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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.

30 June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011
In this issue:
  • VIDEO: My interview with the amazing
    Kerri Sackville
  • TIP: Complicated vs Complex
  • Take your writing to the next level – Creative
    Writing Stage 2
  • More Student Success
  • Pitch to a publisher!
  • What we’re reading: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
  • WEBPICK: Pottermore

Thanks so much to all of you who commented or emailed your feedback about our new look online magazine, Writing Bar. We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to share our resources and articles with you. We’re also including videos – check out my interview with the talented Kerri Sackville (pictured right), uber-blogger and author of When My Husband Does the Dishes: A Memoir of Marriage and Motherhood. You’ll find it here.

Kerri has successfully carved a niche not only as a blogger but also as a freelance writer. If you’ve completed Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers, you’re probably ready to take the next step and pitch your ideas to editors.

To maximise your “strike rate”, I suggest our two-week course Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White. In my many years as an editor, I’ve received countless pitches from aspiring freelancers. Without a doubt, Sue’s pitches rank up there as the best. That’s why I know she is the perfect person to teach this course.

You’ll learn how to:

  • overcome common hurdles that occur in the pitching stage
  • write a pitch that will result in a commission from the editor
  • refine and tailor a pitch to a specific audience or publication
  • keep your confidence levels high during the pitching process
  • sell your expertise on a given topic as part of your pitch
  • better understand the needs of editors when they are selecting stories
  • develop a "how to" process that works when selling your stories
  • develop a step-by-step approach to transform your pitching "hit rate"
  • and MUCH more

Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursdays 13 & 20 July 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Complicated vs complex
This question came to us from one of our Writing Bar readers, Jane. She wants to know what the difference is between complicated and complex and should you say “the task is complicated” or “the task is complex”.
 
The Macquarie Dictionary gives both words almost identical meanings. They both essentially mean “folded together, intertwined, difficult to separate”. And they are difficult to separate!

However, "complicated" has the added nuance of being "difficult to analyse, explain or understand". So in Jane’s example, the answer is: it depends.

Chances are that the complicated task is also a complex one. However, a task can be very complex but may not be complicated because it may be able to be understood/explained in a systematic way (despite its complexity!)

Now you can all sleep.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre




Take your writing to the next level
If you’ve completed Creative Writing Stage 1 or Writing Books for Children and Young Adults you’re well on your way to writing better fiction. But if you need a little more motivation and would like to expand on the skills you’ve already learnt, then Creative Writing Stage 2 is your next step.
 
This is a practical workshopping course that will give you an opportunity to get valuable feedback on your writing. You’ll finish this course feeling even more inspired and motivated!
 
Here’s what past participants say:
"I really benefited from the course and the feedback I received has given me the motivation and confidence to continue with my project."
- Tracey Jordan

"I enjoyed the opportunity to get feedback from the presenter and sharing my work with like minded people. It has really given me the courage to move forward with my book."
- Hera McCaffery

The course is taught by Jeni Mawter, the author of the hilarious “So” series for kids. Her latest book is Snugglebump Jump.
 
Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Student Success
It’s been a big week for some of our former students. We heard from two of them who’ve had success in different areas of writing.
 
First, feature writing graduate Jennifer Morton, had her first article published in Australian Family magazine. Here’s what she wrote:
 
Thank you so much; I couldn't have done it without your knowledgeable and practical course! I recommend SWC to all my writing friends. I think my writing group are sick of me saying, "Valerie says…".
 
We then heard from Danielle Burns. She did Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter in January this year and has just won her first writing award! Here’s what she wrote:
 
I have just returned from another whirlwind trip to sunny Sydney to collect first prize in the Black Dog Institute 2011 writing competition! Please pass on my thanks to Jeni for her encouragement. Keep up the good work!!
 
Congratulations Jennifer and Danielle! We can’t wait to hear more about your writing success.





Your chance to talk to publishers
If you have a manuscript that’s ready to be pitched to a publisher, check out Pitch Perfect at the Byron Bay Writers' Festival.

Six authors will be selected to pitch their project to a panel of Australian publishers at the festival on Saturday 6 August. Entries are open now and close on Thursday 7 July 2011.
 
For all the details and an entry form click here.





More apostrophe abuse
Thanks to Ambra Sancin for sending in this doozy.



She wrote: “I'm so used to seeing the dreaded apostrophe crop up in plurals these days, but this one
was a surprise!”
 
It was a surprise to us too!





Write your travel memoir
Who doesn’t love reading a good travel memoir? And publishers love them because readers love them. Just look at the success of Eat, Pray, Love. If you’ve taken your own life-changing journey, or are planning one, you too could turn your travels into a book.

Award-winning author and journalist Claire Scobie will show you how you can turn your travel tales into a memoir. This five-week course is perfect for new writers or for anyone who wants to turn their writing skills to travel memoir.

Packed with plenty of exercises, this intensive course will show you how to structure your travel memoir, how to make it unique from the first page, and how to write a compelling book proposal. You’ll also look at popular genres of travel writing and much more.

Here’s what past participants say:
"It was truly enjoyable. I never knew I could learn so much about travel memoir writing and Claire was excellent!"
- Beverly Pang

"Claire is an excellent teacher. It was great to have a presenter who has been published in the field.”
- Katherine Hill

Claire Scobie is the author of Last Seen in Lhasa, winner of the Dolman Best Travel Book Award. She writes for numerous publications in Australia and the UK.

Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Did you know?
On 16 June readers around the world celebrated the life of James Joyce and his modern masterpiece, Ulysses. Known as Bloomsday, after the main protagonist of Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, events included readings, plays and, for those who haven’t read the book, pub crawls.

Joyce is most well-known for Ulysses, but did you know his final novel, Finnegan’s Wake, was actually written down by Samuel Beckett as Joyce dictated? Joyce was nearly blind when Finnegan’s Wake was written and much of it was taken down by Beckett, who unfortunately had limited hearing! Some scholars think this may have contributed to the impenetrable nature of the book.  






Writing for the Web
For many businesses their website will be the first place potential customers will visit. We all know how important first impressions are so getting your website right should be a major priority for any business – big or small.

Writing for the web is not like writing for print. Your website copy needs to give visitors the information they’re searching for in a clear and concise way. You may already be a confident writer, but there are some golden rules you need to follow if you’re going to turn your hand to writing for your website. Our one-day seminar, Writing for the Web, will show you those rules and help you ensure your website is accessible and usable.

