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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.

11 August 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: What’s the plural form of person?
  • Get published in your favourite magazine
  • Win £3,000! Society of Women Writers & Journalists Life Writing Competition – international competition
  • Learn the essentials of editing
  • Analysing Charlotte Brontë’s head
  • What we’re reading: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
  • WEBPICK: One Word

We’ve had a little visitor in the office this week, my cat Rex. He LOVES the office and did try to sneak into the Grammar and Punctuation seminar yesterday but we assured him that he had already mastered the use of apostrophes.

In the meantime, with Spring just around the corner, we’ve been busy planning a fantastic Spring lineup for you. I’m excited about our Melbourne Spring Writers’ Carnival, being held from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 October 2011. These courses are already getting booked!

If you’re in Melbourne – or want to do your course in a one- or two-day intensive program, this is ideal. You can choose from:


You can find out more about our Melbourne Spring Writers’ Carnival here.

I love Melbourne so I’ll personally be at our Melbourne Spring Writers’ Carnival to meet our fabulous students – so if you’re coming, make sure you say hi!





TIP: What’s the plural form of person?
An announcement at the train station this morning had me wondering about the correct plural form of person. The announcement said: “Please move inside the carriage to allow other persons on the train.”

Using persons certainly sounds more official, but is it correct? Or should he have used the word people?

Both words derive from Latin but have different original meanings.

Person
comes from persona and refers to an individual – as the Macquarie Dictionary will tell you.

People comes from populum, and refers to a group of persons sharing a culture. Again, that’s exactly what modern dictionaries list it as.

What wasn’t listed in the Macquarie Dictionary, and isn’t in most dictionaries, is persons. That’s because it’s considered archaic and old-fashioned to use this form. It’s perfectly acceptable now to use people as the plural form of person, though you will see persons used in legal or more official documents.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre






Get published in your favourite magazine TODAY
Have you ever sat down to read your favourite magazine, or pored over the Saturday newspapers, and thought to yourself, “I could write that”? Well, you can. In our five-week course Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers, we’ll show you how you can master the art of writing a great feature article, and get it published.

You’ll learn how to generate story ideas, how to research and structure your article, and how to approach an editor. This course is ideal if you’re interested in writing articles about travel, lifestyle, politics, sport, entertainment – just about anything you can think of.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"I enjoyed having the opportunity to learn so much from someone with passion and a clear understanding about the industry. The Sydney Writers' Centre is the right place for anyone interested in writing. It gives you the tools to change the direction of your career (fingers crossed!)."
- Sarah Waylan

"Marina was fantastic – what an inspiration. Her knowledge base was incredible and the insight she brought as an editor was worth every cent."
- Julie Noever

This course is presented by Marina Go. Marina has been editor of Australian Good Taste, editor-in-chief of ELLE Australia, editor of Sunday Life, editor of fashion for Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers. She has also been managing editor of Cosmopolitan.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





The Society of Women Writers & Journalists Life Writing Competition
There are plenty of creative writing competitions around, but for life writers, it can be difficult to find suitable competitions or journals willing to read your work. So of course our Life Writing guru, Patti Miller, wanted us to tell you about this current competition.

Run by the The Society of Women Writers & Journalists in the UK, this international competition offers a total prize pool of £9,000 and is open to any writer in any country over the age of 20. Entries of up to 3,000 words will be accepted. There are two age categories – 20-40 years old, and over 40s – and first prize in each category is £3,000.

Check out all the details here.


 






Avoid the slush pile – Manuscript Monday
Pan Macmillan publishers have just announced a new initiative for unpublished authors – Manuscript Monday. This is your chance to pitch directly to the editors, confident in the knowledge your proposal will be read.

Submissions can be submitted by email only, between 10.00am and 4.00pm every Monday.

For more information and details on how to submit your proposal, check out the Writing Bar.







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

Whether you’re editing hard copy or on-screen, this one-day seminar will show you how a professional editor approaches their work – and how you too can edit confidently. You’ll learn:

  • how to edit for structure and style
  • simple techniques that will improve anyone’s writing
  • the standard proofreading symbols and how to use them
  • the role of editorial style sheets and house-style guides – and how to create them
  • how to edit numerical information
  • and MUCH more.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"I have already recommended the course! You could tell the presenter had a lot of knowledge in editing – she was exactly what I'd hoped for."
- Sarah Riseley

"Deb knows her topic and obviously enjoys what she does; everyone responded to her and her inclusive style."
- Danielle Brender

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

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Well-known or well known?
Do you know when to include the hyphen in well-known and when to leave it out? We see this one being confused all the time but here's a simple rule:

When well-known is used as an adjectival phrase in front of a noun, you should hyphenate.

