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

28 July 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011
In this issue:

  • TIP: Do you capitalise product names?
  • Turn your love of design into a writing career
  • How to improve your writing in one day – Grammar and Punctuation Essentials
  • What is genericide? 
  • Kickstart your creativity – Online Creative Writing 
  • Did you know? Carrying on like a pork chop
  • What we’re reading: By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
  • WEBPICK: Byliner

It’s been busy here at the centre! This morning I had the pleasure of speaking to wine aficionado James Halliday, who I interviewed for our Sydney Writers' Centre podcast series. Earlier this week I also interviewed YA Erskine, a former police officer who has written a fictional book which draws heavily from her experiences. Both writers are so different but so fascinating.

Recently, I was also speaking to a woman who has been trying to get media coverage for her business. She has a great business but she hasn’t had much luck in getting journalists interested in covering it. She sent me her media releases and I could immediately see where she was going wrong.

I’m thrilled to say that she took my advice on board (love it when that happens!) and has emailed me to tell me that she’s getting a MUCH better response from journalists than ever before.

If you want to get your message out in the media, it’s not hard. But there are clear guidelines on what you should (and shouldn’t) do. That’s why I love our seminar: PR and Media Releases and Get Results.

This seminar distills what you need to know to:

  • write media releases that get the attention of journalists
  • create a professional PR campaign (even if you don’t have PR experience)
  • know who you should quote and what they should say
  • deal with journalists
  • approach bloggers as part of your PR strategy
  • and MUCH more.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Moot or Mute
I see these two words confused all the time! It’s not unusual to hear someone say “mute point” instead of “moot point”. But moot and mute have very different meanings so be careful to choose the right one.
 
“Moot” means subject to argument or debate, or doubtful. It is most often used to mean “of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic.”

For example:

The debate about what to do with the abandoned building was rendered moot when it burnt down.

"Mute" means silent or refraining from speech or utterance. For example:

When the ads come on television, I press the mute button.


There’s no such thing as a “mute point”.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre



Turn your love of design into a writing career
Renovation fever has taken over again! Three prime-time shows currently screening show just how fascinated Australians are by interior style and design. For lovers of home design and style, there are also plenty of magazines available – Home Beautiful, Belle, and House & Garden to name just a few.
 
If you’re interested in exploring the world of architecture and interior design, our industry insight course, Writing for Interiors, Style and Design, will show you how you can turn your love of all things homey, into a writing career.
 
In this two-week course you’ll learn all about the market for home and interior design articles, how to find properties, feature ideas and contacts and the all-important tips and rules for writing your home and style features.
 
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."
- Phillip Brook

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

This 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.
 
Writing for Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When
: Tuesdays 9 & 16 August 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175
 
Click here for more information and to enrol online.





Want to learn with us on the weekends?
Then we need to know what kind of weekend courses work best for you!

We're looking into running weekend courses and we need your help to decide which of our 30+ courses to run, and whether to run them in intensive weekends or over five Saturday mornings. If you take a minute to fill in this short survey, we'll know which courses you’d like to do, and when.



 






2011 Bulwer-Lytton Contest winners announced
The winner of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has been announced! This annual contest challenges writers to compose the worst opening sentence to a novel. And this year’s winner is:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.
by Sue Fondrie

You can read more about the Bulwer-Lytton Contest and this year’s winners at the Writing Bar.







How to improve your writing in one day – Grammar and Punctuation Essentials
Want to know how to improve your writing in just one day? Knowing the rules of grammar and punctuation will have an immediate impact on your writing, but many of us weren’t taught these essential rules at school.
 
Our one-day seminar, Grammar and Punctuation Essentials, will teach you the golden rules you need to know to transform your writing. After this seminar, you’ll come away with:

  • knowledge that you can apply easily and immediately
  • a clear understanding of how to treat common mistakes
  • an understanding of when to bend, break or keep a rule or convention
  • the ability to discern when more than one solution is acceptable
  • empowerment to justify your corrections to your own and other people's writing
  • and MUCH more

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:

"The way this seminar was presented was fantastic. There was never a dull moment. Deb Doyle is an outstanding presenter."
- Claudia Arrage

"It was a great refresher and I came away feeling empowered and enlightened."
- Bronwen Stinson

The seminar is taught by Deb Doyle, an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor. You'll be amazed at how engaging and interesting a workshop in grammar and punctuation can be.

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 10 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Product names and capitals
It can be hard to know when to capitalise the name of something, but if you’re writing and need to use product names, you should generally use caps. For example, Mars Bar, Chokito and Tim Tam should all be capitalised.
 
This also applies to other products that have been given proper names, such as Aerogard, Mr Sheen or Glad wrap.