Here’s what past participants say:
"A really good course on writing for the web that enables participants to become much more effective web communicators."
- Kate Healey

"Excellent tips and framework provided on how to write for the web. Grant was great!"
- Erin Roger

This seminar is taught by Grant Doyle, an experienced copywriter, content manager and web editor. Grant's background is as a print journalist and author and he has spent the last 11 years in web writing.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Confectionary or confectionery?
Thanks to Jenny Maclennan who sent us this alert. She wrote about a major online news site that referred to a "confectionary" company.

Jenny wrote: Spelling alarm! Correct spelling for that is "confectionery".

Jenny’s right – the Macquarie Dictionary lists the spelling as “confectionery”. We couldn’t find any listing for “confectionary”!







AA is a word!
If you’re like us and addicted to Words with Friends (the iPhone app that lets you play scrabble with other word lovers) you’ll understand why we were so excited to discover that “aa” is a word! According to dictionary.com it means “basaltic lava having a rough surface”, though you won’t find it in the Macquarie Dictionary.

If you’re a Words with Friends player, what weird and wonderful words have you discovered during your games? Share your thoughts here.







What we’re reading
This week our course manager, Danielle Williams, is reading The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Danielle writes:

"The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas was possibly the most talked about book of 2009. And in just the first chapter, it’s easy to see why. One act, the slapping of a child, forces eight people to confront their own values and question whether a slap can ever be justified.

"The characters represent a typically multicultural Aussie suburbia. Christos doesn’t hold back with his characters – even when we might sympathise with them it’s hard not to find the actions of some repulsive. There’s a lot to think about reading this book and a lot to digest. It’s difficult to say you like a book when you’re struggling to identify with some of the characters, but The Slap is so well written and so thought provoking that it’s easy to see why it received the praise it did.
 
"I’m hooked and dying to know the outcome, so I expect there are a few late reading nights ahead of me." 

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: Pottermore
Think the Harry Potter craze will end with the final movie? J K Rowling’s books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide so it’s not likely Harry will fade away. Instead, the stories will live on through Pottermore, an interactive website that will give fans a chance to visit Hogwarts themselves and read new chapters online.

Pottermore won’t be released until October this year but you can register now. You may even get access to the site early with the beta version due to be released 31 July 2011. You can read more about it at the Writing Bar.









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

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter
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 – FULL
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

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

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Wednesday 13 July 2011 and Wednesday 20 July 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 14 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 July 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 18 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 25 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 27 July 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 28 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Tuesday 9 August 2011 and Tuesday 16 August 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 10 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 11 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495 

Seminar: Sell Your Ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Tuesday 16 August 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 17 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 18 August 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 24 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $450

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 22 September 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – NEW COURSE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 6 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Thursday 6 October and Friday 7 October 2011 (two-day course)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Valerie Khoo – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Thursday 6 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

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

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Saturday 8 October and Sunday 9 October 2011 (two-day course)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

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

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

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

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


23 June 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Learned or learnt?
  • Melbourne week – dates and courses confirmed
  • Want editors to say yes? Learn how to
    Perfect Your Pitch
  • Welcome to the Writing Bar
  • Writing Competition – win a trip to LA!
  • Turn clumsy writing into gold – Edit
    with Confidence
  • What we’re reading: Tolkein’s Gown by Rick Gekoski
  • WEBPICK: The Reading Room

It’s great to be back in Sydney, after being stranded in Chile last week thanks to the volcano. There’s so much going on at the Centre – it’s certainly a buzzing place to be! I’m excited to tell you that … we love Melbourne. So we’re coming to visit. From Thursday 6 to Saturday 9 October this year. So save those dates in your diary and have a look at the courses you can choose from.

Thanks to our Melbourne friends who completed our survey about which courses to bring with us. We’ve heard you – and these are the results:

  • Life writing
  • Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers
  • Travel Writing
  • Professional Business Writing
  • How to write a Business Book

We’re so excited about being able to share our courses with you. Thanks to all our South Australian friends who’ve told us they’re going to make the trip east to join our courses too!

For more information on our Melbourne courses, click here.






Would you like to work directly with me?
Would you like to work directly with me and the team here at the Sydney Writers’ Centre? Well, if you’re a budding feature writer/journalist, we have an incredible opportunity. Our internship program is now open.

To find out more click here.
Applications close Monday 27 June 2011
.






TIP: Learned or learnt?
What have you learned in your creative writing course? Or should that be what have you learnt? Well, these words are interchangeable and your choice of which one to use will come down to regional considerations. American English tends to favour the –ed version, or learned, while British English will use –t, or learnt.

This is the case with a number of past tense verbs.

For example:

American English
British English
Dreamed Dreamt
Spelled  Spelt 
Leaned  Leant 
Spoiled  Spoilt 





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
Click here to watch the video




How to get editors to say YES – Perfecting Your Pitch
You’ve got a fantastic idea for a feature article, you may have even written it, but how do you convince an editor to publish it? Pitching is as important a skill as writing when you’re a freelance writer. Knowing how to approach an editor and what to send them will immediately give you an advantage when you start your writing career.

Our two-week course, Perfecting Your Pitch, is the perfect follow-up to Feature Writing Stage 1. It will show you how to write the perfect pitch, how to sell your expertise, how to improve your pitching “hit rate”, and how to get editors to say “yes” to your story ideas.

Here’s what past participants say:
"Excellent course. I loved the way it was divided into a first session, full of information, and a more practical and interactive second session."
- Kees Bakhuijzen

"I have gained the confidence to get out there and pitch to editors and not fear that I am making a fool of myself."
- Catherine Brazil

This course is taught by Sue White, a successful feature writer and travel writer whose work has been published in magazines and online publications in Australia and overseas.

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

Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursdays 13 & 20 July 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Welcome to the Writing Bar
We have a new-look blog! We're excited to announce the launch of the Writing Bar, an online magazine on writing, creativity and words. After six years, we've given our "old" blog a gold watch and it's now retired.

At Writing Bar, you'll find a wealth of resources including podcasts with authors, book reviews, current writing competition information and interviews from the Sydney Writers' Festival. The best part is that you'll be able to comment and connect via Twitter and Facebook as well.

We'll be uploading new content regularly from now on, so let us know if you have any writing questions you need answered!

Meanwhile, check out my latest post on “How to make a motza as a freelance feature writer” here.





Student Success – Frank Wiffen
This week we heard from Online Creative Writing graduate, Frank Wiffen. He’s just had a successful run at Hornsby Local Theatre with his play “Shopping with Harry”. It was one of 8 plays featured in the “Shorts on Stage” show.