The are many well-known reasons for economic problems in America.

If it follows the noun, do not hyphenate.

The story of Little Red Riding Hood is well known.





Charlotte Brontë’s head…
Like many book nerds out there, here in the Sydney Writers' Centre office we’re all looking forward to the release of the latest movie adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which will start in cinemas this week.

Recently I came across a fascinating bit of trivia about Charlotte in Curiosities of Literature by John Sutherland. He writes that she, like many other Victorian novelists, visited a phrenologist for a reading. Phrenologists were specialists who claimed they could determine a person’s personality traits and intellectual capacity by studying the contours of their skull. Here’s what Charlotte Brontë’s phrenologist had to say about the lumps and bumps in her skull:

Very remarkable. The forehead is at once very large and well formed. It bears the stamp of deep thoughtfulness and comprehensive understanding. It is highly philosophical. It exhibits the presence of an intellect at once perspicacious and perspicuous.

I’m sure she was happy with the reading. If not with the phrenologist’s impressive vocabulary!






The secret to getting published
Getting published may seem like an insurmountable hurdle, a confusing and difficult process only the most talented (or lucky) writers learn to negotiate. If you have a great idea for a book or are ready to pitch to a publisher, but aren’t sure where to start, join our How to Get Your Book Published seminar.

This intensive two-hour session will show you how to approach publishers, what should be in your book proposal, and how to negotiate a fair contract.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"The seminar was factual, content rich, relevant. The two hours were filled up with no waffle. I loved it."
- Jo Vadillo

"I learnt several important factors about ways to approach publishers. I'm really glad that I went to the seminar as now I will save myself weeks of time."
- Amber Hamam

This seminar is taught by Geoff Barlett, an author, journalist, actor and producer. In 1999, Geoff's first book, was published in Australia and New Zealand through Harper Collins. Comedians in the Mist was a series of interviews with top Australian comedians.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.







Book giveaway – The Genesis Flaw by L.A. Larkin
Australian thriller author, L.A. Larkin, has been very busy this year. Her first book, The Genesis Flaw, has been compared to Michael Crichton and John Grisham, and her second, Thirst, is due for release soon.

We spoke to L.A. Larkin at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival about her journey from corporate writer to thriller author, and the topical inspirations behind her novels. She is passionate about environmental issues and these themes feature heavily in her work.

We have one copy of The Genesis Flaw to give away. If you’d like to win it, visit our Writing Bar Competitions page and tell us – what would your thriller novel be about? We’ll take answers until 5pm Thursday 18 August 2011.






What we’re reading
This week our communications coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. She writes:

I had very high expectations when I settled down to read Jacobson's latest novel, The Finkler Question. Perhaps those expectations were the reason I found it underwhelming, but I struggled to find someone to connect with.

The book follows the unexceptional Julian Treslove, who begins to suspect he is Jewish after being mugged and subjected to anti-semitic name-calling. This realisation, accurate or not, is closely related to his problematic relationship with his best friend Samuel Finkler.

Jacobson's relentless inquisition of Jewish identity is actually quite uncomfortable as it plays with the risk of generalisations and racism, but he handles this in a typically humorous way. One of the early rules that Treslove learns is that no one who isn't Jewish can make generalisations about Jews, and Jacobson uses this tongue-in-cheek humour to lighten the narrative as it plods it's way through serious discourses.

Despite my lack of engagement with the main characters, I would recommend this book for the insight it provides into the nature of contemporary Jewish identity, tackling sticky topics such as the nation state of Israel, guilt and self-hatred.

We spoke to Howard at the Sydney Writers' Festival. Click here to watch the interview.

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: One Word
Here’s one website you can legitimately justify visiting when struggling with writers block/procrastination.

One Word is very simple – a word prompt will appear at the top of the screen, and you have 60 seconds to write using that word as your inspiration. The idea is that you type, don’t edit, and don’t think too much about what you write.

You can join the One Word community and post your 60 second stories on the forum, or just use your post as a way to free up your writing for the day.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 15 August 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 15 August 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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
When:
Week beginning Monday 29 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 – 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
When
: Thursday 1 September 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 9 September 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

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
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 Memoir with Claire Scobie – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 12 October 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

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

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

Seminar: The Business of Freelancing with Gayle Bryant – NEW COURSE
When
: Wednesday 19 October 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

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

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

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding – 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

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