Generic term  Proper name 
insect repellant Aerogard 
cleaning product Mr Sheen
cling wrap Glad Wrap
tissue Kleenex






Did you know? Genericide
We’ve mentioned that you should treat product names as proper nouns and capitalise them, but an interesting rant on Daily Writing Tips today reminded me that sometimes, when a product name is so well-known and commonly used, it loses its proper noun status. It’s called “genericide”, or death by nouning. Think bandaid or aspirin, both of which are listed in the Macquarie Dictionary as nouns.
 
It’s also possible to "verb" a word to death. The best example of this is Google. It’s now common to say “I’ve googled the answer” or “google the information”. Apparently Google themselves aren’t too happy about this – they’d like Google to remain a proper noun.





Kickstart your creativity – Online Creative Writing
Need to boost your creativity but can’t make it to Milsons Point? You can still take part in our most popular course, Creative Writing, by joining us online in our virtual classroom.
 
The next ONLINE course: Creative Writing Stage 1 starts soon and if you want to explore the world of writing fiction, this is where you should start. You’ll learn all the elements of writing great stories – character, voice, structure and plot. You’ll also explore ways to generate ideas and draw from your everyday experience and memories.
 
Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
“I really enjoyed learning about structure, and seeing how other writers approach their writing. It felt like it opened a door for me. It was wonderful!"
- Olga van Eerde

"The online creative writing course has given me the tools and confidence to start writing. I highly recommend it for the quality of its content, presentation and feedback."
- Anne Bennett Taylor

ONLINE COURSE: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman/Laurine Croasdale
When
: Week beginning Monday 1 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Did you know? Pork chop
There’s one saying that never fails to make me giggle – “carrying on like a pork chop”. You have to wonder, how on earth does a pork chop carry on?
 
The saying we’re familiar with has a distinctly Australian sound and means to behave in a silly or inappropriate manner. You’ll see this one listed on plenty of typical Aussie slang sites, so I was surprised to learn it actually has an American origin. I found one reference that suggested the term “pork chop” was first used to describe a full-time union official in 1940s America. It was considered they were “in the job for all they could get out of it”.
 
Another theory is that “carrying on like a pork chop” is a truncated version of “like a pork chop in a synagogue”, a term originating in the US in the 1950s. Given that pork is forbidden for Jewish people, to describe something as being like a pork chop in a synagogue means that it is highly inappropriate, embarrassingly out of place, and quite unwelcome – very similar to our own saying.







What we’re reading
This week our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham. She writes:

"After we filmed an interview with Michael Cunningham at the Sydney Writers' Festival, I knew I had to read his most recent book, By Nightfall. Cunningham describes his book as being about a New York art dealer who becomes sick of the irony of contemporary art and is searching for true beauty. Reading By Nightfall feels like you're consuming an artwork.

"The delicacy of phrases suggesting the depth of emotional tension, and the illusion of options one can face in the middle of one's life, are the highlight of this book.

"The plot itself is short, the story taking place in just a few weeks, but the book serves as the tip of the iceberg of Peter Harris's life. His marriage to Rebecca and the values he has spent his life endorsing are challenged by the arrival of Rebecca's younger brother Ethan, known as 'Mizzy', short for mistake given his surprise birth. The story focuses on the quiet but ruthless competition between the many ways of creating meaning in one's life. Each subplot handles this overarching theme differently, from Mizzy's drug addiction, Peter's waning passion for his job and Rebecca's difficult decision to sell her art journal to a private owner, to the relationships between the three characters."
 
We want to know what you're reading! You can write a book review for the Writing Bar, and we'll feature an excerpt here in the newsletter. If you'd like to submit, check out the review guidelines here





WEBPICK: Byliner
Looking for something good to read in your lunch break, or on the train when you’re heading into work? Byliner is an online publishing company publishing feature articles that can be read in one sitting. They seek out original work by the best writers they can find. Called Byliner Originals, these narratives are usually between 10,000 and 35,000 words long and cover topics such as politics, business and travel.

Readers can set up an account and discuss articles or even share their own finds with other readers. Visit Byliner today and you’ll find a spotlight series on the Pulitzer Winners for feature writing from 1995 to 2011. If you’re not careful, you may find you’re spending more than your lunch hour there.