Here’s what Frank emailed us about the part the online course played in his development as a writer:

"'Shopping with Harry' was originally a story called 'Cubicle'. One thing I learned in the writing course was to revise, revise, revise. After about 40 or so revisions I experimented with turning it into a play. Boy did that make it come alive!"

Congratulations Frank! We hope this is the first of many plays.

Congratulations also to Ken Williams, who won our editing competition in Get Published, 2 June. He won a book pack that includes Tabloid Man by Sandra Hall, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, and Unsung Ordinary Men by Sally Dingo. Happy reading, Ken!






Turn clumsy writing into gold – Edit with Confidence
Editing is all about ensuring your documents are clear, concise and free of errors. It needn’t be a tedious task, but there are some important ground rules you need to know to ensure your editing tasks can be done efficiently and consistently.
 
If you’re editing documents at work you could be working on anything from letters to annual reports. The tips you’ll learn in our Edit with Confidence seminar will help you improve all of these documents, saving you time and transforming even the most clumsy writing.

This seminar is suitable for anyone who edits documents at work or is interested in learning how to edit effectively.

Here’s what past participants say:
"Thank you, I have benefited immensely from this seminar. I now have some great tips to improve my skills in my work place."
- Greti Willett

“Deb's teaching style kept me engaged all day – her knowledge and the interactive nature of the course were the standouts!"
- Janeece Keller

This seminar is taught by Deb Doyle. She’s an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor and teaches a number of grammar and editing seminars at the Sydney Writers’ Centre.

Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 29 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Writing Competition – win a trip to LA or Fiji!
Who said culture and sport don’t mix? If you’re looking for a way to flex your creative writing muscles here’s a competition that will definitely challenge!

Record is the official magazine of the AFL game and they’re looking for the best short stories on AFL in 2022. Prizes include flights to Los Angeles, Fiji, or anywhere in Australia. The best story will be published in the 2011 Grand Final issue of Record.

Click here for all the details.





The Tree of Life movie tickets
The Tree of Life, starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, made a big impact at the recent Cannes Film Festival going on to win the prestigious Palme d’Or. The film chronicles the origins and meaning of life through the eyes of a 1950's Texas family and has been described as “a grandiose cinematic symphony”.

If you’d like to win one of five double passes to see The Tree of Life, just tell us which movie featured at Cannes you’d like to see, and why. Email your answers to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm 30 June 2011.




Online Kids’ Books
If you want to learn how to take younger readers to another world, don’t miss out on our next online course in Writing Books for Children and Young Adults. Young people love to read and there’s no shortage of publishing opportunities for kids’ book writers – if they write a book that will engage and entertain their readers.

This five-week course will reveal what techniques you need to know and how to apply them to your writing. You’ll discover how to find the right voice, how to write believable dialogue and how to structure your story. You’ll also discuss the children’s book publishing market and how you could be a part of it.

The best thing about this course? You can do it from home at a time that suits you! You’ll just need an internet connection and a few hours a week.

Here’s what past participants said about the course:
"The thing I found most enjoyable about the course was the fact I could do it at home, online. Loved it!"
- Kate Griffith

"I really enjoyed having a reason to write again and looked forward to feedback every week. I found it really motivating and this course has inspired me to spend more time on my writing."
- Alison Millar

ONLINE COURSE: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Week beginning Monday 4 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Did you know? In the doghouse
I have two dogs in my household, and I can assure you they sometimes find themselves “in the doghouse”. Actually, you rarely use the saying “he’s in the doghouse” about a dog. More often than not it’s referring to a person (often a man!). If you’re in the doghouse it means you’re in trouble, and unlikely to redeem yourself easily!

The saying has a literary origin. In J M Barrie’s 1904 book, Peter Pan, the children’s father, Mr Darling, treats the family dog, Nana, quite badly. As punishment, Mr Darling’s wife sends him to live in Nana’s doghouse. And the phrase has been used ever since.







What we’re reading
This week our course manager, Danielle Williams, is reading Tolkein’s Gown & other stories of great authors and rare books by Rick Gekoski. Danielle writes:

"As a book lover it’s hard not to get excited about Tolkein’s Gown & other stories of great authors and rare books by Rick Gekoski. It turns out the stories behind the publication of some classic books can be as engaging as the book’s themselves! Rick is a rare-book dealer and his focus is first editions of classic 20th century books. In his own book, he tells the fascinating stories behind books such as Lolita by Nabokov, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and one of my favourite books, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

This is such a fun read, and educational. Any student or reader of modern classics would benefit from this. Rick can be bit of a snob – at one stage he confidently claims he wouldn’t like anyone who doesn’t get excited by a Sylvia Plath book personally inscribed to Ted Hughes – but I personally find that charming (and a little amusing). I’d definitely recommend this book to any lover of literature."

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 Reading Room
The Reading Room is an online community of readers, a kind of virtual book club. Once you join (membership is free) you can set up your own bookshelf, offer recommendations to other readers, and join discussions on books.

It’s easy to set up your own account and once you do, you’ll have access to various book clubs (there are book clubs on fantasy, crime, and even a Vampire Lovers book club), and will be sent recommendations according to what’s in your bookshelf.

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – FULL
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 27 June 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 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 28 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 29 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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 – FULL
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter
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 – FULL
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Monday 11 July 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Wednesday 13 July 2011 and Wednesday 20 July 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 14 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 July 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 25 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 27 July 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 28 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding – NEW DATE
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett – NEW DATE
When:
Tuesday 9 August 2011 and Tuesday 16 August 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Sell Your Ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 16 August 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 17 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $450

Course: Writing a Picture Book with Cathie Tasker – NEW COURSE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 6 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Thursday 6 October and Friday 7 October 2011 (two-day course)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Thursday 6 October 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Friday 8 October 2011 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 1.00pm
Cost: $295

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

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White – MELBOURNE COURSE
When
: Saturday 8 October and Sunday 9 October 2011 (two-day course)
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

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

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

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


16 June 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011
In this issue:

  • Hello from Santiago in Chile
  • How to write for the web
  • It’s tax time - get deductions for your courses
  • TIP: “wherein” and “whereby”
  • How to write a screenplay
  • TIP: Is “couple” singular or plural?
  • Internship opportunity for aspiring feature writers/journalists
  • One-day seminar - How to get publicity


Hello from Santiago in Chile. I'm currently stranded here thanks to the volcano that's causing havoc with so many flights around the world. Santiago was certainly not on my list of destinations this trip but here I am! I've taken the opportunity to check out the local arts scene and the country's rich literary history. That's me pictured at the former house of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Spending a lot of time on planes means I've also been busy reading. I've just finished a business book called "Content Rules" by Ann Handley and CC Chapman (yes, I like to mix it up a bit). It's a practical book about how important it is for businesses to create online content, ranging from articles to blogs posts, ebooks and web pages.

