Australian Writers’ CentreJuly 30, 2014- Many Writing Courses & So you want to be a writer podcast & Caption Competition Winner & More
31 July 2014
I recently went to see Les Misérables in Melbourne. I have to admit, I love this musical. From the ominous character of police inspector Javert to the inspiring student leader Enjolras and the cheekiness of Gavroche, it’s a show that always has me gripped from the very beginning until the final curtain call.
My poor neighbours have been suffering the aftermath of this as they have been subjected to endless renditions of One Day More (with me attempting the Jean Valjean role!).
This production is an awe-inspiring performance. Importantly, it was also a reminder of how important it is to be creatively inspired. Even as a writer, I encourage you to take yourself out on a “creative date” from time to time – whether that’s to a play, art exhibition, musical or even a craft show. Witnessing and appreciating creative genius can inspire us to reach similar heights in our own work. Okay, so I know I’ll probably never star in a musical (as do my neighbours!), but immersing myself in moments like these pushes me to go further, take more risks and hone my craft to become a better writer.
I encourage you to seek out these creative moments too. And once you’ve had your fill of art, plays and singing Frenchmen, explore our website’s Creative Hubfor a writing course to spark your personal interest. But now if you’ll excuse me, I think I hear the echoes of beating drums…
Have a melodious week!
What our students are saying
We could rabbit on all day about our courses, but sometimes it means more coming in from fellow students! Here’s this week’s selection:
“I have been writing professionally as a journalist for 18 years but there was so much I didn’t know until I attended this course. I left on the final evening feeling inspired rather than scared about writing fiction.” – Michael Smith (Creative Writing Stage 1)
“Grant was excellent. His passion for writing in this style filled you with enthusiasm to return to work and get started. You definitely felt you had all the information you needed.” – Helen Stanley (Writing for the Web)
Q&A: So be it
This week, reader Gueza had the following question…
Q: Hi AWC, help! I’m utterly confused about the difference between “sow” (sown, etc) and “seed” (seeded). When do we use one, when the other? e.g. When a mighty oak comes crashing down in the forest, a thousand acorns are (sown?/seeded?) in silence… A: Hi Gueza. The real question is did the mighty oak make a sound if no-one was around? Anyway, sown and seeded are the past participles of verbs “sow” and “seed” respectively. The difference is that’s ALL “sown” is, whereas “seeded” has many lives – most commonly as an adjective (seeded bun, seeded funds etc) or in sports tournaments (“Roger Federer is seeded number 3” etc). So “seeded” is potentially more open to ambiguity.
Q: So in my example, you’d go with “sown”? A: Sure. Although, the main match-up here should be sown versus sowed. Both being past tense variations of “sow”. There are situations where “sowed” is needed: “Yesterday I sowed the lawn”. But anywhere “sown” can live, “sowed” could work too. (BTW, “yesterday I seeded the lawn” still doesn’t really sound right.)
Q: But what about “to sow” things (seeds, ideas, wild oats etc) vs “to seed” things? A: Well, if you’ve got the word “seeds” in the sentence, you should go with “sow” as to use “seed” would double up. (“To seed the seeds” = fail.) Often non-agricultural things find “seed” appealing: “seeding ideas”, “seeding capital” etc, but generally we recommend sown/sowed when it’s past tense (“he sowed his wild oats”, “she had sown elements of doubt” etc). Usage of “seed” as a verb form of the noun is definitely on the rise – it’s a modern trend (“to mentor”, “to Google” etc), but be careful using it where “sow/sown/sowed” works fine. It can sound gimmicky.
Q: I think I’m more confused now. A: It’s a so-so answer for a sow-sow question. Happy to help!
Podcast: Episode 22
In Episode 22, Valerie and Allison plumb the depths of character names, explore libraries in pubs, discuss the origins of words, and chat to Newsmodo founder Rakhal Ebeli on the service that is set to “disrupt the practice of journalism”. Ooooh…
The Commonwealth Games are currently taking place in Glasgow, Scotland (or as we call it here in Australia, “shooting gold-medal-shaped-fish in a barrel”). The word “Commonwealth” in this sense is related to Britain and its former empire, yet it can also describe any independent state, grouping or community.