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy – FULL
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 28 July 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 1 August 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 1 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 10 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
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
When
: Thursday 11 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495 

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 16 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Thursday 18 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 23 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 23 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30om
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 25 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 25 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 29 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 29 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 1 September 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

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo
When
: Wednesday 14 September 2011 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 26 September 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

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
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
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
When
: Monday 17 October to Friday 21 October 2011 (5 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

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

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

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

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


21 July 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Do you capitalise North Shore?
  • Write your travel memoir
  • Wet Ink/CAL Short Story Prize – win $3,000
  • Did you know? The Oxford Comma
  • From page to screen – Screenwriting Stage 1
  • TIP: Protocol or procedure?
  • Boost your business profile – PR and Media Releases that Get Results
  • WEBPICK: WriteRoom

Another busy week. We recorded a video interview with the wonderful children's book author Tristan Bancks yesterday. I recently read his latest book My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up, a series of short stories from the point of view of a young boy called Tom Weekly.

It seems that young boys are entertained by all manner of gross things – ranging from poo to cat vomit to exploding colostomy bags! If you want to write about poo or climbing through a wardrobe to find Narnia or a boy wizard, then our course in Writing Books for Children and Young Adults is for you.

You’ll learn:

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

The best part is that you can learn from wherever you are. You can join our courses here at the Sydney Writers’ Centre in Milsons Point or you can learn online. The choice is yours!

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

ONLINE COURSE: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.




TIP: Capitals for places
So, we know we must capitalise the names of places, but what about geographical areas? For example, should you write the North Shore or the north shore in Sydney? The Inner West or the inner west?

According to the Australian Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers:

Common names given to parts of a city, state or territory are capitalised. For example: the Adelaide Hills, the North Shore, the Western District or the Top End.

Pretty straightforward, right? Well actually, it also states:

In contrast, purely descriptive – and unofficial – names for parts of a geographical entity usually do not need to be capitalised: northern Australia, southern Italy.

Sometimes, however, descriptive names of this kind develop semi-official status; they are then usually shown with initial capitals: Central Australia; Far North Queensland.

Basically, if you can establish that the name of an area is in any way official, like Greater Western Sydney, you should use initial caps. If not, stick with no caps.




What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre




Be part of our research into Australian writing at work
We're researching the state of professional writing in Australia, and we'd love your thoughts – and the thoughts of your friends who might not love writing as much as you. By sending the survey link to your friends, we'll be able to get a wider range of responses, giving us a clearer picture of the state of writing at work in Australia.

If you haven't had an opportunity to fill in our short survey, you can do so here. Thank you!





Write your travel memoir
Want to learn how to write your own travel memoir with an award-winning author? Our next Travel Memoir course with Claire Scobie starts soon. Whether you’re a new writer or want to turn your skills to travel memoir, this course will show you how you could write the next Under the Tuscan Sun, Holy Cow, or Eat, Pray, Love.

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 some feedback from previous participants:
"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.





Wet Ink and CAL Short Story Prize
Wet Ink, the magazine of new writing, and the Copyright Agency Limited, have teamed up for their annual Short Story Prize. It’s worthwhile entering this one – first prize is $3,000 plus one year’s subscription to Wet Ink magazine, as well as publication in Wet Ink. Two highly commended entries will receive $1,000 and publication, and shortlisted entries will each receive $250 and publication.

Entries must be unpublished and no longer than 5,000 words and close Wednesday 31 August 2011. For more details and an entry form click here.





Are you on LinkedIn?
Have you done one of our courses, and wish your colleagues would too? Or want people to know that you've honed your writing skills with us? Now you can recommend the courses you've studied via LinkedIn. You can post your recommendations here.

Thank you to those of you who have already recommended our courses on LinkedIn, we really appreciate your endorsement.







Did you know? The Oxford Comma
There was a recent kerfuffle online over the contentious Oxford comma. Also known as a serial comma, it’s the additional comma used immediately before a coordinating conjunction, like and or or, after the final item in a list of three or more items. Proponents claim it helps to avoid ambiguity. For example:

I dedicate this book to my parents, Rocky and Rambo. (without the Oxford comma)
I dedicate this book to my parents, Rocky, and Rambo. (with the Oxford comma after Rocky)

Rumours started circulating via Twitter a few weeks ago that the Oxford University Press had changed their style guide to discourage the use of the Oxford comma. It was a false alarm. The style guide was actually that of the university’s PR department, a separate entity, and the Oxford University Press still supports the use of the comma.





From page to screen – Screenwriting Stage 1
The art of writing for the screen is very different to writing a novel or short story. So if you’re interested in writing a short or feature film, learning the fundamentals of screenwriting should be your first step.

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.

What past participants say:
"I loved Tim's enthusiasm. Being able to leverage his experience and knowledge was invaluable."
- David Howlett

"I now 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, who has 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.

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When: Mondays starting 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

Already done Screenwriting Stage 1 and want to build on your first draft? Screenwriting Stage 2 is now available!

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Did you know? @
Ever wondered where that symbol above the 2 on your keyboard comes from, the one most commonly known as “the at symbol”? This now ubiquitous mark actually has a surprisingly long history.

