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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.

17 November 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011
In this issue:
  • New online course: Travel Writing
  • TIP: Beware the dangling modifier
  • Hardie Grant Egmont want your manuscript!
  • Make the most of your holidays with an online course
  • Are your documents ready? Perfect Your Proofreading
  • What we’re readingQuarterly Essays for 2011, The Happy Life
  • WEBPICK: 11 Drinks to Pair With Your Favourite Books

I’m so excited to announce our new online course in Travel Writing! This long-awaited five-week course is jam-packed with information. I’ve loved every minute of creating it with our amazing, globetrotting Travel Writing presenter, Sue White.

It will lift the lid on what you need to know to write travel articles that editors want to publish (and pay you for). This is all new content and new course material.

I have been through every single module in this course and, I have to say, it’s awesome. You’ll learn so much and come away with a really firm foundation to pitch and write travel articles that sell.

This course will cover:
  • different types of travel articles and why they suit
    different markets
  • industry lingo you need to know
  • how to develop the right angle for your travel story
  • how to structure your article, when it’s important to provide photos,
    and other key elements such as trip notes
  • how to research travel stories and find interview subjects
  • travel writing in your home town
  • travel writing ethics
  • how to plan your itineraries to maximise your story
  • and MUCH more.

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 28 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Back to Basics – Dangling Modifiers
Ever read a sentence and wondered why it didn’t really make sense? It’s possible a dangling modifier is the culprit. This is a verb form that isn’t connected to anything – it’s subject-less. Put simply, a dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word that does not appear in the sentence.
 
A sentence with a dangling modifier will leave the reader wondering what the subject is, therefore confusing the meaning.
 
This example was spotted in a travel article:

Sipping cocktails on the balcony, the moon looked magnificent.

This sentence suggests the moon was sitting on the balcony sipping cocktails. An interesting image, sure, but not what the writer meant. This would make more sense:

Sipping cocktails on the balcony, I admired the magnificent moon.

OR

Admiring the magnificent moon, I sipped cocktails on the balcony.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Filling fast: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett on Thursday 24 November 2011. 

  • Need a NaNoWriMo motivational boost? We’re having a NaNoWriMo catch-up on Friday 18 November. Check the Writing Bar for details.

  • For social media junkies, visit our new Google+ company page here. Add us to your circle and we'll add you back!

  • Our Christmas decorations are up!






Plotting and Planning your story the right way
"If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail."
There is some truth in this, especially for writers. Effectively planning your novel could mean the difference between having a publishable draft, and going back to the drawing board.
 
There are many different ways to plan a novel, and many different ways to build a plot. Our two-part Masterclass on Plotting and Planning, with author Kate Forsyth, teaches you the techniques you need to make sure you don’t lose the plot.

If you’re a graduate of one of our creative writing courses, or you’re ready to start planning your novel, this course will help you understand plot and narrative, and give you a strategy to turn your idea into a plan.

What past participants say:
"I just think Kate is wonderful. She is passionate, intelligent and her course is packed with useful information. I get from Kate's class more information than I have from week-long courses."
- Olivia Vozila

"Fantastic! Dynamic! Inspiring! The course was packed with useful information that I can apply on many levels now and later."
- Mary Hickson

This course is taught by Kate Forsyth. Kate is an internationally bestselling author of more than 20 books for children and adults, including The Puzzle Ring, The Gypsy Crown, The Starthorn Tree, and the bestselling fantasy series ‘The Witches of Eileanan' and 'Rhiannon’s Ride'.

Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
When
: Mondays 28 November & 5 December 2011 (two evening classes)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Hardie Grant Egmont competition
Hardie Grant Egmont love kids’ books and are committed to publishing books kids want to read. They’re also committed to giving new writers a go in a publishing market that can be hard to break into. That’s why their new collection, Ampersand, is so exciting.
 
In 2013, Hardie Grant Egmont will publish Ampersand, a collection of short novels for teens, written by debut authors. So, if you’re an unpublished author and have a YA manuscript that explores the real lives of teens, then check out the competition details on the Writing Bar.

Entries close 5pm Monday 27 February 2011.





More Student Success
More great news from one of our former students this week… Leanne Anderson describes herself as a "serial attender" at the Sydney Writers’ Centre and she has just had an article published in the magazine, French Provincial. Here’s what she wrote to us:

Just wanted to let you know of some recent success following my attendance at two Sydney Writers' Centre workshops: Feature Writing and PR and Media Releases.

I pitched to the editor of French Provincial (a niche magazine for Australian francophiles) using a case study of two families who had followed their dreams to relocate to France. Pitch was accepted, interviews of case study participants done (by skype!), and the article was published in the Oct/Nov edition of the magazine.

Both courses were so well structured and provided clear guidance to putting workshop content into action and it works!


Congratulations, Leanne! We’re sure this is the first of many published features.






TIP: Can you use ‘because’ at the start of a sentence?
According to Grammar Girl, yes you can. Here’s her advice:

It's OK to start a sentence with "because"; you just have to make sure you're writing complete sentences and not sentence fragments.

