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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.

1 March 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012
In this issue:

  • TIP: Disinformation or misinformation?
  • Writing tours to Paris and Bali – only a few places left!
  • The Big Issue Fiction Edition open for submissions
  • Did you know? Crash blossoms
  • Perfect your grammar and punctuation
  • What we’re readingAstropolis: Saturn Returns by Sean Williams
  • WEBPICK: Ruth Wajnryb: words woman

What a week. I’ve been very busy writing but, unsurprisingly, I’ve succumbed to the temptation to buy a stack of books. These have included Story by veteran screenwriting guru Robert McKee. My other book purchase, just for something a bit different, is Crafting with Cat Hair!

While the book about cat hair is quirky (and grosses out most people I show it to), it’s the book on screenwriting that has me riveted. If you fancy the idea of writing for the movies, then you’ll love our course Screenwriting Stage 1 with the wonderful Tim Gooding.

We’re lucky to have Tim teach this course as he’s been travelling to Europe working on his latest TV project. So this is a great opportunity to learn from an experienced screenwriter who is working in the midst of this dynamic industry.

You’ll discover:

  • the ideal way to structure your story
  • what you need to include in your plot
  • how to write characters people love to watch
  • why pressure is the catalyst of character
  • how to write the most audience-engaging narrative
  • genre, style and theme – and how this applies to your screenplay
  • and MUCH more.

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre



TIP: Disinformation or misinformation?
The word “disinformation” is not one you see often, so when I saw it used recently in an article I was reading I had to wonder – why “disinformation” and not “misinformation”?
 
The Macquarie Dictionary lists “disinformation” as “misleading information supplied intentionally, as in counter espionage”. For example:

There has been much disinformation spread about the issue of climate change.

The online version of the Macquarie lists “misinformation” as the noun form of the verb “misinform” – to give false or misleading information to. According to the blog Sentence First the difference between the two words is intent. Misinformation is a result of ignorance, or is unintentional, for example:

The pamphlet contained misinformation about the cost of dog-sitting.

Disinformation, however, is deliberately misleading.






Our Writing Tours to Paris and Bali – only a few places left!
Our International Writing Tours are a unique experience offering inspiration and motivation to writers at any stage of their journey.
 
Writing in Bali
You can enjoy 8 days in the artistic centre of Ubud, Bali, and learn about the Art and Craft of Writing the Senses. Staying in your own room in a beautiful resort set amongst the rice paddies, you’ll discover how to enrich your writing and re-awaken your senses with Patti Miller.
 
The Art and Craft of Writing the Senses in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 21 July to Saturday 28 July 2012

Click here for a full itinerary.  
 
Living and writing in Paris
If memoir is more your thing, why not immerse yourself in French culture, food and literature and join our Writing in Paris tour. You’ll spend 17 days exploring the City of Light, staying in your very own Parisian apartment, and undertaking writing instruction from Patti Miller – one of Australia's best writing tutors. This tour is very popular and fills quickly, so don’t miss out!
 
Writing in Paris with Patti Miller
When
: Thursday 18 October to Saturday 3 November 2012
For early bird discounts full payment is due by Saturday 31 March 2012.

Click here for full itinerary.






More Student Success
Very exciting news from one of our Creative Writing graduates this week. Rajasree Variyar entered a story he wrote in a short story competition – and his entry was short-listed! Here’s what he wrote to us:
 
I just wanted to let you know that my short story, "Men Don't Cry", was short listed for the Margaret River short story competition. This story is about a young Sudanese ex-child soldier, which I workshopped in Creative Writing Stage 2 with you last year. You gave me some great advice, so thank you!

Another potential student success story is Dean Koorey. I use the word “potential” because you would help him win $20,000 for his witty entry into Seek’s competition. But you need to vote before 11.59pm Thursday 1 March 2012 (today). Find out about his “journey” here.






Big Issue Fiction Edition
Entering short story competitions is one of the best ways for writers to practise their craft, and one of the biggest for the year is The Big Issue Fiction Edition. This competition is fast becoming one of the most important short story events of the year – and you could be part of it.
 
The Fiction Edition is a blend of stories selected from open submissions and commissioned pieces from established and much-loved authors. In 2011, vendors sold 34,000 copies of the edition, which featured short stories by Frank Moorhouse, Peggy Frew, Nick Earls, Charlotte Wood and Chris Wormersley.

Editors of the 2012 edition are looking for “intriguing stories, humorous tales and lively and interesting writing”. You can choose to pick your own topic, or write to the official theme of “The End of the World”. Stories must be under 3,000 words long.

If you’d like to enter your story for consideration in The Big Issue Fiction Edition, you have until Thursday 31 May 2012. Full entry details can be found on the Writing Bar.






