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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.

23 February 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012
In this issue:
  • TIP: Avoid ambiguous antecedents
  • Take your writing to a new level – Online Creative Writing Stage 2
  • Monash Prize launched
  • TIP: Okay, ok, OK?
  • Write your film – Screenwriting Stage 1
  • What we’re readingRevolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • WEBPICK: Playing by the Book

This newsletter comes to you from the Yarra Valley in Victoria. I’ve escaped to the country to focus on the book I’m writing. Although I admit I've taken some distracting trips into the city to interview people, like best-selling author of Unmarketing Scott Stratten, and meeting chanteuse turned talent judge turned author turned fashion designer Dannii Minogue at the recent Business Chicks event in Melbourne. But I'm now firmly back with my manuscript.

When you’re working on a creative project it’s vital that you combine the technique and skills that you learn (in courses at the Sydney Writers’ Centre) with some discipline and space to let your creative juices flow.

When I’m taking a break from writing, I also love exploring new towns. Although I do find myself writing travel stories in my head about these cute destinations. If you like the idea of writing travel articles then I highly recommend our wonderful online course: Travel Writing.

In this 5-week online course, you’ll discover:
  • different types of travel articles
  • industry lingo you need to know
  • how to structure your article
  • travel writing in your home town
  • a step-by-step guide to “media trips”
  • and MUCH more.
ONLINE COURSE: Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 27 February 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
  • Our final Summer School courses are being held this weekend. There are some places available for Travel Memoir – and it’s not too late to enrol!

  • It’s raining cat and dog memoirs – our latest Writing Bar post explores the publishing phenomena of pet memoirs.

  • Filling fast: Business Writing Essentials with Tony Spencer-Smith, Tuesday 28 February 2012.



TIP: Avoid ambiguous antecedents
Last week we looked at antecedents and the problems caused by missing or faraway antecedents. This week, we look at ambiguous antecedents.
 
Remember, an antecedent is 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. Sometimes there may be more than one word the pronoun could refer to. In these cases, you need to be careful you don’t wind up with an ambiguous antecedent. For example:
My phone was in my bag but now it’s gone.
In this sentence, it’s not clear whether “it”, the thing that’s gone, is the phone or the bag. Here’s another example from Grammar Girl:
“The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and they can be seen in the church basement Friday afternoon”. The pronoun “they” finds itself in an awkward position. Does it refer to the ladies or the clothing? Well, we can guess that “items of clothing” is the intended antecedent, but it doesn’t appear that way.





Take your writing to a new level
If you’ve completed Creative Writing Stage 1 or Writing Books for Children and Young Adults, then you already know the essential elements of a good story. But maintaining your motivation and inspiration is also an important part of your writing journey and that’s where Creative Writing Stage 2 comes in.

Workshopping your writing is essential if you want to extend your skills and make your stories shine. Our ONLINE COURSE: Creative Writing Stage 2 will give you the chance to put into practice what you’ve learnt and get invaluable feedback from your online tutor and your classmates.

What past participants say:
"I enjoyed learning how to structure our stories so that the reader is kept interested, and about the process of publishing and what you need to do to refine your writing."
- Elise Alexandra Robertson

"The ability to do it online and when it suited me was most important to me. Cathie's comments were precise and her knowledge was valuable. I found her comments useful and really helpful in my writing."
- Debra Moloney

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.






Congratulations Jeni Mawter!
Jeni Mawter is one of our very talented Creative Writing presenters and she shared some very exciting news with us this week. Her latest young adult novel, Kiss Kill, has been published as an eBook by Really Blue Books and is now available on Amazon.
 
This is a really interesting project for Jeni. Described as a "transmedia" book, the novel is interactive and combines scripts, songs, notes, poems, comics, essays, texting and photos. Readers will be able to post comments, compose music and interact with each other. Even the main character, Mat, is taking part – he’s blogging at whyidontgetgirls.wordpress.com
 
Congratulations Jeni!






Monash Prize
Monash University and the Emerging Writers’ Festival have just announced a new writing prize for young writers worth $4,000 to the winner.

The prize is for any form of creative writing, including short stories, poetry, non-fiction narrative and narrative verse, and is open to all undergraduate university students in Australia.
 
