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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.

12 April 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012
In this issue:
  • TIP: Between versus Among
  • How to get your script onto the screen
  • More Student Success – Anna Spargo-Ryan
  • Learn from anywhere! Online course in Creative
    Writing Stage 1
  • More apostrophe abuse
  • What we’re reading – Endworlds by Alan Dean Foster and Nicholas Read
  • WEBPICK: 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs

I’m always thrilled when I hear about our students who are getting attention from agents and publishers thanks to their blogs. I love blogs and I’m so excited that this is a viable way to showcase your writing.

When you go about it in the right way you can get your writing in front of the right people, bypassing the dreaded slushpile – where thousands of manuscripts languish in publishing houses all over the world.

In our “Blog to Book” seminar, I’ll be chatting to Kerri Sackville (pictured) about how she used her blog to land herself not just one book deal – but two! She is following up her best-selling memoir When My Husband Does the Dishes: A Memoir of Marriage and Motherhood with her second book The Little Book of Anxiety to be released next month.

In this session, Kerri reveals:

  • the steps she took to build a fan base for her blog
  • how she built her profile online
  • why you need to contribute to other blogs (and how to do this)
  • strategies to get noticed by publishers
  • how to make yourself a “marketable” author
  • and much more

There are only a handful of places left!

Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville in conversation with Valerie Khoo
When
: Monday 16 April 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre



TIP: Between versus Among
You’ve probably heard the rule that you should use “between” when referring to two things and “among” when referring to three or more. Well, like most rules in English grammar, it’s actually not that simple. Here’s how it’s explained in The Accidents of Style by Charles Harrington Lester:

“… when you’re dealing with three or more, you may use between or among depending on how the things you’re referring to are related. If their relation is collective, meaning you think of them as a group, use among. But if the relation is individual or reciprocal, from each to the others, use between. For example:

After listening to a debate between the six candidates, Amy thought that no one among them stood out as the best choice.”





How to get your script onto the screen!
Want to overcome the terror of the blank page? If you’ve got an idea for the next Aussie blockbuster but aren’t sure how to get the script written, our Screenwriting Stage 1 course is for you.


During this course, you’ll have an opportunity to develop a script you’re working on, or get started on a new script, and receive feedback from an industry professional. By focusing on the three essential elements of a good script – character, story and structure – you’ll gain confidence in your writing abilities and get that script written!


What past participants say:
"If you want to write a screenplay but don't know where to start, then you must try the screenwriting course at Sydney Writer's Centre. The course will tell you all the basics and actually have you starting to write almost straight away. And meeting others interested in the area is invaluable."
- Paul Sorauer

"I enjoyed the practical approach to screenwriting. Tim is direct, motivating and his experience is invaluable!"
- Adrienne Byrt

This course is presented by Tim Gooding who writes for stage, film and television. He has written television drama – Rafferty’s Rules, Blue Heelers, Stingers, Water Rats, All Saints – and comedy – The Aunty Jack Show, The Norman Gunston Show, Wollongong The Brave, Ratbags.

Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When
: Mondays starting Monday 16 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

Have you already completed Screenwriting Stage 1, or have a script you’ve been working on for a while and want to be sure you’re on the right track? Our Screenwriting Stage 2 course is your next step.

Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Mondays starting Monday 9 July 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.







Sydney Writers’ Festival
Time really does fly. It seems like only yesterday we were preparing for the SWF for 2011 and planning which sessions we’d be going to and who we would interview. And now it’s on again! The Sydney Writers’ Festival program for 2012 is out now and tickets are selling fast.

There are some great sessions including international guests like Jeffrey Eugenides, Edmund de Waal, Jeanette Winterson, Hilary Mantel and Stella Rimington. We’re also looking forward to hearing from local guests like Marieke Hardy, Thomas Keneally, Malcom Knox and Annabel Crabb.

To help whet your appetite for the festival proper, there will be an “Out of Season” event with one of last year’s headlining guests, A C Grayling. You can find out more about it on the Writing Bar blog.

To download a program and book tickets visit www.swf.org.au






More Student Success
Congratulations to Anna Spargo-Ryan, whose blog Judging Your Breakfast, has been announced as a finalist in the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. The competition attracted over 40,000 entries, so Anna’s spot on the list of finalists is an incredible achievement. When she wrote to us she said, “The Sydney Writers' Centre really did give me the confidence that I needed to put my writing out there. I'm so grateful to you, Valerie Khoo!”

Good luck Anna – we can’t wait to hear the result!

Anna has also entered our very own blog competition – the Best Australian Blogs Competition. Have you entered yet? We’ve almost reached the 1,000 entry mark and have $15,000 worth of prizes to give away. So if you’re an Australian blogger, get your entry in before 5pm Friday 13 April 2012. (That’s tomorrow!)






"Hear hear" or "Here here"
When someone makes a comment that others agree with wholeheartedly, they often respond with "hear hear!"

You'll often see this as a response on Twitter when one person is in strong agreement with another. However, we are increasingly seeing the use of "here here!" This is wrong. The correct use is "Hear hear!"





Get started on your novel or short story – learn from anywhere in the world!
It doesn’t matter where you live. You can still access the wonderful resources and tutors at the Sydney Writers’ Centre. So if you’ve always wanted to get started on your novel or short story,  join us for our most popular online course: Creative Writing Stage 1.

In this five-week course you’ll learn:
  • the art of writing fiction
  • you’ll cover voice, plot, character and structure
  • you’ll get lots of writing practice and valuable feedback from your tutor.

This year we’ve had students from all over Australia and as far away as England, China and the USA.

