Australian Writers Centre Oct 29, 2014- WIN the Hemingway app! & Complete a Novel in a Month & Writing Meetups & Podcast & Many Writing Courses & Writing Tours

Australian Writers Centre Oct 29, 2014- WIN the Hemingway app! & Complete a Novel in a Month & Writing Meetups & Podcast & Many Writing Courses & Writing Tours

What is 50,000 divided by 30 days? The answer is 1667 (give or take) – and that’s the number of words that you’d need to write per day, EVERY day, to complete a novel in a month.

Sounds a little bit insane doesn’t it? Well, that’s NaNoWriMo for you – National Novel Writing Month, and it kicks off on Saturday.

If you want to be a writer, you have to write. Do the work; do the words. NaNoWriMo banishes your “I’ll do it some day” thoughts by giving you just one month and one deadline, plus the shared camaraderie of riding into battle together. (Cue Mel Gibson: “They can take away our procrastination, but they’ll never take away our Freedom!”) So if you’re someone who’s motivated by the rising word count, this could be just the challenge.

(Alternatively, if you’re not yet ready to write a whole novel, but are keen to get started in the wonderful world of storytelling, our next Creative Writing Stage 1 course is warming up on the tarmac.)

And if you want some real-life inspiration, did you know that Popular Women’s Fiction presenter Lisa Heidke wrote the first draft of one of her novels (later released by Allen & Unwin) during NaNoWriMo? You can hear all about that – and everything you need to know to write popular women’s fiction – this weekend at her course in Sydney.

Course: Popular Women’s Fiction with Lisa Heidke
When: Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 November 2014
Time: 10am–4pm

If you’re tackling NaNoWriMo 2014, good luck – and read on to see what we’re giving away this week in our competition. It could come in handy!

Here’s to making your week count – literally and literarily.

Quotes of the week

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
– Ernest Hemingway (American author and journalist)

“10/10. Informative and entertaining. The best course I have done in a very long time.”
– Eugene Soh (someone who attended Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1)

Q&A: “Use less” information

Q: [Doorbell] Trick or treat!
A: Is that a question or a statement?
Q: Okay, trick or treat?
A: Treat.
Q: Really, a treat? Excellent – I felt certain you’d be a trick household. But first, a question. I was at the supermarket earlier buying candy to put at my front door for the other trick-or-treaters. While I was lining up at the “8 items or less” aisle, I heard the person behind me making an odd “tsk tsk” sound and pointing to the sign.
A: Please, go on.
Q: Well, at first I thought it was because I actually had nine bags of Freddos. But then I remembered there is some rule about “less” and “fewer” and thought it must be that. So, what IS the rule?
A: First, how many of those bags of Freddos are actually going to make it to the front door, and how many will you end up eating yourself?
Q: I would like to move on please.
A: Haha, fair enough. So, less versus fewer. It’s more than likely your neighbour in the queue was referring to the sign and not your rogue extra packet. (Besides, it’s only when people take their overloaded trolleys through that the “tsking” really gets going.) But yes, short answer – it should indeed read “8 items or fewer” and not “less”.
Q: Wow, it’s been a while since you were that sure about a rule. We usually ramble on for another few Qs and As before I get an answer out of you. So, no ambiguous half-rule with a double shot of US variation?
A: Not really – you’ve hit the jackpot this week. The rule is that you should use “fewer” when the items you’re referring to can be counted – these are called “count nouns”.
Q: Count noun huh? I’m dressed as Count Dracula tonight – any relation?
A: Not even distant cousins. And thanks for clearing that up; we thought you were Harry Potter. Anyway, count nouns use “fewer” while “mass nouns” use “less” to describe them. A mass noun is a word that can’t be (or isn’t typically) counted, such as water, sand – even furniture.
Q: Furniture? I can count that.
A: Yes, but we said the word – and the word refers to a group of items of any number. It’s the word we’re looking at, not the context.
Q: Ummm.
A: Okay, try this. These are all “mass” concepts but notice in brackets that they can become countable in different contexts. There is less water in the lake (but you can say “fewer waters on the table”), less sand on the beach (but “fewer grains of sand in my hand”) and less furniture in the living room (but “fewer pieces of furniture”).
Q: What about chocolate? “I have less chocolate in my trick-or-treat bag than last year, and fewer Freddos.” Yes?
A: Yes, that works. And we’re sorry to hear that. In fact, often the same word can be treated as a count or a mass noun – but it’s usually very clear which belongs to which form.
Q: Are there any other exceptions?
A: On occasion we do lump things like money, time or distance into the “mass noun” category, despite the fact that these things are being counted. So we might say “those Freddos should cost twenty dollars or less” or “the course goes for less than two hours” or “a restraining order covers an area fifty metres or less from our house”.
Q: Haha, restraining order. That’s funny. Um, anyway, so how does it work with “the least” and “the fewest”?
A: “The least” does a bunch of jobs, the main one being as the superlative of “little”. Meanwhile, “the fewest” is solely the superlative of “few” – for example, “out of everyone, my bag has the fewest Freddos in it”. Yet it is also acceptable to use “the least” as the opposite of “most” before adjectives. So we might say, “you are wearing the least impressive costume in the street”.
Q: Gee, thanks for the compliment.
A: It’s the least we could do. (And yes, that’s another use of “the least”.)
Q: Well at least “less” and “fewer” were more clear cut. Fewer = things you can count individually; less = more abstract “mass” amounts.
A: That’s it. Now please get off our front porch.
Q: What about the treat you promised?
A: We’ve just dispensed it. Grammar lessons are such a treat.
Q: Hmmph.