Australia is the only country to use it formally – our official name being “The Commonwealth of Australia”, federated back in 1901. (We could have called ourselves the “United States of Australia” but “USA” was already taken…) Speaking of USA, a few states there call themselves “commonwealths” (this is sometimes capitalised, sometimes not). In fact, any grouping of shared interests can be termed a commonwealth (uncapitalised), and the word’s original meaning (now obsolete) is unsurprisingly: “the general good”.
Caption competition winner
We had some great captions for this picture, many of them picking out her impressive biceps, generic looking laptop or one even assuming she was celebrating the confirmed delivery of the bottom half of her body?!! (Thanks for a preview inside your mind, Catherine B!) But the winner of Geena Leigh’s book, Call Me Sasha, is Selina N of NSW, with her entry:
“Woohoo! Another healthy treat (that I’ll never actually make) pinned to Pinterest. Better go have another Tim Tam to celebrate!”
We’re pretty sure there are a few of us who can relate to that one Selina! Well done, the book is on its way to you.
SLIP HAZARD: Deep-seeded vs deep-seated
While we were talking about sowing and seeds earlier, it reminded us of a commonly misused term. Many people refer to ‘a deep-seeded hatred; when in fact, they should be using “deep-seated” – its definition being to have a strong fixed position, unlikely to change easily. (In a way, “deep-seeded” makes sense, as a seed sown deep will unlikely be going anywhere. But it’s wrong!)
The only place you’d get away with using “deep-seeded” would be if you somehow wrote something like:
“The tennis match between these two deep-seeded rivals – ranked 130th and 195th in the world – was amazing.”
How do YOU write a punchline drum sound-effect?
c) Bada boom
d) Chish boom
e) Bing bam boom crash wallop
f) Something else – tell us!
Reply to this email, changing the subject to “DRUM” and let us know your thoughts. Go on, do it now!
On the blog: Ask Valerie!
This week, be sure to check out our new feature on the blog, our fortnightly “ASK VALERIE” posts. The first one covers a tricky topic for all freelance writers –dealing with editor rejections! And if YOU have a question for Valerie to tackle on the blog, please drop us a line.
Plan Ahead: “Aaaaand action!”
The credits roll. You sit there for half a moment thinking “seriously? THAT got made?”… You could write better. You CAN write better! So what now?Screenwriting Stage 1 is what.
With professional screenwriter Tim Gooding (30-year veteran of TV, film and stage, in both comedy and drama) at your side, you’ll learn the essentials to writing for the screen. It’s a different discipline and you need the right tools to build a script that engages audiences through characters and story. Get everything you need in this exciting five-week course!
“I definitely came away with knowledge of a process that I did not possess when I first started. I also have a broad overall knowledge of how to go about writing a script. Tim has plenty of industry knowledge and his editorial skills are excellent.” – David Owens
This week, in fewer than 30 words we want you to describe this scene from your own (imaginary) novel. Give him a name, get descriptive, what’s going on? Where is he? What’s he thinking? First person, third person? Etc. We’re looking for something memorable, something that grabs us as a reader!
Your reward for being our favourite and best will be to win a copy of “Chasing the Ace” by Nicholas J. Johnson and of course we’ll publish it (right here) for the world to enjoy.
Simply reply to this email by midday Tuesday 5 August 2014 with your short scene, changing the email subject to SCENE. Don’t forget to include your postal address so we can mail your prize to you. Good luck!
WEBPICK: AWC Pinterest!
Remember how we were talking at the beginning of this newsletter about places to go to get inspired creatively? Well this one doesn’t even require you to buy a ticket or even getting out of your pyjamas. Take a look at our Pinterest page and see which inspirational rabbit-hole you disappear down…
You can also pin anything from our main website to your own boards if something strikes you as particularly pintriguing… So get pinning!
All of the plays posted on "The Brainpan" are the original work of the blog's main author, Randy Ford, and may not be reproduced, in any form, without the author's permission. You may reach the author at email@example.com.