The book is full of ideas you can use but it's also important to remember that, while you are writing for the web, there are certain rules you need to follow. 

It's very different to writing for traditional print materials, such as brochures or annual reports. When you're writing for the web, your sentences need to be scannable and follow the golden rules of information design. That's why I know our seminar "Writing for the Web" is so powerful. If you don't know the right "rules" for writing for the web, then your efforts could be in vain. 


This practical seminar covers:

  • the difference between print and online writing
  • golden rules of information design
  • guidelines for concise writing
  • do you need contextual links?
  • using keywords for search engine optimisation
  • writing for accessibility and usability
  • and much more.

Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.







TIP: Using “wherein” and “whereby” in writing
Business writers find it difficult to resist the temptation to replace small words with big ones, and that’s fine when they get it right. Two words I see popping up often in more formal writing are “wherein” and “whereby”. They’re not interchangeable, but some writers seem to think they are.  

Wherein is a very formal way of saying “in which”. For example:

You should discuss the letter with your boss wherein he asks all staff to take their leave.

Whereby means “by which way or method”. For example:

We should arrange a meeting whereby everyone can learn about the new courses.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Filling fast: Sell Your Ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis, 21 June.

  • Our Book Club is meeting today for a chat about The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht, and cake. 

  • Our podcast with one of the Anonymums authors, Mum A, is now online.

  • Filling fast: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter, starts 27 June. 

  • Sydney Writers' Festival video: We talk to Man Booker Prize Winner 2010 Howard Jacobson. Check out the video here.

Click here to watch the video




It’s tax time - can you deduct your courses with us?
With the end of the financial year fast approaching, this might be a good time to book into courses where you can claim a tax deduction for the fees.

If your course helps you in your line of work, chances are that you’ll be able to claim it in this financial year. Of course, talk to your accountant to see if you can take advantage of this.







How to write a screenplay
Feeling inspired by the current Sydney Film Festival to write your own movie? Or are you working on an idea for the next Tropfest, or short film festival? If you want to get your idea out of your head and on to the page, our Screenwriting Stage 1 course is for you.

This course will teach you the three fundamental elements of a good script – character, story and structure – while also giving you the chance to workshop your writing. You’ll discover how to structure your story, how to write characters people want to watch, and how to engage your audience. By the end of the course, you should have a first draft of your film script!

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"Tim was excellent – very practical and very helpful. He set a goal of each one of us writing a short film script and helped us along that journey by reviewing and providing feedback. He was able to simplify the process of writing for screen as opposed to a novel. The Sydney Writers' Centre offer very practical courses with experienced and wonderful teachers. It will get you motivated and inspired!"
- Kalppana Sundaralingam

"I definitely came away with knowledge of a process that I did not possess when I first started. I also have a broad overall knowledge of how to go about writing a script. Tim has plenty of industry knowledge and his editorial skills are excellent."
- David Owens

This course is taught by Tim Gooding. He writes for stage, film and television. He has written television drama – Rafferty’s Rules, Blue Heelers, Stingers, Water Rats, All Saints – and comedy – The Aunty Jack Show, The Norman Gunston Show, Wollongong The Brave, Ratbags. He also devised and co-wrote the ABC TV series Sweet and Sour. Tim’s feature film credits include Heatwave and On the Loose. He is the recipient of a “Distinctly Australian” Writer’s Fellowship from the Australian Film Commission.

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When
: Mondays starting Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Internship opportunity for aspiring feature writers/journalists
Would you like to learn from the best? Are you interested in journalism and writing? Do you want to be part of the team at Australia's leading writers' centre?

We have a rare opportunity for an intern at the Sydney Writers' Centre at Milsons Point. You'll get to work as part of our team producing an exciting new online magazine – all about writing, books and creativity. You must be in at least your second year of journalism studies at uni or higher and have a passion for feature writing, interviewing people and crafting articles.

You'll hone your writing skills, meet successful authors and work directly with the talented team at the Centre and with me, Valerie Khoo – journalist and director of the Sydney Writers' Centre. This is a unique opportunity for a self-starting individual who can work independently but who also thrives on guidance from a professional writer.

If you can commit to at least two days a week (or more), internships run in four-week blocks with the opportunity to extend. Apply by sending your resume, information about the courses you have studied and at least three samples of your writing to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au.

Applications close Monday 27 June 2011.






TIP: Is “couple” singular or plural?
One of our readers emailed us wanting to know why he often hears news readers say something like, “the couple was arrested at the scene” rather than “the couple were arrested at the scene”.

Both versions are actually correct. So which should you use? This depends on whether you treat the word "couple" as singular or plural. This is often dictated by the house style of a publication or news room.

For example, The Economist magazine treats the word "couple" as a plural. So it would use: "The couple were arrested at the scene."

However, Flinders University's Style Guide states that "couple" is treated as singular because it's a noun that names a group. So it would use: "The couple was arrested at the scene."

Both versions are acceptable.





Join us on LinkedIn
Are you part of LinkedIn? We are!

The Sydney Writers' Centre community group offers members the chance to discuss their professional writing challenges, and meet one another. If you loved studying at the Sydney Writers' Centre, we'd love for you to head on over and let everyone know exactly why the course you did with us improved your writing. You can do so here.

Thank you!





How to get publicity - PR and Media Releases that get Results
Getting publicity for your business doesn’t need to cost the earth. Putting together a great PR strategy and improving your company’s bottom line can be done even if you’re not a PR expert. You just need the right tools!
 
Our one-day seminar PR and Media Releases that get Results is an intensive yet enjoyable day. The tools you’ll learn apply across many industries, so whether you’re part of a larger company, you’re running your own business, or working for a not-for-profit, this seminar will give you the confidence to develop your own publicity strategy.