Got a Q&A topic you’d like us to tackle in our unique way?
Send us an email!

Wait, what? Is it Halloween or Hallowe’en?

You may have seen it spelt both ways and wondered which is correct. The apostrophe version is due to the name coming from “All Hallows’ Even” with a bunch of letters being dropped over time to arrive at the contraction “Hallowe’en”.

But these days, it’s generally accepted that it has evolved into one word. So apostrophes can take the night off on Halloween and stick to scaring people the rest of the year.

Sydney meet-up: Tuesday 2 December 6.30pm
Al Tait

Join us at the Kirribilli Club in Lavender Bay – right next door to our Centre – to meet fellow writers, members of our awesome team and guest speaker, author Allison Tait, as she discusses her new book The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the End of the World.

Book via our website today!

Podcast: Episode 35

In this week’s podcast, we talk about all the celebs who are rushing to write children’s books; Copyblogger closes down its Facebook page; can you plagiarise an email? What’s your favourite book? Blogging hits the big time with Foxtel’s new “Fashion Bloggers”; and meet Writer in Residence Favel Parrett, author of Past the Shadows and When the Night Comes.

You can listen to the podcast here or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here.

Courses starting soon
You’ll find a course starting soon to suit your writing goals:

Enrol now!
Creative Writing Stage 1 (Online)
Your online course starts:
The week beginning 3 November 2014
Stories, ideas, fiction… where will your imagination take you?
Book now
Enrol now!
Writing About Interiors, Style
and Design (Sydney)
Your course is on:
Wednesday 5 and 12 November 2014
Because it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Book now
Enrol now!
PR and Media Releases that
Get Results (Sydney)
Your course is on:
Thursday 6 November 2014
How to get noticed for all the right reasons
Book now

This week’s competition: WIN Hemingway x 6

Ernest Hemingway was quite the writer, but despite our best efforts, we were unable to secure him personally as a prize. Instead, this week we’re giving away SIX copies of the Hemingway app – three for Mac and three for PC!

Hemingway is an extremely useful writing tool, helping identify overused words, difficult to read sentences and more to give you a ‘readability’ score. Easy to use and saving you time.

To have your chance of winning Hemingway the app, simply tell us your best adjective (real or invented) to describe Hemingway, the writer!
Be sure to also tell us if you want to be in the running for Mac or PC and the six we find most interesting will win!

To enter, reply to this email, changing the subject to HEMINGWAY, with your adjective AND Mac/PC preference. Entries close 11:59pm Monday 3 November. Good luck!

Caption competition winner

Last week we gave you this image and asked for your take on it. And there were some beautiful poignant responses, some poetry and more. But we did ask for something a little unexpected, so our winner is Kylie O for:

“C’mon, Harold, run! We’re up to page 194 of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

We just hope Harold’s not being led up the garden path! Congrats Kylie – we’ll be in touch for you to choose which book you’d like to be sent.

This week, as well as our Hemingway competition above, scroll to the Webpick and enter your HORSE NAME for the Melbourne Cup!

On the blog this week: 10 reasons why editors don’t reply to your pitch

Feeling unloved? Wondering why that editor hasn’t gotten back to you yet? Guest blog writer and Australian Writers’ Centre presenter Nigel Bartlett has worked on both sides of the pitching fence, and here he covers off ten very good reasons why your inbox may stay silent, no matter how much checking or screaming you do…

Read more.

