Sign up for our newsletter

Get Published newsletter

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.

24 May 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012
In this issue:
  • TIP: Lend or loan?
  • Learn how to write for kids
  • Win $1,000 in Random House Short Story Thriller competition
  • Get started on your novel
  • TIP: The subjunctive verb were
  • What we're readingThe Planets by Dava Sobel
  • WEBPICK: Caro & Co

I finally caught up on Thor (the movie) recently. Nothing like a bit of escapism and a hunky superhero with a hammer for an entertaining night in. Now, I can’t wait to see The Avengers (where Thor gets to reprise his role as the god of thunder). And I'm so excited that amazing screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network), is penning a screenplay on Steve Jobs. Whether you like action flicks, arthouse cinema or comic motion pictures, one thing’s for certain: the backbone of all these movies is the screenplay.

I am sometimes in awe of these writers. It takes a special skill to be able to hold an audience with believable characters making their way through a gripping plot for 90 minutes. The great thing is that there is so much wonderful talent coming out of Australia. And I can already see some of it coming out of the Sydney Writers’ Centre. If you’re interested in our Screenwriting course, 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
  • the difference between story and plot
  • how to write the most audience-engaging narrative
  • genre, style and theme – and how this applies to your screenplay
  • what you must do before you even start writing
  • and MUCH more.
Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When
: Mondays starting Monday 28 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre



TIP: Lend or loan?
Do you lend or loan money to your friend? Lend or loan a dress to your sister? Strictly speaking you should use lend only as a verb and loan only as a noun. For example:

Can you lend (v) me that dress?
 
We have loan (n) of a truck to move our furniture.

But, as usual, there are some exceptions to this rule, particularly in British English. The Macquarie Dictionary lists loan as a verb in certain circumstances. One definition for loan it gives is “something lent or furnished on condition of being returned, especially a sum of money lent at interest.” That’s why banks loan us money rather than lend it.
 





Learn how to write books for kids
The market for books for younger readers has exploded in recent years. Harry Potter, the Twilight series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid – even adult readers have heard of these! If your passion is writing books for children or young adults, you need to know more about what’s happening here in Australia and how to write the most engaging books for youngsters.

Writing Books for Children and Young Adults will show you how to write an inspiring and entertaining book, and what steps you need to take to get it published. You’ll learn how to create great characters, find the right voice for your target age group, and how to write believable dialogue. You’ll also explore common assumptions about writing for children and young readers.
 
What past participants say:
"A thoroughly accessible, non-intimidating way of beginning to think seriously about the process of writing books for young children. Judith was excellent."
- Katherine Norbury

"My own insight into what I write has improved. I'm so glad I took this course!"
- Stuart Layzell
 
Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.

Can’t make it to our Centre in Milsons Point? You can also do this course online.

ONLINE COURSE: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Week beginning Monday 28 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






TIP: The subjunctive verb were
In traditional grammar, sentences have moods, which we’ve borrowed from ancient Greek and Latin. One of those moods is the subjunctive – a sentence that suggests a hypothetical scenario. In these sentences, the subjunctive verb were has always been the preferred choice. For example:

If I were you, I would wait until it stopped raining before taking Rambo for a walk.
 
If the boss were here, we’d all be on our best behaviour.

In the past, if you were to choose the verb was for these sentences, traditionalists would tell you you’re wrong. But the Australian Style Manual suggests the rule is not so clear now:

In Australian English the were subjunctive is falling into disuse, replaced by was for ordinary purposes. This then makes the were subjunctive a formal choice in terms of style.

So the bottom line is, was is acceptable for informal use, while were is the preferred option for formal writing (and traditionalists).






Get started on your novel!
Want to make your book a reality? Our Introduction to Novel Writing course starts next week and there are only 2 places left. If you’ve done one or both of our Creative Writing courses, or you’ve made a start on your manuscript and want to be sure you’re heading in the right direction, this six-week course is your next step.

The course is a combination of theory and workshopping and you’ll have a chance to submit drafts of your work to fellow students and your presenter, Pamela Freeman, for regular feedback. By the end of this course you’ll be armed with the tools and techniques you need to take your writing to the next level.

What past participants say:
"Pamela was absolutely wonderful. She was not only helpful in her general advice to the class, she also gave considered and invaluable advice to each of us individually."
- Anika Berkman

"Putting your work out amongst readers and then getting feedback from them is the best way to move your manuscript forward."
- Melissa Sargent

Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman – ONLY 2 PLACES LEFT!
When
: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Cost: $495

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Short Story Thriller Writing competition
If you haven’t finished your manuscript or short stories are more your thing, here’s a competition for you.

To celebrate the release of Karin Slaughter’s new digital short story, Random House are holding a competition for the best story up to 1,000 words starting with the sentence:
"I have seen unspeakable things in my life.”
The winner will receive $1,000 cash and have their story published as an eBook and in Take 5 magazine.

Easy! The first sentence is already written for you.

Entries close on Monday 18 June 2012. For details and to enter click here.






Oops!
We spotted this sign at a cafe in country Victoria.



If you get past the missing apostrophe – there should definitely be one in “Healesville’s” – you’ll be tripped up again by the unique spelling of “dining” – dinning.