It’s thought the symbol began life as an abbreviation of the latin word ad (at, toward, by, about). Apparently medieval monks developed the abbreviation to be used next to a number, to save on paper and ink. Another academic claims he found evidence of @ being used in Florentine merchants’ business documents almost 500 years ago. He says it was used as a unit of weight or volume and represented one amphora.

So how did we come to use it? Before the advent of email, it meant at site or at rate and was used on signs such as grocers’ price tags. Then, in 1971, computer programmer Ray Tomlinson chose the @ symbol as a separator in email addresses.






TIP: Protocol or procedure?
In his book The Big Tilt, Bernard Salt wonders, “When did protocols replace procedures?” Right after the environmental conference that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol.

Now, you see the word “protocol” used everywhere in the corporate world! But be careful when you use it because it’s often used incorrectly. Protocol means the customs or regulations dealing with ceremonies and etiquette. For example:

It’s protocol to address the Queen as “Your Majesty” in the first instance and thereafter as “Ma’am”.

It can also mean a supplementary international agreement or an agreement between states.

A procedure is the act or manner of proceeding in any action or process, or a particular course or mode of action. For example:

The shop closing procedure involved three steps: packing away merchandise, setting the alarm, and locking the door.

We interviewed Bernard recently and spoke to him about The Big Tilt and other books. You can watch the interview at the Writing Bar.





Boost your business profile with PR and media releases
Need to know how to boost your company’s profile? Want to know how to get free publicity for your small business? In just one day we can show you how to build an effective PR strategy for your business.

PR doesn’t have to cost you the earth. If you know the science behind good PR, you can do it yourself! Knowing how to write media releases that get results, how to approach journalists, and how to use the many online tools available, will give you the confidence to tackle your own publicity.

Our one day seminar PR and Media Releases that Get Results is perfect for business owners and entrepreneurs, professionals in charge of PR or marketing, or anyone who’s interested in learning how to develop a great PR strategy.

What past participants say:
"I feel confident about trying to do PR and writing media releases after just one day!”
- Lisa Sobreviñas

“I immediately started writing press releases again with more confidence. Catriona was excellent.”
- Sally Berry

“Catriona was a fantastic presenter with lots of great applied examples of lessons.”
- Nicole Miller

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

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Oops!
Thanks to reader, Peter Kelly, who pointed out a little typo in last week’s newsletter. In the item on the picture from City Pavers in Adelaide (think “mulche’s”), we said you don’t need apostrophes for plurals. What we meant to say was you don’t need apostrophes to create plurals.





What we’re reading
This week Get Published reader, Rebecca Smedley, is reading Sister by Rosamund Lupton. Rebecca writes:

"You know those stories that are just so enthralling you can’t put them down because you just have to know what happens next, how the story will end? That’s what Sister, Rosamund Lupton’s debut novel, was like for me. I bought it on Saturday and by Monday night I had finished it.

"Sister tells the story of Beatrice who, upon hearing of her younger sister’s disappearance, returns home to London. Within the first few chapters, the body of beautiful, vibrant Tess is discovered and it is ruled a suicide. Despite the glaring evidence and the fact their own mother believes Tess would take her own life, Beatrice refuses to accept the ruling and so begins her desperate search for the truth and her sister’s killer.

"I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who likes a good mystery or a good relationship story. I would also recommend setting aside time to read it because you may just find once you pick it up, you can’t put it down..."
 
This is an edited extract of Rebecca’s full book review on the Writing Bar. Click here to read the full review. You can read Rebecca's blog here.





WEBPICK: WriteRoom
Distraction free writing... is there such a thing? Well, the developers of this software certainly think so. For Mac, iphone and ipad users, WriteRoom gives you a full screen writing environment that allows nothing but writing.

If you remember what computer screens looked like back in the 1980s, you’ll recognise the green text on black background that WriteRoom uses. It’s designed to remove all distractions from your screen. Gone are the temptations to fiddle with the font or layout or check the word count. All you can do in WriteRoom is write!

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
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 – FULL
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

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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
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
When
: Thursday 11 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495 

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Tuesday 16 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Thursday 18 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 23 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale – NEW DATE
When:
Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 23 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30om
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 25 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 25 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
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: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo
When
: Wednesday 14 September 2011 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 26 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
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
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
When
: Monday 17 October to Friday 21 October 2011 (5 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $395

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

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

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


14 July 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Passed vs Past
  • Kickstart your creativity – Daytime Creative
    Writing courses
  • Writing Competition – $3000 for 3000 words
  • Continue your writing journey – Online Creative Writing Stage 2
  • More Student Success – congratulations
    Lyn Cook!
  • Did you know? Burning the candle at both ends
  • What we’re reading
  • WEBPICK: I Write Like

What a week it's been at the Sydney Writers’ Centre! It’s been great to chat to students who are enrolling in our Melbourne courses. Our team is heading to Melbourne from 6 to 9 October and we’re bringing our popular courses:


Find out more about our Melbourne courses here.