Online courses in Creative Writing
If you want to make sure your stories are ready for competition, or just want to kickstart your writing and get started on a novel, our Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 is the perfect way to start.
 
In this course you’ll learn all about character, structure, plot and voice, and how to make sure your stories really pack a punch.
 
What past participants say:
"After completing this course, I feel better equipped with the tools and techniques I need to be a good writer. I really enjoyed the process of seeing my ideas come to life on paper and as a result I now write short pieces daily."
- Itu Taito

"Prior to the course, I was floundering without any teaching to know how to approach creative writing. The course provided me with all the information I needed and more."
- Debbie Smith
 
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman
When
: Week beginning Monday 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.

If you’ve already completed Stage 1, or you feel you’re ready to move to the next level, the Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 is your chance to really practise what you’ve learnt and workshop more of your work.
 
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman
When
: Week beginning Monday 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Did you know? Crash Blossoms
What on earth is a crash blossom?! According to Urban Dictionary, it’s a “neologism for infelicitously-worded newspaper headlines”. In other words, it’s an awkwardly written headline that could have two or more meanings. One of the defining features of a crash blossom is confusion between nouns and verbs.
 
The term originated in an online discussion on the headline “Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms”. Huh? Turns out the story was about a Japanese violinist whose father was killed in the 1985 Japan Airlines crash. Her career has blossomed since the crash – but you wouldn’t guess that from the headline. Instead you may wonder, “What’s a crash blossom?”
 
Here are a few more amusing examples:

British Left Waffles on Falklands
Gator Attacks Puzzle Experts
Blast at South Lebanon Hotel popular with UN staff







Oops Word!
One of our sharp-eyed students, Gemma Butler-Fleming, spotted this sign at a wildlife park:



First, the correct spelling for more than one wallaby is “wallabies”. Secondly, you don’t use an apostrophe to create a plural! Wallaby’s is wrong not only for its spelling, but also for the apostrophe that’s been used. Albino’s is also incorrect – it should be albinos, without the apostrophe.





Perfect your grammar and punctuation
Why do I need an apostrophe for “kids’ books” and not “books for kids”? What’s the difference between which and that? Where should I put the comma? Do I even need the comma?
 
Grammar and punctuation can seem overwhelming but once you know the basic rules, you can confidently approach almost any writing task. Our one-day seminar Grammar and Punctuation Essentials is an intensive and interactive day that will leave you with knowledge you can apply immediately. No longer will you need to fear apostrophes!
 
What past participants say:
"I learned so much! Deb is a wealth of information."
- Samantha Dodson

"Grammar and punctuation could be a boring topic but Deb's flamboyance and energy made it fun and interesting to learn."
- Divina Gola

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Tuesday 6 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.







What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre office manager, Andrew Gillman, is reading Astropolis: Saturn Returns by Sean Williams. He writes:

Humanity is deeply flawed. But despite this, not ultimately doomed.

This is the recurring theme throughout this book, which is the first volume in what is styled as an epic sci-fi trilogy. So far it’s proving to be epic indeed and a great read.

The story covers vast amounts of space and time in its quest to tell the story of Imre Bergemasc who may be the saviour of human civilisation, or it’s greatest threat. He can’t quite recall which. Reconstituted into physical form after drifting as a download of sorts for millennia through space, and missing vital memories lost in the process, he is struggling to make sense of a galaxy greatly changed since he was last conscious. In the vacuum of power caused by the governing body, The Continuum, it’s every person for themselves, which presents endless complications for Imre as he attempts to rebuild his life.

Sean Williams’s great gift is that his story doesn’t descend into dystopian bleakness. Humanity, while technologically and biologically much evolved in a far distant future, is still prone to many of the same flaws that beset us in our troubled present. But the key part is we’re still around, chaotic galaxy or not, trying to do our best. This grounded perspective informs the whole book and makes it a compelling read.

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: Ruth Wajnryb: words woman
Remember the "words woman" from the Sydney Morning Herald? Well, she no longer is the “words woman” but Ruth Wajnryb is still fascinated by linguistics and language and also has a blog discussing everything from neologisms to apologies.
 
There are some really interesting posts here about language, how we use it, and how it changes. There’s also Dr Ruth’s Grammar Corner – a useful reference for anyone who struggles with the English language now and then.
 
Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
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
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
When
: Tuesday 6 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman – FULL
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
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

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 12 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 19 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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
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
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 28 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: PR and Media Releases that Get Results with Catriona Pollard – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 30 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Course: Weekend Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go
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

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

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

Seminar: Build Your Profile Using Twitter with Steven Lewis – NEW SEMINAR
When
: Monday 23 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

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Friday 27 April 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
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: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 9 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
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: Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: 495

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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