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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.

16 February 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012
In this issue:
  • TIP: Antecedents and why you need to get them right
  • More student success
  • Twisted Stringybark Short Story Award
  • Write to inspire children and young adults
  • Dickens and the dictionary
  • Boost your business profile
  • What we’re readingThe Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
  • WEBPICK: Literature Quiz – Famous First Lines

As this week’s newsletter hits your inbox, I will be driving from Sydney to Melbourne with three of my furry babies – Rex (cat), Rocky (cat) and Rambo (dog). This is an exercise in patience, determination and, some would say, insanity. As you can see from the picture, Rocky isn’t too happy about it.

I’m sure I’ll have some tales to tell by the end of this road trip. I’m heading to the Yarra Valley for some peace and solitude to focus on the book I’m writing. In the meantime, I know that the Sydney Writers’ Centre is in very capable hands with our wonderful team.

One of the courses I’m excited about is Travel Memoir with the talented Claire Scobie. One section I can never resist in bookstores is the “vicarious travel” section. There’s nothing like  being transported to another country, being taken on a physical – and often emotional – journey and seeing that destination through the author’s eyes.

If you want to pen a travel memoir, you’ll discover:
  • how to structure your travel memoir and make your journey unique from the first page
  • ways to transform dog-eared travel journals into a must-read manuscript
  • writing about place with new eyes and describing characters without clichés
  • popular genres of travel writing
  • what to do before you leave and how to write on the road
  • how to write a compelling book proposal to get your work published

Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 February 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Sydney Writers’ Centre presenter Claire Scobie shares her tips on writing travel memoir on the Writing Bar.


  • Our Creative Writing Stage 1 courses are quickly filling! The next course starts on Tuesday 6 March.


  • We’re looking forward to our first Business Writing Essentials seminar with Tony Spencer-Smith on Tuesday 28 February.




TIP: Antecedents and why you need to get them right
What is an antecedent? It’s the word or group of words a pronoun stands in for, and the pronoun must always properly relate to this word or group of words. For example:

The rider fell off his bike.

Here, the rider is the antecedent of the pronoun his. In a simple sentence like this, it’s easy to make sure your pronoun matches the antecedent. But if the antecedent is missing or too far away from its corresponding pronoun, the meaning of your sentence can be easily confused. Here’s how Grammar Girl explains it:

Look at this example: “Breathe in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then breathe out through your mouth”. This crazy sentence illustrates how easy it is for readers to accidentally think that the antecedent is the noun closest to the pronoun. The pronoun “it” seems to refer to “nose,” the singular noun closest to the word “it”; however, the writer did not mean for you to hold your nose. What’s missing here is a clear antecedent: “your breath.”





How to travel the world – and get paid for it!
What could possibly be better than travelling to a new city, spending a few days in an exotic resort, or even just heading to a local bed & breakfast for the weekend? Getting paid to write about it, of course!
 
To travel is to experience so much – new sights, new sounds, new people. And for writers, new inspiration. Many people dream of writing travel features for their favourite magazines or newspapers, and it is possible. With the right strategies and tools, you can confidently pitch your articles to editors, and get paid to travel.
 
In our five-week ONLINE COURSE in Travel Writing, you’ll learn all you need to know to write great articles, and get them published.
 
What past participants say:
"I really enjoyed Sue's professional, non-pretentious and encouraging approach to participants."
- Maurice Venables

"Sue was extremely professional and offered constructive feedback. Very inspirational and I could really relate to her even in an online environment."
- Jocelyn Pride
 
ONLINE COURSE: Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 20 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






More Student Success
It’s been a busy week for some of our former students. Vanessa McKinley, who completed Creative Writing Stage 2, emailed us with the exciting news that she not only had her Heckler piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald, her short story, “Tequila and the Big Palomino”, was shortlisted in the Stringybark Short Story Competition. It will be published in an anthology, The Road Home, along with other winning entries, in March this year.
 
Congratulations Vanessa!
 
We also heard from Michelle Flanagan who has attended three of our courses, including Magazine and Newspaper Writing and How to Get Your Book Published. She has just self-published her first book, Reaction! 20 Minutes to Live – Triumph Over an Invisible Enemy. She wrote to us and said:
 
Thank you for giving first time writers like myself the tools and resources to produce a book that I am truly proud to call my own.
 
Congratulations Michelle!






Twisted Stringybark Short Story Award
Want to put your creative writing skills to the test? The latest Stringybark writing award is now open for entries.

The Twisted Stringybark Short Story Award is for stories up to 1500 words long – with a twist! There are cash prizes for winning stories, including $300 for first prize, and a chance to be published in one of Stringybark’s compilations is also up for grabs.