Why go to Melbourne? Well, to be honest, it’s because you keep asking! So we can’t wait to connect with our Melbourne community. And we know some of you are flying in from Adelaide and Perth for the courses! Even though we’re called the Sydney Writers’ Centre, we really see ourselves as a national centre design to serve aspiring writers no matter where you live.






TIP: Passed or past?
This one causes a lot of confusion for writers – what exactly is the difference between passed and past? Well, passed is the past tense of the verb pass. For example:

Rambo passed doggie school with flying colours.
This week has passed by so quickly!


Past is used as a noun, adjective, preposition, and adverb. For example:

The past few weeks have been so busy.
We walked past many beautiful buildings on our tour of Sydney.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre


Kickstart your Creative Writing – NOW
If you’re like us, you’ve been taking advantage of this cold, cold weather to spend more time by the heater, reading books. You may even be feeling inspired to start your own writing journey! If that sounds like you then join us for our next Creative Writing course.

During the course you’ll explore character, plot, structure and voice. You’ll also look at how you can create ideas for your writing and put your lessons into practice.

This is our most popular course, but we know many of you can’t make it to evening classes. So we’ve scheduled two daytime options just for you!

What past participants say:
"This course puts writing at the forefront and made it seem like a realistic life choice, not just a pointless endeavour."
- Amanda Baysari

"The most enjoyable thing about the course was the feeling of being inspired!"
- Inga Babic

DAYTIME Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 27 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

DAYTIME INTENSIVE Creative Writing Stage 1 with Kate Forsyth
When
: Monday 17 October to Friday 21 October 2011 (five consecutive morning classes)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





National Year of Reading
Next year will be the National Year of Reading and to celebrate, Writing Australia are holding a writing competition. Stories of up to 3,000 words will be accepted and prizes range from $3,000 for published authors, and $1,000 for unpublished authors. Winning stories will also be produced as recordings to help reach the 46% of Australians who struggle with literacy.

Competition closes 5pm Friday 5 August.
For full details visit our online magazine Writing Bar.





More Oops Words
Thanks to Lia Weston for sending us this picture.
She spotted this at City Pavers in Adelaide.



That dreaded apostrophe strikes again!
Of course, we know that they’re not needed to create plurals. Obviously this sign writer thought he’d throw them in just in case.





Perfect documents at work every time
When you’re working on documents – whether they’re annual reports or weekly newsletters – your final step should be proofreading. This important, but often overlooked, step will help ensure your business documents are polished and professional every time. 

Learning the right techniques for proofreading needn’t be hard.

Our one-day seminar, Perfect your Proofreading, will show you how to make sure your documents are in the best shape possible for printing and publication. You’ll learn how to use the standard proofreading symbols, how to set up a clear proofreading process for your work, and how to avoid the most common proofreading errors. It’s also the perfect follow-up course if you’ve done Edit with Confidence and want to add to your editing skills.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"The seminar highlighted the difference between editing and proofreading. We realised the line between these jobs had blurred in our team and we have now altered our production schedule as a result. Deb is a great presenter - clear and helpful."
- Julie Nance

“I enjoyed the course content and the experience of the presenter. She was fabulous. The course was very valuable and I would definitely recommend the Sydney Writers' Centre.”
- Maria Theoharous

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Student Success
Congratulations to Lyn Cook, who emailed us with this wonderful news:

“I just wanted to inform the team at the Sydney Writers' Centre that I have had my first success publishing two freelance travel articles. Following a USA skiing holiday in February of this year an article about Jackson Hole, Wyoming will be published in the August edition of the Snowy Times newspaper and a further article about skiing in Park City, Utah will be used in their September issue. Thanks to Valerie for her advice regarding magazine publishing and Geoff Bartlett for travel writing tips.”

Lyn has done many courses with us, including Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers and Introduction to Travel Writing.

Well done, Lyn. We can’t wait to hear more about your writing success.





Did you know? To burn the candle at both ends
An article I read about New York’s skinniest house would be the last place you’d expect to find a little piece of literary history, but find it I did! According to the article the house (which is on the market for $4.3 million) was once home to American Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, Edna St Vincent Millay. She lived in the house, which now bears her name, in the early 1920s, and by all accounts enjoyed the bohemian lifestyle of Greenwich Village at the time. Perhaps it inspired this poem:

"My candle's burning at both ends
It will not last the night.
But Oh my foes, and Ah my friends
It sheds a lovely light."