Featured Course: Get the inside scoop
What Publishers Want – half-day course with Bernadette Foley

Enrol now!If your goal is to be published in 2015, or any time in the future, you need to know how to get your book in front of the right people – and how to get them excited about your pride and joy. Join publishing editor Bernadette Foley for this eye-opening half-day journey from someone currently in the industry – who says “yes” and “no” on a daily basis. You’ll learn all of the things you need to get together and how important each is.

If you’d like to feel more confident about the publishing process, you need this course!

Course: What Publishers Want with Bernadette Foley
When: Saturday 15 November 2014
Time: 10am–1pm

Picture This: Oops words
Following on from our recent “transport edition”, we love this week’s image from China – sent in by alert reader Allyson.


Slon doon or you’ll miss the fact that “gate” is the only word they got correct. A 25% mark is not great, in any language!

Webpick competition: The name that stops a nation

It’s the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, and everyone knows that real writers tip horses on their names, not their form. So we found this guide to naming horses – some of the rules and famous loopholes over the years. Interesting reading!

What we’d like to know is if you had “free rein” to name a horse in next week’s race, what would you name it? (Read the rules first – no more than 18 characters.)

Reply to this email with subject line HORSE and your name suggestion. The name we find the most interesting will receive a copy of the book that wasn’t chosen by last week’s winner (either The Best Job in the World by Ben Southall or Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide). Entries close 11:58pm Monday 3 November. GOOD LUCK!

The final word:
The final word
(adjective) An Italian word meaning flourishing or thriving. Mentioned here as it was the name of the winning horse in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.

Take a punt on the courses below. Odds are they’ll improve your writing skills and chances of success…

Upcoming course dates

Online courses
Online course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 3 November 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
Week beginning Monday 3 November 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman
Week beginning Monday 10 November 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Allison Tait – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 10 November 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Travel Writing with Julietta Jameson
Week beginning Monday 17 November 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 24 November 2014 for five weeks

Sydney courses
Weekend course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
Saturday 1 November and Sunday 2 November 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Weekend course: Popular Women’s Fiction with Lisa Heidke
Saturday 1 November and Sunday 2 November 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
Starting Wednesday 5 November 2014 for two weeks

Course: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona
Thursday 6 November 2014 (one-day course)

Course: Food Writing with Carli Ratcliff
Saturday 8 November and Sunday 9 November 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Writing Australian History with Pamela Freeman
Saturday 8 November 2014 (3-hour half-day course)

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 Tim Gooding
Starting Monday 10 November 2014 for five weeks

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Alexandra Spring
Starting Tuesday 11 November 2014 for five weeks

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
Starting Wednesday 12 November 2014 for five weeks

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy
Starting Thursday 13 November 2014 for five weeks

Seminar: Self-publishing: How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
Thursday 13 November 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: What Publishers Want with Bernadette Foley
Saturday 15 November (half-day course)

Course: Editing Essentials with Deb Doyle
Thursday 20 November 2014 (one-day course)

Seminar: Blogging for Beginners with Kim Berry
Saturday 22 November 2014 (two-hour morning seminar)

Seminar: How to Create and Sell Your Ebook with Anna Maquire
Monday 1 December 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: Business Writing Essentials with Kate Hennessy
Wednesday 3 December 2014 (one-day course)

Course: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
Thursday 4 December 2014 (one-day course)

Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
Saturday 10 January and Sunday 11 January 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
Starting Friday 16 January 2015 for six weeks

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White
Saturday 17 January and Sunday 18 January 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Write Your Novel with Pamela Freeman
Starts Monday 2 February 2015 (6 month program)

Course: History, Mystery and Magic with Kate Forsyth
Saturday 7 March and Sunday 8 Sunday March 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
Starting Tuesday 17 March 2015 for five weeks

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
Saturday 21 March 2015 (one-day course)

Weekend course: Fantasy, Science Fiction and More with Pamela Freeman
Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Overseas writing tours – 2015
Memoir Writing in Paris with Patti Miller
When: Thursday 22 October to Saturday 7 November 2015

Best wishes,
Valerie Khoo
National Director

Australian Writers’ Centre

Sydney and Online: (02) 9929 0088
Melbourne: (03) 9005 6737
Perth: (08) 9468 0177


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