Entries close on Sunday 4 March 2012.
You can find more details here.






Write stories to inspire children and young adults
There’s a lot more to writing books for children and young adults than meets the eye. That's why publishers are always on the look out for kids’ books that are engaging and inspiring.
 
Whether you’re still nutting out your idea for a kids’ book or you’ve been working on a young adult novel, the Writing Books for Children and Young Adults course is your chance to learn from an industry expert. You’ll discover how to find the right voice for your characters, how to structure your story, and how to get an editor to take notice of your work.
 
What past participants say:
"Judith is very knowledgeable and a specialist in her field. She generously shared her knowledge of many years’ industry experience. Worth every penny!"
- Catherine Jane Bennetts

"I found the course incredibly inspiring and helpful. It was practical, technical and creative. A perfect balance."
- Kristen Toovey

This course is taught by Judith Ridge. Judith is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts on writing for children and young adults. In a highly specialised career spanning more than 20 years, Judith has worked as an editor, community arts coordinator, writer and critic.
 
Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Mondays starting Monday 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Did you know? Dickens and the dictionary
You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed Dickens’ birthday recently. On 7 February, bookish types around the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of English literature’s most enduring authors. And it’s not just his many works of fiction that have stayed with us these last 200 years. According to this post on World Wide Words, Dickens’s influence extends as far as our vocabulary.

The invention of many words has been credited to Dickens in past editions of the Oxford English Dictionary, including sawbones, messiness, whizz-bang, unpromisingly, spiflication and seediness. Others have been wrongly attributed to him – such as flummox and boredom – but possibly came into more regular use thanks to his use of them. Either way, it’s impossible to overestimate the influence Dickens had on literature and language.

You can read the full post here.






Oops word!
Valentine’s Day was celebrated on Tuesday by millions of people around the world. We can understand many people were distracted by this most romantic of days, so should probably forgive this spelling mistake spotted on an online news site:
 

 
It’s a shame they’ve misspelled “marriage” in the headline when they got the apostrophe in Valentine’s right!
 






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:
"Catriona's style and knowledge of the industry was excellent. She wasted no time throughout the day and was most generous in the information and material she shared with the group."
- Jennifer Adams

"The course was very informative, particularly for someone who is starting from the beginning in regards to PR and didn't have much knowledge on this topic. Catriona was excellent in her presentations and very knowledgeable."
- Derice McDonald

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 23 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre course manager, Danielle Williams, is reading The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes. She writes:

In 2011 Julian Barnes’s The Sense of An Ending was awarded the Man Booker Prize. Despite there being some consternation that judges had awarded populism over quality in the shortlist, Barnes’s win has since been hailed as a deserving one.
 
The book follows the life and recollections of Tony Webster. A man who’s led a satisfying if unremarkable existence, Tony is in his 60s and happily admits to finding comfort in wanting “life not to bother me too much”. But when a letter arrives with the unexpected news that the mother of a former girlfriend has left him £500, he is forced to revisit, and re-analyse, his life and the events that have made him.  
 
I’ve seen one description of the book as “quiet”, and that perfectly describes it for me. In a way the writing is quite deceptive. The prose is very easy to read but there is so much meaning in almost every sentence. Barnes’s exploration of memory and the way our own recollections of life events can change is intellectual, but also very personal. Tony’s struggle with memory and regret is an easy one to relate to. After all, it’s our memories and interpretations of events that shape all of us.

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: Literature Quiz – Famous First Lines
So, just how well read are you? Do you know which book starts with the line “Call me Ishmael”? Do you remember the first line of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? You can test your literary knowledge in this fun online quiz.
 
And if you ace the Famous First Lines quiz, why not test your knowledge of the 20th century or famous battles as well.
 
Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 20 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 20 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 20 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Melina Marchetta – FULL
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 22 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
When
: Wednesday 22 February and Wednesday 29 February 2012 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 23 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 24 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Life Writing with Patti Miller – FULL
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Business Writing Essentials with Tony Spencer-Smith – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Tuesday 28 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395


Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 5 March 2012 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 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 6 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 6 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 6 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Wednesday 7 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 7 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 12 March 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Editing Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 15 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 15 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Thursday 15 March and Thursday 22 March 2012 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 19 March 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Perfect your Proofreading with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 22 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the web with Grant Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Monday 26 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 26 March 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 28 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Monday 2 April 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo
When
: Friday 13 April 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Cost: $295

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

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

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

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

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

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

Course: Food Writing with Carli Ratcliff – NEW COURSE
When
: Saturday 28 April and Sunday 29 April 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

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

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

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


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