The saying “burning the candle at both ends” means to live frenetically – whether at work or play. While Edna’s poem may have inspired this meaning in the phrase, she wasn’t the first person to use it. The original phrase comes from 18th century England, when candles were so valuable that to burn them at both ends would be considered recklessly wasteful.





Another oops word?
We spotted this sign outside a clothes shop in Birkenhead Point.



That should say “Men’s Avenue”.






Continue your writing journey with our online course:
Creative Writing Stage 2

If you want to continue the momentum gained in your online course, Creative Writing Stage 1, and take your writing to the next level, then the online course, Creative Writing Stage 2 is for you. Designed to build on what you learnt in stage 1, this practical course will give you the chance to practice your writing and gain invaluable feedback from your tutor and classmates.

Workshopping is central to this course and it will help you learn about the strengths and weaknesses in your writing. You’ll also learn how to create or extend your main characters, how to structure your story, and the all-important principles of scene development.

Best of all - you don’t have to leave the house! This course will be held in our virtual classroom online so you can join us from wherever you are.

What past participants say:
"I would highly recommend this course. Do it! You won't regret the decision."
- Maurice Venables

"Online Creative Writing 2 was very challenging for me. I had an idea for a story and had done a bit of writing for it. I found it wonderful to be able to look, think about, and work on the structure and form of it during the course, and to get feedback."
- Janet Barwick

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Are you putting your adjectives in the right order?
Did you know that there's a pecking order when it comes to adjectives? Let's say you buy a pair of boots, like I did recently when I was in Texas.

The following adjectives could be used to describe my boots: leather (material), brown (colour), riding (purpose), Texan (origin).

The correct order for these adjectives is: colour, origin, material and purpose.

So it's correct to write:
Here are my brown Texan leather riding boots.

This is not correct:
Here are my Texan leather riding brown boots.

So there you go!





What we’re reading
This week Get Published reader, Donna Webeck, is reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Donna writes:

"Described as 'A Masterpiece' by The AgeShantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, is an epic 933 page tome which paints an indelible picture of paradoxes about this, his life story. How a man with a nurturing heart, but hardened soul came in search of freedom.
 
"The reading journey is a long one, full of tempestuous twists and turns – and much gritty detail which can make for weary reading at times.    
 
"But, if you have a spare month or three and feel the need to tackle a hefty, eye opening tome, let it be Shantaram. This powerful piece of prose will send you on a spellbinding cultural and emotional sojourn that will leave you breathless by book’s end!"
 
This is an edited extract of Donna’s full book review on the Writing Bar. Click here to read the full review.





WEBPICK: I Write Like
An oldie but a goodie... this neat tool will tell you which literary giant you write like. Just cut and paste some of your own text (make sure you put at least a few paragraphs in) and you’ll be given the name of a great writer – one you apparently ape in your writing!

Here in the office we’ve seen mixed results. A quick analysis of this newsletter, for instance, reveals literary talents as varied as Tolstoy, H.P. Lovecraft and Cory Doctorow. I’ll take that as a compliment!

Check it out here.








Other upcoming courses
Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go – FULL
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
When:
Week beginning Monday 18 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – FULL
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
When:
Week beginning Monday 25 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 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

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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
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
When
: Thursday 11 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495 

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 16 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Thursday 18 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 23 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 25 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 25 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
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: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Wednesday 14 September 2011 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Monday 26 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: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding – NEW COURSE
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

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


7 July 2011

Thursday, July 07, 2011
In this issue:

  • TIP:  Is it possible to be "at the weekend"?
  • Perfect your pitch and sell your stories
  • ASA Mentorship Program – Applications close soon!
  • More Student Success – Trevor Treharne scores publishing deal
  • Book giveawayCold Case Files by Liz Porter
  • TIP: Despite versus in spite of
  • Did you know? “Tarred with same brush”
  • What we’re reading: review by Jenny McLennan
  • WEBPICK: British Library apps

What a week! Our “Writing in Bali” group returned recently from what sounds like a wonderful trip. You can read a review here.

I also recently had the opportunity to interview best-selling author Bernard Salt (pictured with me right). I have to say that I laughed out loud through much of his book. It takes a certain skill to make demographics and statistics hilarious but Bernard does just that. You can view the video here.

In the meantime, I’m excited about our upcoming course Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie. The genre of travel memoir has exploded in recent years as authors take readers not only on a journey to another country, but also through their own lives.

If you’re interested in Travel Memoir, you’ll learn:

  • how to make your travel memoir unique
  • how to transform dog-eared travel journals into a manuscript
  • how to describe characters without clichés
  • how to write a compelling book proposal to get your work published
  • what to do before you leave and how to write on the road
  • and much more.

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.





