used where a full stop or semi-colon should be.

Rambo is very proud of his new coat; it keeps him warm.

The professor sat sedately on his sofa inhaling the fragrance of the roses. Coffee dripped quietly from his saucer onto the cat.






Join us for your daytime Creative Writing course
The end of daylight savings has brought with it a sudden change of season in Sydney and it looks like winter is on the way. So now that you’re not spending your days outside soaking up the sun, why not join our daytime intensive creative writing course with Jeni Mawter?
 
If you dream of writing fiction – shorts stories or novels – this course will show you how to draw inspiration from your world and put it in words. The course will cover all the essential elements of a great story – character, plot, structure – and will also show you how to generate ideas.
 
Here’s what some recent participants had to say about Jeni:
"Jeni was great! The way she teaches is so easy to understand and so enjoyable. I had so much fun listening, writing, talking, and I loved all of her advice and motivation and everything she taught us. This course was perfect for me."
– Chantelle Ravenswood

"Try and get on a course with Jeni! She's great - inspirational and really helpful. She really knows her stuff and is fun and friendly!"
– Jennifer Jamieson

DAYTIME INTENSIVE Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Monday 11 April to Friday 15 April (five consecutive mornings)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More Student Success
It’s been a big month for many of our former participants and this week we have even more good news!
 
First, Laura Clarke, who completed our Writing Books for Children and Young Adults course and the Self-Publishing seminar. She has now co-published a book – My Grandmother’s Kitchen – and secured a distribution deal! Here’s what she wrote to us.
 
“I wanted to write and tell you about the success we have had with our new release My Grandmother's Kitchen as we did your course on Self Publishing back in 2008 and it set us on the right path.

The book charts the lives and recipes of 19 grandmothers from all over the world, sharing their wisdom and delicious dishes with the next generation. The 20th chapter has been left blank for the reader to fill in for a special mother or grandmother in their own lives.

I also did the Sydney Writers' Centre course called  'How to Market Your Book' in 2009 which was very helpful when it came to marketing. We have just signed an Australia-wide distribution deal for the first run and we have been approached by several large publishers so who knows what the future holds?”

 
Congratulations Laura! The book sounds great and we can’t wait to hear more about it.
 
We also heard from former Feature Writing participant, Kees Bakhuyzen. Since completing the course he’s been busy writing and has just had a full-page article published in The Australian. Here’s what he had to say:
 
"I have used everything taught in the courses – I’ve written and edited articles, done a lot of proofreading, drafted texts for print media as well as intranet content, and written media releases.

"What I like so much about the Sydney Writers’ Centre is that not only do you have great and very experienced course presenters, but you also meet so many interesting people. I got my job at ING through a girl I met at the Business Writing seminar on 1 June last year, and we just bumped into each other and decided to catch up soon for lunch. Great that I found so much support in all of this during the seminar!"


Congratulations Kees! This is a great achievement.





How to get paid for writing articles
If you’d like to see your writing featured in a major Australian newspaper, like Kees, then don’t miss our next Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers course with Sue White. This course, one of our most popular, will show you how to take your story ideas and turn them into a published feature article.

You’ll learn how to generate story ideas, how to structure a great feature article, what editors look for, and how to get paid for your writing.

Here’s what recent participant, Diana Timmins said about the course:
“The entire course was so enjoyable that it is difficult to pin-point one particular aspect. There is honestly not one tiny bit of negative or constructive criticism I could give on Sue. She created a warm space from the very second we opened, making sure everyone felt comfortable to speak up and be heard - right to the very close of the weekend. No-one's opinion, comment or thought was more or less important than anyone else's. No matter what part of the writing journey the participant was on, Sue treated each and every one of us with the same level of respect.”
- Diana Timmins

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.




Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize
Want to win $5,000? One of Australia’s most generous short story prizes is now accepting entries. The Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Award is held annually by the Australian Book Review and has recently been renamed to honour the late Australian author.
 
Previously unpublished short stories between 2000 and 5000 words long will be accepted from writers of any age. Four prizes will be awarded - $5000 and publication for first prize, and three shortlisted prizes of $1000 and publication in the October issue of Australian Book Review. The entry fee is $16 (or $12 if you are a subscriber to ABR). Entries close on Thursday 30 June 2011.

Click here for more information and an entry form.







WORDWISE: Memento or Momento?
I recently heard an argument about whether the word is correctly spelt “memento” or “momento”. A memento is something that serves as a reminder of what is past, such as a souvenir. It can also mean something serving as a warning or reminder. It comes from the Latin mementō meaning “to remember”.

If you remember the movie that Guy Pearce starred in, it was called “Memento” with a “e”. The word snobs among us insist that it should be spelt with an “e”. But, if you’re ever in a fight about it at the office water cooler, just pull out your trusty Macquarie Dictionary, which does confirm that “memento” is the correct spelling but also lists “momento”.

It seems the spelling “momento” has come about because of its association with “moment”. While many people still consider it a misspelling, it has snuck into general use and some dictionaries. We suggest that you stick with the original spelling, “memento”.






Writing for the Web
A good website is one people want to visit again – it will be easy to read, easy to navigate, and visitors will be able to find what they want, quickly. To achieve this for your own website, you need to know the golden rules of Writing for the Web.

When customers visit your website they want to read clear, concise and engaging content. It’s not enough to write the same way you would for a print brochure. In just one day, we can show you how to write that content for your website.

Here’s what some recent participants had to say about the seminar:
"I loved that the seminar was so interactive and allowed the participants to use real-life examples from our workplace. It was very practical. Grant was engaging and well-informed on the topic."
– Sharon Troy

"I found the whole day to be very enjoyable and beneficial to me with my current job, and I liked that we could use examples from our workplace. Grant was great! He had a very good knowledge and understanding of the web and how it's not always used correctly in the workplace."
– Catherine Zsifko

Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 12 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 our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. Rose writes:

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey is an exquisitely written book. The story focuses on the challenges Oscar Hopkins and Lucinda Leplastier face before they come to New South Wales in the early years of the colony of Sydney, their meeting on the boat on the way to Australia, and their evolving relationship once here. Lucinda and Oscar are superbly written characters. Despite their eccentricities they remain sympathetic and you really do want them to sort themselves out and get together.

That said, I loathed the ending. Despite being entirely feasible, the falling apart that the book promised from the beginning was devastating. And for me, not devastating in a good way. The book plummeted several appreciation points in my estimation between the middle and the end.

But overall, the book is well worth reading. With significant subplots of religious, feminist and early Sydney interest, this book paints a vivid picture of what Sydney once was and the preciousness of individual lives.


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: Mummytime
This week we’re featuring another judge in our Best Australian Blogs Competition - Brenda Gaddi, who’ll be judging the Lifestyle Category.

Brenda is kept busy as a stay-at-home mum to four kids, so it’s incredible she finds the time to not only blog, but also set up the social networking site, Aussie Mummy Bloggers, and run the Aussie Bloggers Conference. She blogs at Mummytime, which she appropriately describes as “misc ramblings of an almost grown-up”.

Of course, there are lots of posts on being a mum. There are also some guest posts from some of her Mummy Blogger friends. All of them are very funny and a great way to while away the hours!

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 18 April 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman – FULL
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
When
: Thursday 5 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

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

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale – NEW DATE
When:
Thursday 2 June 2011 and Thursday 9 June 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: 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

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 30 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

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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