By the end of the day you’ll know how to determine your target audience, how to write a great press release, and how to deal with journalists. You’ll also learn about using online strategies and the benefits of contributing articles to publications.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
“The seminar set out beautifully the steps to media releases and pitches – it was just what I needed. Catriona was well presented and interested in what we had to say. She gave lots of advice and ideas.”
- Colleen Filippa
 
“Catriona generously shared her golden IP. It was a day chock full of golden information and advice. She shared her knowledge in a way tailored to each person. The presenters at the Sydney Writers’ Centre are experts in their field and are very generous in sharing their experience and knowledge. I look forward to the next course!”
- Linda Chaousis

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

PR and Media Releases that get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 23 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Like poetry? You could receive $20,000
The UTS Centre for New Writing and the NSW government (through Arts NSW) is now accepting applications for the 2011 Sydney City Poet. This is a unique opportunity for a local poet to write for various public occasions and events, and represent poetry in the community. They’re looking for emerging poets who can demonstrate literary excellence and can commit to working on a part-time basis for one year.
 
In return, the Sydney City Poet will receive a stipend of $20,000 for the year and have a chance to see their poems published. The successful poet will also be involved in delivering workshops and seminars, and giving public readings.
 
Applications close on Thursday 28 July 2011.

For more details on how to apply click here.





When words aren’t really words
Watching television recently I noticed something – advertisers are making up words! OK, so that’s really not big news. It is interesting to note though how many words are used in marketing that aren’t in the dictionary. Well, not yet – who knows, maybe they’ll get there eventually.

Anyway, here are just a few I’ve noticed that aren’t listed in the Macquarie English Dictionary:

Volumise – as in, “volumise your lashes”
Texturise – again, for the eyelashes

And here's a few from our twitter followers:

"Favouritise" and "Parameterise" - thanks @geoffthecrank
"EOFYS" - made popular by Foxtel for End Of Financial Year Sale. Thanks @FelicityMoore




Sydney Writers’ Festival – Did you miss it?
Missed out on the Sydney Writers’ Festival? Many of the most popular, and most controversial, sessions are now available online.

You can now download podcasts and videos through Slow TV, ABC Radio National and ABC Big Ideas. And don’t forget our interviews with many of the authors, including Howard Jacobson, David Mitchell and Michael Cunningham, which you can watch here.




Writing Books for Children
It’s not hard to introduce children to the joys of reading. There are many wonderful books available for younger readers, and their popularity is growing. Readers love the books of Morris Gleitzman, J K Rowling, and Stephanie Meyer. In fact, even adults love a good YA novel!

If you have an idea for a children’s book, or you’ve been working on a YA novel but need to know how to improve it, you just need to know the tools and techniques used by bestselling authors. Writing Books for Children and Young Adults is a five-week course that will show you how to write an engaging and entertaining story, that publishers and children will love.

During the course you’ll cover:

  • how to get started
  • finding the right voice
  • creating characters and stories young readers will enjoy
  • how to write believable dialogue
  • common assumptions about writing for children and about young readers
  • how to structure a story that works
  • the secrets to plotting for different age groups
  • and MUCH more.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"The course was a rare opportunity to share my writing with a new group of like-minded beginners, and to share their successes and insights too. Judith is friendly, supportive, wise, generous and personable! The course was certainly what I needed at this point in my writing endeavours, and it came with plenty of support material."
- Ian McLean

"Judith is a fantastic presenter, enthusiastic and passionate about children's literature and you can't help but get caught up in her enthusiasm."
- Germaine Leece

This course is taught by Judith Ridge. Judith 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 Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 22 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





What we’re reading
This week one of our readers, Mimi Parfitt, is reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Not so very long ago, black people in the south of the USA had to give up their bus seats for whites. They also attended segregated schools, churches, hospitals and grocery stores. Woolworths had a ‘whites only’ counter.

Author Kathryn Stockett shows us a closeup of this world in her first novel, The Help (Penguin, 2009). We see inside the homes of Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s. In alternating sections, written in first-person voices that convincingly conjure the south, we come to know various characters including Miss Skeeter, the single young white aspiring writer who decides to record the maids’ stories in a book about a town called ‘Niceville’.

Interviews are conducted in secret as more maids become involved, some with tales of kindness and generosity, others with tales of shameful hypocrisy. The tension that mounts when the collection finally reaches the bookshops is exquisite. By then, the reader, if human, has come to love and fear for The Help’s key characters. It’s hard to let them go when that last page is done, but there’s also the satisfying warmth of having read a richly rewarding story well told.

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: Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum
This week, we’re looking at the winner of the Lifestyle/Personal category of the Best Australian Blogs Competition. This category was won by Lori Dwyer, author of Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum.

Judge Brenda Gaddi said "I chose Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum as the overall winner for this category for the simple reason that her writing is brilliant. It's painfully raw and brutally honest.”

And it is. There’s some tough reading here but also some inspiring and uplifting posts.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
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 - 1 PLACE LEFT
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 23 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 28 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 29 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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 – FULL
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter
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 – FULL
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Wednesday 13 July 2011 and Wednesday 20 July 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 14 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 July 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

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

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 27 July 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Better Business Communications with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 17 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $450

Course: Writing a Picture Book with Cathie Tasker – NEW COURSE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 6 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

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

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

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


9 June 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Its or it’s?
  • The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog submissions
  • Avoid the cold – learn from home
  • TIP: Avoid dislocated subjects
  • Sydney event – When Genres Attack
  • What we’re reading – Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • WEBPICK: Museum of Me
Hello from sunny Rio de Janeiro. This newsletter is winging its way to you from Brazil where I'm speaking at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network conference (pictured right at the opening dinner at a lovely place in the rainforest). It's been inspiring to chat with amazing women like US-based Carley Roney, founder of online and print magazine, The Knot, on the future of online and traditional publishing. (I think both are alive and well.)

In an increasingly connected world, it doesn't matter where you live in order to communicate, connect and learn. That's why I love our online courses so much – it's wonderful that we're able to help students from all over the world, including places like Italy, France, Hong Kong, Canada and, of course, Rio!

Travelling to somewhere like Rio means I've just spent a long time on planes. I find this is a great chance for me to catch up on movies. I watched The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and The Next Three Days starring Russell Crowe. I secretly wanted to catch Fast and the Furious 5 – because it's set here in Rio (and to unleash my inner bogan) – but, unfortunately, Qantas must not have deemed it classy enough.

Having said that, Fast and the Furious 5 has consolidated its place in movie history by recording the highest April opening weekend ever. Not bad for a movie about fast cars. Whether you prefer action movies like this or more considered films, you can learn the skills to write your own film in our course Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding.

You’ll discover:

  • the ideal way to structure your story
  • what you need to include in your plot
  • how to write characters people love to watch.
  • the difference between story and plot
  • genre, style and theme – and how this applies to your screenplay
  • and MUCH more.