TIP: Prepositions and weekends
One of our readers, Amanda, wrote to us:
"I love your grammar snippets and they are very informative. A question I have is regarding weekend references. On the news they often say "at" the weekend. I always thought we were supposed to you use "on", "over" or "during". Is "at" the weekend now considered acceptable?"

Amanda, both "on the weekend" and "at the weekend" are acceptable. However, "on the weekend" is more commonly used in Australia. The reason they are both acceptable is because "the weekend" can be considered both:

  • a particular point in time
  • a reference to particular days or dates (obviously they are always on Saturday and Sunday).

You use "on" when referring to particular days and dates such as:

I'll see you on Monday.

Our meeting will be held on 28 July.

We're going to do a course at the Sydney Writers' Centre on the weekend.

You use "at" when referring to a particular point in time such as:

I'll see you at 2pm.

Our meeting will be held at 10am.

We're going to do a course at the Sydney Writers' Centre at the weekend.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Finished Screenwriting Stage 1 but want more? Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding is now available!

  • Filling fast: Feature Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go. Starts Thursday 14 July 2011. 

  • One of our longest-serving presenters, Geoff Bartlett, will present his 100th seminar with us on 27 July. Congratulations Geoff!





Tell us what you think!
We're conducting research on how Australians view their professional writing skills, and we'd really appreciate you taking a few moments to be part of it.

We've created a short survey of multiple choice questions on how you feel about your writing at work, your grammar and punctuation skills, writing and productivity, and whether you think writing training should be provided by employers.

The survey will only take two minutes and will provide us with up-to-date statistics about the state of writing at work in Australia. Thanks!

Click here for the survey.





Perfect your pitch – and sell your stories!
To improve your chance of getting your feature articles published, you need to know how to pitch to editors. This essential skill is half the work of a freelancer – you might have the idea, even the article already written, but unless you can convince an editor to publish it, you won’t get paid for your work.
 
If you’ve completed our Feature Writing course you already know how to research and write your articles. Now it’s time to learn how to pitch well, and how to get paid for your writing.
 
This two-week course will show you how to refine and tailor your pitches. You’ll be given a step-by-step guide to improving your hit rate and selling your stories.
 
Here’s what past participants say:
"Sue was a brilliant teacher and provided invaluable and practical feedback on our pitches. My pitches are clearer, with a strong hook and well researched."
- Catherine Boundy

"Attending the pitching and feature writing courses really gave me the confidence to get out there and aspire to my goals. Without them, I would still be dreaming!"
- Suzi van Middelkoop

This course is taught by Sue White, one of the best pitchers in the business! Sue is a successful feature writer and travel writer whose work has been published in magazines and online publications in Australia and overseas.
 
Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Wednesdays 13 & 20 July 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





ASA Mentorship Program
The Australian Society of Authors Mentorship Program is now open! This is a rare opportunity for 15 unpublished authors or illustrators to work with a mentor and get their project up to a publishable standard.

One of their most recent success stories is Favel Parrett, who we spoke to at the recent Sydney Writers’ Festival. She completed the mentorship program in 2009 and has just published her first novel, Past the Shallows. (Check out our interview with her at our online magazine: Writing Bar.)
 
So, if you have an unpublished manuscript or are working on a collection of poetry or a kids’ book, check out the ASA Mentorship Program details here.

Applications close on Friday 15 July 2011.





Student Success – Trevor Treharne
Congratulations to Trevor Treharne, who has just scored a publishing deal with an American publisher for his book. Trevor did the seminar How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett and went on to pitch his book successfully.

Here’s what he wrote:
"Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve secured a deal with a US publisher! Thanks for your assistance with my pitch; it was a million times better once I knew what I should actually put in it. The seminar enabled me to focus on building a business proposal on what my book could offer the publisher, not just why I felt my great book idea was so great!"





Quality spelling
Thanks to Ingrid Thompson who sent us this picture. The manufacturers may have good quality control on their luggage but not on their spelling!









Learn Creative Writing online
The Sydney Writers’ Centre community has grown so much in the last few years. We now have people joining our courses from all over Australia and the world! Thanks to our online courses, we’ve had students take part from the UK, Japan and France –  even Morocco!
 
One of our most popular online courses is Creative Writing Stage 1. This course is perfect for anyone looking to explore writing creative fiction. Whether you’ve never written anything before and want to know where to start, or you’ve been working on some stories and want to be sure you’re on the right track, this online course will show you how to write great fiction.

During the course you’ll learn how to tap into your imagination, give your stories structure, and write convincing characters and dialogue. You’ll get feedback on your writing from your online tutor and benefit from workshopping with your online classmates – all from wherever you happen to be!