Perfect your writing at work
With the advent of email few of us will get through our working day without writing to someone. So much of our communication is now in writing it’s vital to have the skills to do it clearly and succinctly. Our Business Writing Essentials seminar is designed to give you those skills and help you write more confidently at work.
 
This one-day seminar suits anyone who has to write at work. Whether you’re in customer service, administration or sales, you’ll benefit from this practical and intensive seminar. You’ll learn the 11 Golden Rules of business writing, how to deliver bad news in writing, and the right way to start and sign off your emails and letters.
 
What past participants say:
"Tony was excellent. He has a good knowledge of his subject."
- Catherine Ferrara

"The presenter was excellent. He was clear, patient, dug deeper into topics and was approachable."
- Ana Ribeiro

Business Writing Essentials with Tony Spencer-Smith
When
: Thursday 14 June 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Historical Novels
When Hilary Mantel spoke at the recent Sydney Writers’ Festival she had hundreds of history buffs in thrall, hanging off her every word. The author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies is today’s doyenne of the historical novel – her books tell the story of Henry VIII’s right hand man, Thomas Cromwell. In fact, Wolf Hall made it onto this recent list The 10 Best Historical Novels in The Guardian.

The list also includes Leo Tolstoy for War and Peace, George Eliot for Romola and Robert Graves for I, Claudius, so Mantel is in very good company. There are also some lesser known books mentioned, such as The Leopard by the Italian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker. Any reader interested in history, or just great fiction, will find something to interest them here.

Check out the full list here





What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre office manager, Andrew Gillman, is reading The Planets by Dava Sobel. He writes:

A former New York Times science reporter, Dava Sobel has become well known for her popular expositions on a range of scientific topics.

The Planets reflects her ability to make arcane facts come alive in a fascinating way. She takes readers on a solar system-spanning tour of the planets, but far from being just a recitation of facts and figures, she also weaves in the myth, history, astrology and even science fiction associated with Earth’s celestial companions.

What emerges is as full a picture of each of these heavenly bodies as you could hope to get. You learn why Venus is swathed in acidic clouds, and why it stays brilliantly visible for anyone on Earth no matter how far away it moves from us in its orbit. Or why Jupiter is not simply a boisterous ball of liquid nitrogen but the reputed source of fecundity and generosity for anyone born under its sign.

Richly detailed, accessible without being condescending, The Planets is a perfect balance between scientific fact and storytelling. Dava Sobel reminds her readers that knowledge never exists in a vacuum as isolated facts but always finds its true relevance when it is placed in the context of human experience.

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: Caro & Co
For a parenting blog, Caro & Co covers a wonderfully diverse range of topics. Written by Caro Webster, this blog won the Parenting category in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition. Caro’s aim with her blog is to show parents “how to keep kids connected to the wonder of nature”. There’s plenty of advice on Caro & Co on how to do this – there are recipes, gardening tips and advice on outdoor activities for the kids, all accompanied by beautiful photographs.
 
Even if you aren’t a parent Caro & Co is worth checking out. There’s one post in particular, featuring a chubby King Charles cavalier named Charlie, that’s bound to have you reaching for the tissues.
 
Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When:
Week beginning Monday 28 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White/Allison Tait
When:
Week beginning Monday 28 May 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 28 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Monday starting Monday 28 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $495

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 29 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 31 May 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 4 June 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 7 June 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 11 June 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 13 June 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Business Writing Essentials with Tony Spencer-Smith
When
: Thursday 14 June 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
When: Every Thursday starting Thursday 14 June 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Food Writing with Carli Ratcliff – NEW COURSE
When
: Saturday 16 June and Sunday 17 June 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Write a chick-lit novel with Lisa Heidke – NEW COURSE
When
: Saturday 16 June and Sunday 17 June 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the web with Grant Doyle
When
: Monday 18 June 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 21 June 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 26 June 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Cost: $450

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Wednesday 27 June and 4 July 2012 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Editing Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 28 June 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Sell Your eBook on Amazon with Steven Lewis – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 3 July 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

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

Seminar: Successful Freelancing with Valerie Khoo and Gayle Bryant
When
: Tuesday 10 July 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 11 July 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

WEEKEND course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 14 July and Sunday 15 July 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

WEEKEND course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Marina Go – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 14 July and Sunday 15 July 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Build Your Profile Using Twitter with Steven Lewis
When
: Tuesday 17 July 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 17 July 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 19 July 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 24 July 2012 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Friday 27 July 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 3 August 2012 for six weeks
Time: 10.00 am – 12 noon
Cost: $450

Course: Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 9 August 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie – NEW DATE
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 15 August 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cost: $395

Weekend Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie – NEW DATE
When
: Saturday 13 October and Sunday 14 October 2012 (2 consecutive days)
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Write a Business Book with Valerie Khoo
When
: Friday 16 November 2012 (half-day seminar)
Time: 9.30 am – 1.00 pm
Cost: $295

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

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


Archive

    Website terms of use | Privacy policy | Anti-spam policy | External links policy

    Powered by eway

    © Copyright Australian Writers' Centre, Suite 3, 55 Lavender Street, Milsons Point NSW 2061, Australia.