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Its or It's
Two of our particularly sharp-eyed readers emailed us this week to point out a typo in our book review. Here’s the error we missed:

The characterisation of both his family and the other animals he discovers and the vivid descriptions of the beauty of Corfu give this book it's wide appeal.

Did you spot it? We used the contraction it’s instead of the possessive its. This is an error we see all the time and distinguishing between it’s and its confuses a lot of people. So, here’s how they’re different.  

It’s is a contraction of it is or it has. For example:

It’s (It is) freezing in Sydney today!

Its shows possession. For example:

The kitten wants its food.

Remember – no possessive pronouns (his, hers, ours, yours) use an apostrophe. So if it owns something (and is therefore being used as a pronoun) there should be no apostrophe.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
Click here to watch the video




Write for Belle, Home & Garden and more!
Watch TV these days and it’s hard to miss Australia’s obsession with all things domestic – cooking, renovating, and home decorating are all popular and don’t the networks know it! Magazines like Belle, Home Beautiful and House & Garden are also popular, with readers and writers alike.

As part of our industry insight program, we now offer a short course in Writing about Interiors, Style and Design. It’s the perfect course for anyone who’s done the Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers and is interested in writing about architecture and design. The course is also ideal for those who work in design and would like to try their hand at writing, or for anyone who’d like an insight into the world for writing about the home.

In this two-part seminar you’ll learn about the most common types of articles magazines want, how to find features, properties and contacts, and how to find that unusual angle that could get you published.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"This course was excellent. Nigel showed a keen interest in sharing his knowledge. It's the best short writing course I have been on and wasted no time in presenting the right information for getting your work published."

- Phillip Brook

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

- Nicola Duncan

The course is taught by Nigel Bartlett, a freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years’ experience in magazines. He has written and edited interior design features for Belle, Inside Out, Real Living and other magazines. His work has included house and apartment stories, before-and-after pieces, kitchen and bathroom supplements and interviews with architects, interior designers, furniture makers and store owners.

Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When
: Wednesdays 22 June & 29 June 2011 (two evening seminars)
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog
The internet has been a boon for new and unpublished authors, with this latest online opportunity being one of the better ones we’ve found. The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog is devoting one month to short fiction. Every day in July they’ll publish a short story on their site – 31 stories in total.

There are few limitations on what they’ll accept (the only genres that won’t get a look in are fanfic and erotica) but they do have a preference for stories under 3,000 words long. Submissions will be accepted until Thursday 30 June 2011 and selected authors will be contacted for a bio and photo.

Check out the full details here.





If you’re not sure, just make it up
Thanks to Ulrike Sturm who sent us this interesting interpretation of the word “calendula”. The photo was taken outside a florist in Mona Vale in Sydney.







Book Club
Since March this year, we’ve been holding a monthly book club for a small and devoted bunch of readers. We’ve read some interesting books and had plenty of discussions about their merits – and their faults. You can read about our March book (Truth by Peter Temple) and our April book (An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin) on our blog.

We’re now into our second round of meetings for the year, and we have just two places available for new members. If you think you can read The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht by Thursday 16 June 2011, and would like to join the discussion call Danielle on 02 9929 0088. Attendance at each meeting costs $10, which will be donated in full to Doggie Rescue.

If you can’t join us but would still like to be involved, we’ll be posting regular reports on our blog and you can join the conversation there.

Sydney Writers’ Centre Book Club
When
: Thursday 16 June 2011
Time: 1.00pm - 2.30pm (we'll provide tea, coffee and nibbles)
Cost: $10 donated to Doggie Rescue

Click here for more information or to register your interest.





Avoid the cold – learn how to write for magazines from home
Think it’s too cold to go outside, even for a course? We agree, that’s why we have plenty of online opportunities coming up.

Our online courses are perfect if you’re interstate, overseas, or would just prefer to study from home. Online Feature Writing is coming up and in this course, you’ll learn the essential skills you need to write great articles and get them published.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"I enjoyed working online, the valuable information, and the enthusiastic way it was presented. The course gave up-to-date information on the industry. It was inspiring and confidence building! The online tutor was  excellent and very friendly. The online delivery meant there was no car travel or late nights and I could work from a semi-rural area. I have already recommended the course to a colleague."
- Monique de Nicola

"The best thing about the course was the format – I could listen to the modules on my mp3 player as I walked the dogs, and I could fit it into my busy life. This is a highly relevant and useful course run by people who actually do the job!"
- Jane Gibbs

ONLINE COURSE: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 13 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Dislocated subjects
Did you know it’s possible to dislocate your sentences? When you read a dislocated sentence, it’s almost as if you’re reading it backwards – or reading sentences written by Yoda!

When you dislocate a sentence you move the subject, switching the order of the sentence around. For example:

We ate all the cupcakes.

Left-dislocated version:

These cupcakes, we ate all of them.

This type of sentence is best avoided in formal writing and you’re most likely to come across them in conversation or more casual writing.





When Genres Attack
Here’s an event for Sydney-siders. Shearer's Books in Leichhardt hold regular launches and discussions with local writers. In May they held the incredibly popular, When Genres Attack, a lively discussion on the differences between genre fiction and literature.

Like any good genre, there has to be a sequel! When Genres Attack 2 is happening on Wednesday 13 July 2011 at 7.30pm. Writers appearing to chat about awards, heroes, heroines, writing and genre will be P M Newton (The Old School), Kirsten Tranter (The Legacy), Mardi McConnochi (The Voyagers) and Georgia Blain (Too Close to Home).

Bookings are essential. Call Shearers on 02 9572 7766 or visit their blog for more information.





Learn how to write 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 some feedback from previous participants:
"I came away buzzing with ideas for what to do next, and a boost in my confidence. Grant was very responsive to the group and clearly knows his topic well."
- Nicole Michel

"I liked the interaction and tutorial style presentation. Grant is knowledgeable and approachable. The web writing course is worthwhile for anyone new to this media."
- Amanda Davey

This seminar is presented by Grant Doyle, an experienced copywriter, content manager and web editor. Grant's background is as a print journalist and author. He has spent the last 11 years in web writing and has been contracting or consulting to major corporations in various online content capacities since then. Grant continues to initiate and teach many in-house web writing programs in addition to developing corporate web writing style guides.

Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Dr. or Dr?
I recently overheard a heated discussion about whether to include a full stop after honorifics such as:

Dr
Mr
Ms

The short answer is "No". While it was previously standard practice to write:

Mr.
Mrs.
Ms.

with the full stop in front of people's names, it's now considered old-fashioned and it's not commonly used. So ditch the full stop or you'll seem out of touch with today's writing conventions.





