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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.

2 February 2012

Thursday, February 02, 2012
In this issue:
  • TIP: Specially or especially?
  • Penguin’s Monthly Catch
  • Write stories to inspire children 
  • Book giveawayTell Them to Get Lost by
    Brian Thacker
  • Writing for the Web
  • What we’re readingThe Thousand Autumns
    of Jacob de Zoet
    by David Mitchell
  • WEBPICK: Grammarics

I love summer here at the Sydney Writers’ Centre. With daylight savings and our gorgeous sunny days, the Centre is buzzing every day with students. It’s such a great atmosphere and the perfect time of year to start on your writing projects.  

We have a wonderful range of creative writing courses coming up. If you haven’t done a creative writing course before, then Creative Writing Stage 1 is the best place to start. This will make sure you have the right foundation to write fiction, short stories and novels.

If you have a bit of experience under your belt, then Plotting and Planning will help you unveil your story to your readers at the right points.

In Creative Writing Stage 1, you’ll learn how to:

  • kick-start the creative writing process
  • tap into your imagination
  • draw from everyday experiences and memories
  • examine different types of creative writing
  • give structure to your writing
  • use characters and dialogue
  • and MUCH more

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

Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What's new at the Sydney Writers' Centre
  • Filling fast: Travel Writing with Sue White, starts Monday 6 February.

  • We’re getting lots of interest in our Paris and Bali writing tours. They’ll both fill quickly so don’t delay if you want to be part of one of these amazing trips.

  • Our new Write Your Novel program has only 4 places left! Check out details here.





TIP: Specially or especially?
Specially and especially are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences, so watch how you use them.
 
Pamela Thorne, in her book How Much Can a Koala Bear? A Guide to Commonly Confused Words, explains it:

Specially is the adverb form of special, and means “specifically, in this particular way”. For example:

The chair is specially designed for people with bad backs.

Especially (from especial) means “more than usual, above all” (or exceptional in some way). For example:

The weather’s been especially wet in Sydney this Summer.





Learn to write for magazines and newspapers
Want to know the secret to getting your articles published in newspapers and magazines? Our online course in Writing for Magazines and Newspapers will show you not only how to research and write great features, but also how to get an editor to pay you for them!
 
Many of our online course graduates have gone on to publish articles in their favourite publications, and some have even changed careers. This course is perfect for first-time writers or anyone who wants to brush up on their writing skills.
 
Want to see how our online classes work? Check out the sample page here.
 
What past participants say:
"The online format was easy and, unlike some online courses, it felt as if you were in a class. The course had a great sense of coherence. I liked being able to undertake the work at times that suited me."
- Shirley Schulz-Robinson

"Sue was great. Her answers to my questions were concise and covered even more than I asked. She obviously has an immense amount of experience and this showed in all of her correspondence."
- Alan Taylor

ONLINE COURSE: Magazine and Newspaper Writing with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 6 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






Penguin’s Monthly Catch
Exciting news for budding authors – Penguin is now accepting unsolicited manuscripts! As part of their Monthly Catch, publishers at Penguin will accept unsolicited submissions in fiction for adults, children or young adults in the first week of every month.
 
This is a great opportunity to get your manuscript seen by one of Australia’s biggest publishers.

You can read more about it on the Writing Bar.






Write stories to inspire children and young adults
There’s a lot more to writing books for children and young adults than meets the eye. They’re discerning readers and publishers are always on the look out for kids’ books that are engaging and inspiring.
 
Whether you’re still nutting out your idea for a kids’ book or you’ve been working on a young adult novel, the Writing Books for Children and Young Adults course is your chance to learn from an industry expert. You’ll discover how to find the right voice for your characters, how to structure your story, and how to get an editor to take notice of your work.
 
What past participants say:
"Judith is very knowledgeable and a specialist in her field. She generously shared her knowledge of many years industry experience and gave us plenty of interesting anecdotes and insiders tips. Worth every penny!"
- Catherine Jane Bennetts

"I found the course incredibly inspiring and helpful. It was practical, technical and creative. A perfect balance."
- Kristen Toovey

This course is taught by Judith Ridge. Judith is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts on writing for children and young adults. In a highly specialised career spanning more than 20 years, Judith has worked as an editor, community arts coordinator, writer and critic.
 
WEEKEND INTENSIVE: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 February 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395
 
Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Mondays starting Monday 5 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Leverage your writing and research – with apps!
One lesson magazine writers quickly learn when researching stories is that it's often possible to repackage a story for a different audience, with a fresh angle.
 
