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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.

19 January 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012
In this issue:
  • TIP: Valuable or invaluable?
  • Get your articles published – now!
  • Want to blog from New York? Women In Focus blogging competition
  • Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival
  • Take a peek into the world of travel writing
  • What we’re reading House of Sticks by
    Peggy Frew
  • WEBPICK: Get Concentrating


I never thought my knowledge of geography would expand as a result of working at the Sydney Writers’ Centre. But it does – every day. It happens whenever a new student enrols from an exotic-sounding location. I love it when I see people enrol from overseas – many are expats looking for an Australian course. But I also love that students are enrolling in our online courses from all around Australia. It’s been an eye-opener to see the names of some of the quirky towns in this country. Think Humpty Doo (NT), Inaloo (WA), Yorkeys Knob (QLD) and Penguin (TAS)!

One of our popular online courses is Writing Books for Children and Young Adults. I love the feedback that we get from students who do this course.

It's the kind that makes you go all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that you’ve truly made a positive difference in someone’s writing journey.

If you want to write books for children, this is the perfect place to start. Maybe you have ideas for kids’ books but aren’t sure what to do next. This course will give you a step-by-step plan on how to turn your ideas into a book.

The course will cover:

  • how to get started
  • finding the right voice
  • creating characters and stories young readers will enjoy
  • how to write believable dialogue
  • common assumptions about writing for children and about young readers
  • 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

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults
When:
Week beginning Monday 23 January 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre




TIP: Invaluable versus valuable
Many people confuse the meaning of invaluable and valuable and the two are used almost synonymously. There’s also confusion around the prefix "–in" in invaluable. Some people ask if using the prefix should make the word a negative?
 
If something is invaluable, it means it can’t be valued or appraised. You would use invaluable if you’re talking about something of worth that you can’t put a price on. For example:

Our presenters’ knowledge and experience is invaluable to students.

You usually use the word valuable when referring to something of worth that you can put a price on. For example:

The collection of jewellery is extremely valuable.

Another meaning of valuable is “capable of being valued”, and when you think of it like that, the negative prefix in invaluable, or “not capable of being valued” makes sense. In this sense it really is the opposite of valuable.






Get your articles published – now
Ready to join the students who have already been published in their favourite magazines? Your path to publication should start with our online magazine and newspaper writing course. You’ll learn all the essential elements of good magazine and newspaper articles as well as how to sell them.
 
And, we’re thrilled to welcome our newest online tutor, Allison Tait. Allison is a journalist, editor, ghost writer, blogger and novelist. You can read more about her incredible writing journey on the Writing Bar.
 
What past participants say:
"I thought the structure of this course was great. I will never read an article in the same way again! The online format was easy and it really felt as if you were in a class."
- Shirley Schulz-Robinson

"I found the clarity of the recordings exceptional. I didn't need to strain to hear and understand them. The lessons were easy to follow and stayed on topic."
- Alan Taylor

ONLINE COURSE: Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Allison Tait
When
: Week beginning Monday 23 January 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Student Success
This week we want to congratulate one of our original Magazine and Newspaper Writing graduates, Heather Smith.

After a number of years of business blogging and freelance writing, she’s published her first book. Learn MYOB in 7 Days was published by Wiley in December 2011. She’s now working on her second book for Wiley, Learn Small Business Start-Up in 7 Days.

She included this message in the book:

“Thank you Valerie Khoo and the team at the Sydney Writers’
Centre. Thank you, Valerie, for being so accessible and generous
in sharing your knowledge. I feel that I have learnt more from you about the skill and art of writing than from the many years I spent within institutional learning environments.”


Congratulations, Heather!







Want to blog from New York?
Global blogger search – Go to New York Fashion Week or Tanzania on a volunteering experience!

Would you like to win a trip to New York for fashion week? Or would you prefer to trek and volunteer in Mt Kilimanjaro? Women in Focus has launched a competition to find the ultimate bloggers to win these trips. It’s as easy as signing up to Women in Focus – www.womeninfocus.com.au – and creating a personal blog.  
 