"Because" heads up subordinate clauses, which means if you have a clause that starts with "because," you must also have a main clause in your sentence. A main clause is something that could be a complete sentence by itself. The main clause can come first or last; if it comes last, you need a comma.

  • Because Squiggly woke up late, he had to postpone the fishing trip. (subordinate clause first, note the comma)
  • Squiggly had to postpone the fishing trip because he woke up late. (subordinate clause second, no comma needed)
  • Because he woke up late. (sentence fragment)





Make the most of your holidays – join an online course
We know that for many of you, summer holidays are the best time of year to take time out for yourself, and start writing! That’s why our online courses will continue right through December. That’s right – even if you want to spend your Christmas break learning and writing, you can.

Whether you want to explore writing fiction, have an idea for a kids’ book you want to write, or think writing for magazines and newspapers is your thing, we have an online course that will suit you.

ONLINE COURSE: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1
When
: Week beginning Monday 21 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

ONLINE COURSE: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults
When
: Week beginning Monday 21 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

ONLINE COURSE: Creative Writing Stage 1
When
: Week beginning Monday 21 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Did you know? Spin doctor
We all hear "spin" everyday, especially in the media, where an interpretation of an event or political campaign can be used to sway public opinion one way or another. Spin is usually considered deceptive in some way, and we’re naturally distrustful of it.

The "spin doctor" is the one doing the spinning. They’re the ones charged with getting that favourable interpretation out there. Interestingly, it’s quite a new term. The phrase actually comes from baseball. The "spin" put on the ball by the pitcher is used to confuse the batter by disguising the ball’s direction.

Spin doctor didn’t come into use until the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan’s advisers were frantically trying to win support for his ‘Star Wars’ initiative, which was widely criticised.






Are your documents ready to be published?
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.
 
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.
 
What past participants say:
"The course was excellent and the teaching was focussed on exactly what I needed to know."
- Carol-Anne Maurer

"The presenter was fantastic. She gives practical, painless tuition you will refer to in the workplace."
- Sarah Shields
 
This seminar is taught by Deb Doyle. Deb is an experienced editorial-training consultant and publication editor. Deb has conducted courses for the Productivity Commission, AMP, Wizard Home Loans and the RTA as well as for many other corporate and government entities located in Sydney or Melbourne.

Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 25 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more details or to enrol online.






What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre intern, Katie Booth, is reading The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World, Quarterly Essay 41 by David Malouf. She writes:

"When so many of the sources of human unhappiness have been removed, how is it that happiness still alludes us?" David Malouf endeavours to answer this question, exploring happiness through different lenses and grappling with the possibility that a solution does not exist, in the first Quarterly Essays for 2011, The Happy Life.

Malouf’s gentle and all inclusive voice lures the reader on a journey in an attempt to seek answers. He guides his readers through the classical perception on happiness to our modern 21st century take on “the simplest of human emotions.”

One cannot help but be swept away on this voyage but some readers may be frustrated after turning the final page. Malouf leaves us with an ambiguous answer, simply suggesting that we may encounter happiness in the arts. While readers may be far from satisfied with his answer, the adventure Malouf takes us on is a captivating one.

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: 11 Drinks to Pair With Your Favourite Books
I came across this on Huffington Post recently. If you’ve got some reading time planned over the holidays, perhaps this will give you some ideas on what you should read... and drink.

Not to be taken too seriously, this post lists some must-read books, along with a suggested accompanying drink. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love is probably the booziest book suggested, with a drink to complement each country she visited. If you happen to own a goatskin (or wineskin), then you’re ready to read Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls while enjoying a good red wine.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – FULL
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 17 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 18 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville – FULL
When
: Monday 21 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 21 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 21 November 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 21 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – FULL
When
: Wednesday 23 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Thursday 24 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 25 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White – NEW ONLINE COURSE
When:
Week beginning Monday 28 November 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
When
: Tuesday 29 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Better Business Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 30 November 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 1 December 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Wednesday 7 December 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 8 December 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Monday 12 December 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 14 December 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Monday 9 January to Friday 13 January 2012 (five consecutive mornings)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Monday 16 January to Friday 20 January 2012 (five consecutive mornings)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Monday 16 January to Friday 20 January 2012 (five consecutive mornings)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

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

Course: Weekend Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 21 January and Sunday 22 January 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Travel Writing with Sue White – SUMMER SCHOOL
When:
Saturday 21 January and Sunday 22 January 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Monday 23 January and Tuesday 24 January 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Cost: $295

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville
When
: Tuesday 24 January 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding – NEW DATE
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 30 January 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 31 January 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 Thursday starting Thursday 2 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 4 February and Sunday 5 February 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 4 February and Sunday 5 February 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 6 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 11 February and Sunday 12 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

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

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

Course: Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin – NEW COURSE
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 – NEW DATE
When:
Thursday 15 March 2012 and Thursday 22 March 2012 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

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

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding – NEW DATE
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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