Here's an example of how freelance writer and Sydney Writers' Centre presenter, Sue White, has done just that. After years of writing about yoga, health and wellbeing, including for Australian Yoga Journal, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the South China Morning Post (fun fact: she even used to teach yoga), Sue has become a wealth of knowledge about the best places in the world to take a yoga holiday.
 
She recently applied her journalistic eye to this knowledge, and launched Yoga Holidays Worldwide, an app for iPhones and iPads that features over 140 of the best yoga breaks on the planet. Featuring yoga holidays everywhere from Byron Bay to Bali to Brazil and back again, Yoga Holidays Worldwide is an excellent example of how savvy freelance writers can leverage their work into other paid opportunities!

Check it out on itunes, for $2.99.






“Litricay” required
Thanks to @clemhall and @becfrolics who alerted us on Twitter to this doozy.



Perhaps a misguided attempt at phonetic spelling… Of course, that should say “Literacy”. Hopefully the person they hire can remind them of the importance of getting your spelling right!






Book giveaway
Thirty years after Lonely Planet published the first of its now ubiquitous shoestring travel guides, writer and author of six travel books, Brian Thacker, undertook his own South-East Asian odyssey – using that very first LP guidebook, South East Asia on a Shoestring. The result is Brian’s latest book, Tell Them to Get Lost: Travels with the Lonely Planet guidebook that started it all.
 
We recently chatted to Brian about his journey and his writing and you can listen to the podcast or read the transcript here. We also have one copy of Tell Them to Get Lost to give away. Just tell us what country would feature in your travel memoir and why. Email your answers to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au by 5pm on Friday 10 February 2012.







Writing for the Web
If you want to send the right message about your company or small business, then you want to be sure your web copy is right. Writing for the web is not like writing for print – there are certain rules you need to follow and strategies you should know for increasing your website’s traffic.
 
Writing for the Web is a one-day seminar that will show you how to make the most of your website. You’ll learn how to write engaging content and ensure your customers get the most out of their visit to your website.
 
What past participants say:
“I thought it was very well structured and easy to follow and it covered a lot of what I wanted to know. Grant was enthusiastic and explained things well – I was really impressed.”
- Lisa Smyth

"I have gained more confidence to go forward and write content for the web without the doubt as to whether I am writing correctly."
- Debbie Ansell

This seminar is presented by Grant Doyle, an experienced copywriter, content manager and web editor. Grant's background is as a print journalist and author. He has spent the last 11 years in web writing and has been contracting or consulting to major corporations in various online content capacities since then.
 
Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Thursday 9 February 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $450
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.






What we’re reading
This week Sydney Writers’ Centre course manager, Danielle Williams, is reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell. She writes:

I have to admit, when I interviewed David Mitchell at last year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival, I was a little starstruck. After all, David Mitchell is something of a literary star, having achieved critical and commercial success with Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green. So I approached his fifth novel with pretty high expectations.  

Set on the Dutch trading post of Dejima in Japan, late in the 18th century, The Thousand Autumns follows a young Dutch clerk as he struggles to make his fortune in a world of deceit and corruption.
 
It took me a little while to get into this book but I think that’s only because Mitchell has created such a convincing setting, one you need to immerse yourself in to fully appreciate it. Japan in 1799 is an insular and fiercely parochial place, with few foreigners allowed access. The Dutch traders and their cohorts are hard men, committed to the expansion of the Dutch East Indies trading empire and with a distinctly colonial attitude to other races.
 
This is a wonderful book exploring the trying relationship between two vastly different cultures.

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: Grammarics
Grammarics – pictures explaining key grammatical rules or concepts. So simple, and so perfect!

There are currently 12 grammarics on the website explaining everything from the Oxford comma, the correct use of your and you’re, and how to use modifiers. There are even some “Brand-o-grammarics” made for devotees of certain brands.

(Thanks to Anne Sorenson for sending us this one.)

Check it out here.









Other upcoming courses
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 – FULL
When
: Saturday 4 February and Sunday 5 February 2012 (two consecutive days)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 6 February 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 6 February 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 6 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
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 – FULL
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

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson – NEW DATE
When:
Week beginning Monday 13 February 2012 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
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 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

Seminar: Business Writing Basics with Tony Spencer-Smith – NEW SEMINAR
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
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: Professional Business Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE
When
: Wednesday 7 March 2012 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding – NEW DATE
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 7 March 2012 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
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: 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: 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 – NEW DATE
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 – 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

Program: Write Your Novel with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 21 May 2012 for six months
Time: 6.30 – 8.30pm
Cost: $1980

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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