The theme for the story is “Revolution” and entries must be between 1,500 and 3,000 words long. Entries close on Monday 23 April 2012.

For more information visit the Monash Prize website.






Get published in your favourite magazine TODAY
Have you ever sat down to read your favourite magazine, or pored over the Saturday newspapers, and thought to yourself, “I could write that”? In our five-week course Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1, we’ll show you how you can master the art of writing a great feature article, and get it published.
 
You’ll learn how to generate story ideas, how to research and structure your article, and how to approach an editor. This course is ideal if you’re interested in writing articles about travel, lifestyle, politics, sport, entertainment – just about anything you can think of.
 
What past participants say:
"This was one of the best short courses that I've done – practical and enjoyable."
- Julia Wang

"A great place to start if you are thinking of becoming a freelance journalist. It provides you with in-depth knowledge and the confidence to go out there and begin writing and pitching!"
- Hannah Davies

Magazine and Newspaper Writing with Marina Go
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 6 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
WEEKEND INTENSIVE: Magazine and Newspaper Writing with Marina Go
When
: Saturday 31 March & Sunday 1 April 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: Okay, ok, OK?
Wondering which spelling you should use when writing “okay”?

Well, the term is colloquial so, for starters, you should ask yourself if it’s appropriate to use it at all. It’s fine for emails to friends or family, or other informal writing, but it’s not a good idea to use it in any formal or business writing.
 
The Macquarie Dictionary lists “okay” as the first spelling, but also lists “ok” and “OK” as correct. So, as long as you’re sure it’s okay to use ok, then it’s OK to use any spelling.






Movie ticket giveaway
One of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, Coriolanus, is enjoying a cinematic revival and, so far, critics have been impressed. In the film, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, Caius Martius Coriolanus is a Roman General seeking the powerful position of Consul. To secure the role he must win the votes of a public who despise him. He is eventually expelled from Rome and allies himself with his sworn enemy, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take revenge on the city.
 
Thanks to Icon Films we have 10 double passes to give away to Coriolanus. To win, just tell us which play you’d like to see made into a film and why (it doesn’t have to be Shakespeare). Email your answers and your postal address to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm Friday 2 March 2012.

 






Write for the screen
Feeling inspired by the recent Tropfest short film festival? Have an idea for a feature film and want to know how to get it on the screen? If you want to get your movie idea out of your head and on to the page, our Screenwriting Stage 1 course is for you.

This course will teach you the three fundamental elements of a good script – character, story and structure – while also giving you the chance to workshop your writing. You’ll discover how to structure your story, how to write characters people want to watch, and how to engage your audience. By the end of the course, you should have a first draft of your film script!

What past participants say:
"Tim is direct, motivating and his experience is invaluable! I particularly appreciated his "cut to the chase" approach to writing – it certainly helped me gain a more ruthless approach to editing my own work."
- Adrienne Byrt

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

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.






Oops Word!
This hotel in Rouse Hill has managed to achieve a double-whammy sign blunder – an apostrophe where there shouldn’t be one, and a “visable” spelling mistake.



We assume they mean to outlaw “visible tattoos”. That’s “visible” with an i, not an a, and “tattoos” without the apostrophe.






What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre communications coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. She writes:

Revolutionary Road is one of those rare books that lives up to its reputation. Richard Yates's tale of a young, married couple tearing each other apart in the wake of their disillusionment with 1950s America has been heralded as a modern classic. This book is often compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic American novel, The Great Gatsby, but the emotional depth and insight of Yates's writing makes the reading experience more confronting and moving.

Laden with elegant descriptions and difficult decisions rife with heady emotions, Revolutionary Road is a book you will never forget.

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: Playing by the Book
If you’re interested in kids’ books there are plenty of blogs and websites dedicated to writing for a younger audience. But how many can boast an International Edible Book Festival? Playing by the Book can. Yes, that’s right – edible books. Or, more precisely, book cakes. The idea is to make a cake based on anything related to children’s literature, then upload photos of your creation by Friday 16 March 2012.
 
As well as quirky cake competitions, Playing by the Book includes book reviews, children’s book publishing news, and posts on “all the fun crazy stuff” kids’ books inspire us to do.
 
Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
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

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 27 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

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 1 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: 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
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

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

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

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

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: 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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