Sign up to Women in Focus – it’s open for anyone to join – and check out how to enter.







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:
"Tim is direct, motivating and his experience is invaluable! I particularly appreciated his 'cut to the chase' approach to writing."
- Adrienne Byrt

"Tim was absolutely brilliant. It's amazing how much I learnt in five weeks."
- Curtis McDonald

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 30 January 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival
In just its second year, the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival has managed to assemble an impressive line up of some of Australia’s best known writers. Guests include Robert Drewe, Morris Gleitzman, Alice Pung, Charlotte Wood and columnist and ABC Radio presenter, Richard Glover.
 
To kick off the festival, a marathon reading of Oscar and Lucinda, by the festival’s patron Peter Carey, will be held on Sunday 18 March. The festival proper will be held 23-25 March 2012.

For more details and to buy tickets visit the website.





Spelling errors
Thanks to our wonderful Life Writing presenter, Patti Miller, who took time out of editing her latest book to send us this amusing example of “make it up as you go” spelling. The image below is from a catering website.




“Catchatore”, or cacciatore, is our favourite. Some other inventive spelling we spotted – Tuskan (Tuscan), piella (paella), and ceasar (caeser).






Take a peek into the world of Travel Writing
Want to learn more about travel writing but can’t commit to a longer course? Our two-hour seminar Introduction to Travel Writing is the perfect intro to this exciting industry.

The seminar will cover publishing opportunities for travel articles, some straight talk about earnings, and how to make contacts and get published. You’ll also learn about writing for guidebooks and other avenues for publishing.

What past participants say:
"I loved that the course was so informative about the reality of what it means to be a travel writer. I came away inspired and also equipped to BEGIN!"
- Rachel Sharp

"I enjoyed listening to the answers to all my many questions and listening to Geoff share his experience. What can I say, I love travel stories."
- Tina Lambert

DAYTIME Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 2 February 2012 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $85

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





What we’re reading
This week our intern, Katie Booth, read House of Sticks by Peggy Frew. Katie writes:

Stories about the tensions of modern family life are rarely told with ease, but Peggy Frew’s novel House of Sticks fulfils such a task effortlessly.

The plot is centered around Bonnie, who has put her musical career on hold to play the role of devoted wife to Pete, and dedicated mother to three young children. Like many debut novels, this one is somewhat autobiographical.

The book draws a frighteningly accurate portrait of the contemporary family and the things that threaten this connection, both from external and internal influences. A sense of tension creeps into the story with the arrival of Pete’s old friend Doug, an extroverted and intrusive figure.

From this point on, there is an anxiety and apprehension that saturates all elements of Bonnie’s life. This tension keeps readers hooked until the very last page and is something that few authors have been able to depict successfully.

This is an edited extract of Katie’s full review on the Writing Bar.

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: Get Concentrating
Fewer distractions, more focus – what every writer needs! Get Concentrating is an app that promises to create the perfect working environment for Mac users. It allows you to block certain applications or websites that you don’t need for your writing project, to help minimise the temptation to procrastinate.

All you do is set up a new task, launch any applications you need to complete the task, block the sites you don’t want access to while working, and select the sites you do want to be able to access. Then set the amount of time you want to concentrate, and away you go!

It’s easy to use and you can download a free 60-hour trial on the website.

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Seminar: Successful Freelancing with Valerie Khoo and Gayle Bryant – FULL
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 – FULL
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

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

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – FULL
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

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 23 January 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 31 January 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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


Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 1 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Wednesday 1 February 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Daytime Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 2 February 2012 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am – 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 2 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Daytime How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Friday 3 February 2012 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $85

Course: Weekend 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
When:
Week beginning Monday 6 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 6 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

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

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 8 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Thursday 9 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 9 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 11 February and Sunday 12 February 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Weekend 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: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Melina Marchetta – NEW PRESENTER
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 Life Writing with Patti Miller – SUMMER SCHOOL
When
: Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450

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


Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo – NEW DATE
When
: Thursday 1 March 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Cost: $295

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

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

Seminar: Successful Freelancing with Valerie Khoo and Gayle Bryant – NEW DATE
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: 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

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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