What we’re reading
This week our new media manager, Tracy Tan, is reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova follows the story of Alice, a Harvard Psychology Professor who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At the time of her diagnosis Alice, 50, maintains a busy academic schedule teaching at Harvard, guest lecturing and jet-setting around the world to speak at and attend conferences.

When Alice starts to forget things here and there she assumes it’s from being tired or stressed (I can’t imagine it would be easy being a Harvard Professor). As her mishaps become more frequent and alarming a visit to the Doctor reveals that she has early onset Alzheimer’s. The once highly skilled and talented academic rapidly deteriorates, sending her world and everything she once knew into a jumble.

What I love about the book is that it’s written from Alice’s point of view. It gives you a real sense of what it’s like for someone with Alzheimer’s, how their brain works and how it deteriorates.
 
Genova, a neuroscientist herself, offers a fascinating insight into the world of Alzheimer’s.

We spoke to Lisa in our author podcast series about the book and her latest, Left Neglected. Click here to listen to the podcast or read the transcript.

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: Museum of Me
We love this – it has nothing to do with writing but it’s just so cool we had to tell you about it!

Museum of Me takes all the information from your Facebook account and turns it into... a museum! Click on the link and you’ll get to explore your own virtual museum. The pièce de résistance is a neat little trick using all your photos. We won’t spoil the surprise, just check it out for yourself.

(Note: the Museum of Me won’t keep any of your Facebook information.)

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 13 June 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 13 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 15 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 23 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 28 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 29 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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 – FULL
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter
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 – 1 PLACE LEFT
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Wednesday 13 July 2011 and Wednesday 20 July 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 14 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 15 July 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

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

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 27 July 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $450

Course: Writing a Picture Book with Cathie Tasker – NEW COURSE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 6 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

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

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


2 June 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Hyphens vs dashes
  • How to write for younger readers
  • Random House Teen Book Video Awards
  • From idea to the big screen – how to write your screenplay
  • Why you should edit
  • TIP: Alot is not a word
  • What we’re readingMy Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  • WEBPICK: News with Nipples
Recently, I was interviewed on BNET by Phil Dobbie on the “10 Common Business Writing Mistakes”. You can listen to the podcast here.

I’m passionate about good communication in the world of business, particularly when writing letters and emails to customers, suppliers or colleagues. The way you communicate and the words you choose can inspire, offend, hurt, encourage, provoke – or create an impression (good or bad) that lasts forever.

Sadly, the simple art of writing an effective business letter or email is rarely taught at schools, unis or even in the workplace. I can’t understand why when it’s such a fundamental skill at work.

That’s why I love our one-day seminar “Writing Letters and Emails”. In this one-day workshop, you’ll discover:
  • the four steps for writing any document
  • the four key questions you should ask yourself when drafting your letters or emails
  • the ‘CSAW’ method of writing: Collect; Select; Arrange; Write
  • an action plan for improving your writing
  • valuable templates to help you write your letters and emails
  • ability to ensure that any paragraph you write is clear, concise and conveys the right information
  • and much more.
Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 15 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Hyphen or dash
Spot the difference:
 


One is a hyphen and one is a dash. And despite the fact they seem to be used interchangeably by most people, they perform two very different functions.

A hyphen connects individual words or parts of words, for example mother-in-law, two-thirds or six-year-old.

A dash is used to separate ideas or big chunks in a sentence. A single dash can be used instead of a colon to emphasise following information, or you can use two dashes as you would parentheses. For example:

Because we have so many pets in the house – two cats and two dogs – we need to get the cleaners to come every week.


While the hyphen key on your keyboard can usually be found on the number row to the right of the 0, the location of the dash can differ between computers. Make sure you find it before you start using a hyphen in error.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • We’re looking forward to the Grammar and Punctuation Essentials seminar on tomorrow.

  • We have new online courses available in Feature Writing and Creative Writing.

  • Sydney Writers' Festival video: We talk to Michael Cunningham about the phenomenon that become "The Hours", the pressure of this success on his writing and how music plays an intrinsic part in his writing.
    Check out the video here.






How to write for younger readers
The market for books for younger readers has exploded in recent years. Harry Potter, Twilight, Diary of a Wimpy Kid – even adult readers have heard of these! If you’re passion is writing books for children or young adults, you need to know more about what’s happening here in Australia and how to write the most engaging books for youngsters.

Writing Books for Children and Young Adults will show you how to write an inspiring and entertaining book, and what steps you need to take to get it published. You’ll learn how to create great characters, finding the right voice for your target age group, and how to write believable dialogue. You’ll also explore common assumptions about writing for children and young readers.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"The course was a rare opportunity to share my writing with a new group of like-minded beginners, and to share their successes and insights too. Judith is friendly, supportive, wise, generous and personable! The course was certainly what I needed at this point in my writing endeavours, and it came with plenty of support material."
- Ian McLean

"Judith is a fantastic presenter, enthusiastic and passionate about children's literature and you can't help but get caught up in her enthusiasm."
- Germaine Leece

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

Even if you can’t make it to our training rooms in Sydney, you can still join us in our online classroom.

ONLINE COURSE: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Week beginning Monday 6 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Get ready for your new blog!
We’ve been busy fine-tuning our new-look blog, which we’ll be unveiling in a couple of weeks. So stay tuned.

It’s going to be bigger and better – with tonnes of resources for you. With thousands of graduates, Facebook and Twitter friends and so many writing guidelines to share, the time has well and truly come to upgrade our blog.

It’s going to be a central hub for articles, book news, competitions, podcasts, videos and tips that we share. Plus we’ll be encouraging you to join in the conversation. If you have a writing related question, don't hesitate to email us so we can answer it in our new-look blog!





Teen Book Video Awards
Here’s an interesting opportunity for high school students interested in books. Random House Australia are holding the Teen Book Video Awards and will give one winner $1000 cash, plus $1000 worth of books for their school. All you need to do is make a 90-second book trailer for one of 16 books listed on the Random House website.

Book trailers are fast becoming an integral part of any book marketing campaign – the same way movie trailers are used for films. The Teen Book Video Awards are a chance for high school students to make the book trailers they want to see.

Entries close Friday 30 September 2011.
Details, including entry forms and terms and conditions can be found here.





From idea to the big screen – how to write your screenplay
The craft of writing for the screen is very different to writing prose for novels or short stories. Learning the fundamental principles of good screenwriting – character, story and structure – will help you turn your short or feature film idea into a winning screenplay.