Here’s what past participants say:
"I live one hour's drive from the centre and have a pretty busy lifestyle. Doing the course online meant more time for writing and putting new skills into practice."
- Patricia Takahashi

"Our online tutor was fantastic. She challenged my thinking and made me work harder to achieve a better result."
- Sarah Marano

ONLINE COURSE: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker/Laurine Croasdale
When
: Week beginning Monday 11 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Book giveaway – Cold Case Files by Liz Porter
Our latest podcast interview is now available and this week we spoke to Liz Porter. Liz is a journalist and true-crime author whose latest book is Cold Case Files. In her latest book she follows cold case investigations in Australia, the UK and the US as they try to unravel mysteries dating back as far as Ancient Egypt.

We spoke to Liz about researching and writing true-crime and why she’s so fascinated with forensic science. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript here. Or you’ll find it on iTunes here.

We have one copy of Cold Case Files to give away. If you’d like to win it, visit our Writing Bar Competitions page and tell us – which true-crime would you write about and why? We’ll take answers until 5pm on Thursday 14 July 2011






TIP: Despite versus in spite of
Reader Lisa Yates wrote to us with this question:
“When do you use 'despite' and when 'in spite of'? Or do they really mean the same thing?”

Both terms basically mean the same thing.
Macquarie Dictionary lists the meaning of “despite” as “in spite of; notwithstanding”. Oxford English Dictionary defines “despite” as “in spite of”.

The main difference is not so much in the meaning but that “despite” is a preposition and “in spite of” is a prepositional phrase.

Major media style guides such as The Fairfax Media Stylebook and the Associated Press Style Guide suggest using “despite” instead of “in spite of”. This is simply because it’s more economical and concise to use one word instead of three.






Become confident with grammar – in one day
If you’ve ever struggled with grammar or punctuation don’t despair – you can learn it and you don’t have to go back to school to do it!

Knowing the essential rules of grammar and punctuation can have an immediate impact on your writing. Your work will become clearer and more succinct just by knowing where to put a comma, when to use an apostrophe, and how to structure your sentences correctly. Our one-day seminar, Grammar and Punctuation Essentials, is an intensive yet enjoyable introduction that will give you the confidence to tackle any editing or writing task.

What past participants say:
"It was a great refresher and I came away feeling empowered and enlightened."
- Bronwen Stinson

"I feel much more confident with the basic rules of grammar and punctuation that once baffled me."
- Sunni Hughes

This seminar is taught by Deb Doyle. Deb is an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor. You'll be amazed at how engaging and interesting a workshop in grammar and punctuation can be.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






DID YOU KNOW? “Tarred with the same brush”
You’ve probably heard this expression. It means that everyone in the group has similar failings or are all guilty of wrong-doing. Example:

All the football players were tarred with the same brush after the match-fixing scandal.

But where does it come from? I’m glad you asked.
The saying refers to the way farmers used to mark their sheep. They would dip a brush in tar and apply it to the wool to distinguish certain sheep from others.







What we’re reading
This week Get Published reader, Jenny McLennan, is reading Aphelion by Emily Ballou. Jenny writes:

Aphelion by Emily Ballou, published in 2007, has the inspired setting of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the flooding of the old town of Adaminaby by the new Lake Eucumbene. It tells the story of Hazel, a new arrival in Adaminaby, and the four generations of women she meets there. The setting underpins a story of love and loss and the search for a place in the world.
 
“It’s a book rich with metaphors: water, its beauty and dangers, and the Aphelion, the point where Earth is at its farthest remove from the sun. This low point is reflected in the emotional distance of many of the characters from their personal sun.
 
“Emily Ballou is a published and prize-winning poet, and the language of the novel gives the mundane a richness of feeling. Her use of the material, the tangible, to express interior feelings, takes the reader into the characters and makes then believable.
 
“The ‘perfect Australian novel’ Aphelion is not, but its setting, characters, poetry and satisfactory ending give it unusual charm.” 

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: British Library apps
Want to check out the British Library collection without going all the way to London? Two new apps let you do exactly that.

British Library 19th Century Books gives iPad users access to hundreds of titles from their 19th century book collection – everything from classic novels, to works of philosophy and historical texts. The works have been captured in colour so you can see illustrations, maps, and engravings in their original condition.

For iphone and smartphone users, check out the Treasures app. It features images of some of the library’s most famous pieces, including the magna carta, some of Jane Austen’s early writing, and the Gutenberg Bible, all accompanied by videos and recordings with library curators.









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

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 11 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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
When:
Week beginning Monday 18 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – FULL
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

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 8 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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
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
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: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 18 August 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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

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

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 25 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: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Wednesday 14 September 2011 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Monday 26 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: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding – NEW COURSE
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 7 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

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



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