What past students say:
"It was easy and convenient to do the creative writing course online. The best thing was being able to listen to the presentation and do the assignment in my own time, when it suited me best. It worked around me, instead of me trying to work around it."
- Glenda Hindley

"I found the workshopping an invaluable tool. I enjoyed reading other people's work and the feedback given to them also helped me implement changes for the better in my own work."
- Olivia Blackburn

Online course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman
When
: Week beginning Monday 16 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing
Do you have an unpublished manuscript for younger readers you’ve been working on? Then don’t forget about the Text Prize, the annual prize awarded to an outstanding manuscript for young adults or children.

This fantastic prize for published or un-published writers offers a publishing contract with Text for the winning manuscript as well as a $10,000 advance on publishing royalties.

Submissions are opening soon. Entries can be sent from Monday 30 April until the closing date of Friday 1 June 2012.

You can check out more details as well as previous winners here.







The pain of writing
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the beauty and skill on display in some of the world’s oldest illuminated manuscripts. But pity the poor monks who had to do the work… According to some of the notes scribbled by early writers in the margins of their work, writing really was a chore. Here are some examples we found on brainpickings.org

“Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.”

“As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe.”

And who hasn’t thought this at the end of a long week:

“Now I’ve written the whole thing: for Christ’s sake give me a drink.”





NEW SEMINAR: Build Your Profile on Twitter
What do you know about Twitter? Do you know it has over 300 million users, including many authors, publishers, and self-publishers? Do you know how to retweet, how to build your followers, or who you should follow?

Twitter can be overwhelming for new users but it’s actually very simple. It allows you to broadcast messages of 140 characters or less to anyone who’d like to receive them. But it’s also a powerful tool for building your profile.

Our new seminar, Build Your Profile Using Twitter, will help demystify social networking and how to use it. This two-hour seminar is perfect for any writer or business owner who wants to know how to make Twitter work for them.

Build Your Profile with Twitter with Steven Lewis
When
: Monday 23 April 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Apostrophe Abuse
Thanks to Get Published reader Emma, who sent us this sign which she spotted in a northern suburbs hotel.



Apostrophe abuse! There’s no need for the apostrophes to be there in “steak’s and schnitty’s”. Those words are plurals and you don’t need an apostrophe to create plurals.

We’re not even going to comment on their use of the non-word “schnitty”.





What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre office manager, Andrew Gillman, is reading Endworlds by Alan Dean Foster and Nicholas Read. He writes:

I'm a great believer in new and exciting concepts. While you can never predict if they will succeed brilliantly or fail spectacularly, the fact that someone has dared to try something different always impresses me.
 
That’s why I embraced Endworlds by Alan Dean Foster and Nicholas Read, a daring experiment in digital publishing. At its core it’s an imaginative sci-fi novel that centres on the discovery of another galaxy that overlaps with Earth’s own corner of the universe, and which will likely destroy us when our planet flies through its debris field.
 
But the news of this discovery is suppressed by a decision that it’s not worth saving all of humanity. The only people who will survive this apocalypse, it is decided, are the world’s elite who secretly plan to save only themselves and their families.
 
There’s clearly a lot at stake, and it’s a clever gripping read.
 
The e-book comes with a full symphony orchestra soundtrack, high quality cover art and all manner of technical diagrams and maps. It has also spawned a social media frenzy with a race on by fans to find the pieces of the anti-doomsday device hidden in locations around the world, including Australia.
 
Time will tell if it succeeds as a concept but it is an audacious bid to redefine how we read that succeeds primarily because it remembers that at the heart of any concept you must have a great story, well told.

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: 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense to print a cookbook on pasta, the same pasta you’ll use to bake your own lasagne. In fact, many of the unusual book designs in this selection of 10 are not only beautiful, but also practical in their own way.

Along with two edible books, there’s a glow in the dark book, a book you have to destroy to read, a growing book and a book made from coffee.

Check out the full list here.










Other upcoming courses
Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 13 April 2012 for six weeks
Time: 10.00 am – 12 noon
Cost: $450

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville
When
: Monday 16 April 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 16 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 16 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 16 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Business Writing Essentials with Tony Spencer-Smith – FULL
When
: Tuesday 17 April 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 19 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: 10.00 am – 12 noon
Cost: $395

Seminar: Successful Freelancing with Valerie Khoo and Gayle Bryant
When
: Thursday 19 April 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 23 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Build Your Profile Using Twitter with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Monday 23 April 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 24 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 26 April 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 27 April 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Editing Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 3 May 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Cost: $450

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 3 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo
When
: Friday 4 May 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 1.00 pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 7 May 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 7 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 7 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Business Writing Essentials with Tony Spencer-Smith – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 8 May 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the web with Grant Doyle
When
: Thursday 10 May 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Tuesday 15 May 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 15 May 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Perfect your Proofreading with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 17 May 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Monday 21 May 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Program: Write Your Novel with Pamela Freeman – FULL
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 21 May 2012 for six months
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $1980

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 23 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 24 May 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Cost: $495

Course: Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $495

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 7 June 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 13 June 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Food Writing with Carli Ratcliff – NEW COURSE
When
: Saturday 16 June and Sunday 17 June 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Write a chick-lit novel with Lisa Heidke – NEW COURSE
When
: Saturday 16 June and Sunday 17 June 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Wednesday 27 June and 4 July 2012 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $175

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 July 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin – NEW DATE
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 9 August 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When:
Saturday 21 July to Saturday 28 July 2012

Writing in Paris with Patti Miller – FULL
Arrival: Thursday 18 October 2012
Departure: Saturday 3 November 2012


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