In our 5-week Screenwriting Stage 1 course, professional screenwriter Tim Gooding will show you how to write a script and help you complete a first draft of your screenplay. This is the perfect start for anyone who has an idea but hasn’t yet started to get it down. Even if you’ve got part of a script but aren’t sure it’s headed in the right direction, Screenwriting Stage 1 will help you refine it and get you onto your next draft.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"Tim was excellent – very practical and very helpful. He set a goal of each one of us writing a short film script and helped us along that journey by reviewing and providing feedback. He was able to simplify the process of writing for screen as opposed to a novel. The Sydney Writers' Centre offer very practical courses with experienced and wonderful teachers. It will get you motivated and inspired!"
- Kalppana Sundaralingam

"I definitely came away with knowledge of a process that I did not possess when I first started. I also have a broad overall knowledge of how to go about writing a script. Tim has plenty of industry knowledge and his editorial skills are excellent."
- David Owens

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When
: Mondays starting Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Why you should edit
We came across a Sydney dentist’s website this week that proves why editing is so important – especially for your website. Here’s just a taste of what we found:

The will need for clean white teeth can be a requirement for every human becoming. Despite the fact that everybody dreams of having a pair of clear much healthier robust teeth, but not everyone has them that way. . Except proper cleaning strategy is utilized, there is a quite a lot less possibility of getting them as clear like a set of white pearls. It is stated that apparent white helps in producing the smile more lovely. This finally helps make the experience a lot more attractive.

If you can make sense of this, we’ll give you a prize. The best edited version of this passage will receive a book pack that includes Tabloid Man by Sandra Hall, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, and Unsung Ordinary Men by Sally Dingo.

Email your edited version to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm Thursday 9 June 2011, and don’t forget to include your postal address.





Business writing tip: Be specific, not vague
In business writing, it pays to be specific. This eliminates confusion and provides much more useful information for the reader.

Vague: If you get stuck in the building after hours, contact security.

Specific: If you get stuck in the building after hours (between 6pm and 8am), contact security on 9889 1122. This is manned 24 hours a day.

Never assume people know what you're referring to. Always take the next step and help the reader with useful information.





Get your structure right and make your story sing
There is one element in writing that even experienced writers must get right if their book is going to work. Structure. You can get every other aspect of your story right – brilliant characters, a great voice, a beautiful setting – but if your structure isn’t right, then your story won’t hold together and you won’t be able to engage your readers.

Structure is key whether you’re working on a novel or a short story, memoir or narrative non-fiction. Our course, Your Story Structure will help you understand narrative and structure, and show you how to apply it to your own writing. You’ll learn how to find the shape in your story, discuss the hero’s journey and mythic quest, and discover how to find and maintain conflict.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"This morning course was delightful – one could enjoy the stunning setting and public transport was 'to the door', as well as an excellent presenter and interesting participants."
- Pamela Huggins

"This course was hugely eye opening. I have one published novel but didn't really understand anything about structure when I wrote it! Now, for my second novel, I have a clear framework to follow, and I can't wait to start writing. Kathryn was wonderful. She got us all thinking and was very encouraging of all the students."
- Benison O'Reilly

Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 & 24 June 2011 (two classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Alot is not a word
Not sure if “a lot” is one word or two? Allow Hyperbole and a half to explain. In fact, even if you know that “a lot” is, in fact, two words, you should read this. And send it to anyone you know who gets it confused.

(Thanks to @Katstina92 for sending us the link.)








Celebrity Theatresports
We've got a special offer for all our newsletter readers – discount tickets for Celebrity Theatresports® on Saturday 9 July 2011 at the Enmore Theatre. As an SWC subscriber, you can buy three tickets and get the fourth free. To take advantage of this offer book through this link.

The reason we're excited about it is because Sydney Writers' Centre presenter Geoff Bartlett is involved. Some of you will know that Geoff presents the Introduction to Travel Writing and How to get Your Book Published seminars. He is also an author, journalist, travel writer and photographer.

Celebrity Theatresports is a fundraiser for CanTeen, a charity for young people dealing with cancer and their families, and happens just once a year. Celebrity Theatresports is hilarious, fast-paced comedy with no scripts where anything can happen. You'll get to see some of your favourite celebrities, including the Umbilical Brothers, Claire Hooper and Peter Fitzsimmons, improvise live comedy scenes on stage based on your suggestions.

You can read more about this event here.






Free Feature Writing Webinar – follow-up for graduates only
We’re always looking for new ways to support our graduates in their writing journey and now we’re pleased to announce a new webinar exclusively for Feature Writing Graduates.  

Our very first webinar will give graduates a chance to ask questions that have arisen since they finished the course. I’ll also be giving participants lots of handy tips and advice – things I’ve learned in the years I’ve been working as a freelance journalist.

If you are a graduate of Feature Writing or the Online course in Feature Writing (and have not unsubscribed from our emails), you’ll receive information about our first webinar within a couple of weeks with all the details you’ll need.

If you’d like to know more about feature writing and how you can join our community of graduates, check out our website.





What we’re reading
This week our communications coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.

My Family and Other Animals
by Gerald Durrell is perfect winter reading. Durell's memoir of his family's move from miserably cold Britain to bustling Corfu has been a much loved book since its release in 1956. The autobiography centres around Durell’s exploration of the island's animal life as a young boy and the hilarious escapades of his family – his widowed mother, pompous and domineering older brother Larry, superficial and angst-ridden sister Margo and gun-loving brother Leslie.

The characterisation of both his family and the other animals he discovers and the vivid descriptions of the beauty of Corfu give this book it's wide appeal. With no undercurrents of angst or horrors to come, you can just relax and enjoy frolicking around the island via Durrell's reflections.

Warning: This book may make you long for a pet tortoise after you finish it.

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: News with Nipples
News with Nipples is about the news. Well, the news according to Kim Powell – “accidental feminist” and academic. Kim won the commentary section of the Best Australian Blogs Competition for her blog on news, feminism, and whatever else piques her interest. Her posts are insightful and funny, and as a journalist, she’s well-placed to comment on the state of our media.

If you’re interested in getting more from your news then Kim Powell’s analysis and commentary is an excellent place to start. She has a devoted bunch of followers and, we think, she was a very deserving commentary winner.

Check it out here.









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

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 3 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – FULL
When:
Week beginning Monday 6 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Week beginning Monday 6 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 13 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 13 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 15 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 20 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 23 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 27 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 28 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 29 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
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
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: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Wednesday 13 July 2011 and Wednesday 20 July 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 14 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 27 July 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $450

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

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



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