Australian Writers’ Centre 20 November 2014- Grammar and punctuation & BLURB competition winners & Writing Courses

Australian Writers’ Centre 20 November 2014- Grammar and punctuation & BLURB competition winners & Writing Courses

One of the most popular sections by far is our Q&A section on grammar and punctuation. It’s written by our content manager and resident funny guy, Dean – who has a way of describing even the blandest of rules with a tongue-in-cheek craziness that always guarantees a smile. (Or a cringe if he’s on another pun-fest.)

Yet behind the banter and humour, there are some actual rules and conventions being examined. Our aim with the Q&A is to enlighten you with some of the more hazardous areas of the English language – in fact, most topics have usually come about from either a direct query from you or simply seeing common errors that trip up even the best writers.

Mastering excellent grammar and punctuation is such an asset for all areas of your life. From job applications to letters that get you out of parking tickets – words always sound better when they’re error-free! It’s something that’s not really taught as you get older – but we can help with that. Our excellent course in Grammar and Punctuation Essentials – coming up in a few weeks – covers everything you need to know in one day. You’ll be writing with more confidence immediately!

Have an error-free week! (And don’t forget to do our survey below!)

Tell us what you REALLY think…
Al Tait

The Australian Writers’ Centre is a community – made up of thousands of writers just like you. We’re constantly looking at new and exciting ways to make everything we do even better – and we need your help! It’s our
TWO MINUTE SURVEY – completely anonymous, and just for completing it you’ll receive a $10 voucher to use on any course!

(We did the maths, and $10 for two minute’s work is like being paid $300/hr. Not bad.) Do it NOW (it’ll open in a new window and we’ll wait for you to come back).

Q&A: The power of post-positivity
Q&A

Q: Hello Australian Writers’ Centre, sorry I’m late.
A: Oh, didn’t actually realise we scheduled these things, but okay.
Q: Aren’t you going to ask me why I’m late?
A: No. It’s like when someone just puts “Bad day” on their Facebook status just so that people will ask them to elaborate.
Q: Well… okay, if you insist, I will tell you. I had a building meeting. My neighbour, Bill, wants to paint his door bright pink, but the body corporate is against it. And that’s where my question comes in…
A: Well, we don’t live in your building, so it doesn’t seem fair to––
Q: No, not that. One of the members was talking about something that “other bodies corporate did” and it just sounded silly. It’s silly, right? Right?
A: It’s correct though.
Q: Seriously? “Bodies corporate”?
A: Yes, you’ve stumbled upon an interesting aspect of English. Are you familiar with post-positives?
Q: Haha, well most of the post I get isn’t very positive. Bill….Bill….Bill….Bill…
A: You certainly get a lot of bills in the mail.
Q: No, I’m always getting Bill’s mail. You know Bill – he lives next door and wants to paint his door pink. Our postie is half-blind and delivers his mail to me.
A: Okay, well it’s not that kind of post-positive.
Q: Oh, so you’re talking about social media? Because I always post positive things – never stuff like “Bad day”. Just the other day I posted a picture of a kitten and a puppy and a baby fur seal all holding hands and riding a tricycle while eating cupcakes and playing ukuleles. It got 97 likes.
A: Okay this could go on all day, so we’ll just explain it. Post-positive adjectives are those that come after the noun that they’re modifying. So instead of a “corporate body” for your building, it’s termed “body corporate”. Others include “mission impossible”, “princess royal”, “film noir” or “sister-in-law”. It’s partly a throwback to medieval times.
Q: Well yes, it does seem all a bit backward.
A: Well, it’s actually the normal way of doing things in languages like French, Spanish or Italian – adjective coming after the noun. But in English, we tend to not go that route. The ones that remain are either leftovers from French legal/military influences or are established traditional phrases.
Q: And plurals like “bodies corporate”?
A: Well if you think about what happens when you make something a plural, you’re not doing anything different, per se. Simply adding an S (or “ies” for bodies) to the noun. It’s just that the noun isn’t at the end.
Q: Quick side question – what does it mean when you say “per se”.
A: It translates from Latin as “by itself” or “as such” – intrinsically, essentially, in essence.
Q: Thanks. So, “bodies corporate” is correct.
A: Sure is. As are “courts-martial”, “sisters-in-law”, “attorneys general”, “sergeants major” and “heirs apparent” to name just a few. You also have ones which are always in plural form like “Alcoholics Anonymous”, “accounts payable” and the “Brothers Grimm”.
Q: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen “attorney generals” used.
A: It’s true that there’s a push to switch it, but for now, it remains a throwback from another language and another time. “Time immemorial” you might say.
Q: I’d never say that. So, are there other places you’d find post-positives?
A: Places aplenty! (That’s another one.) They can be used purposefully by a writer to add poetic effect to their words – like “murders most foul” or “words unspoken”. It makes things a bit more dramatic, old-fashioned or grand. Also, reversing it often subtly changes the meaning.
Q: How does it change the meaning?
A: “We vow to catch the people responsible” vs “we vow to catch the responsible people.”
Q: Ahhh okay, fair enough. I guess that changes things. I hope they catch them.
A: And some adjectives are purely post-positive – they always appear after the noun. Things like “extraordinaire” – (presenter extraordinaire) or “galore” (courses galore).
Q: Okay, all this talk has made me hungry. I’m off to eat some post-positive food like eggs Benedict and spaghetti bolognaise.
A: Say hi to Bill!

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

Podcast: Episode 38
Podcast

In this week’s podcast we talk about whether writers should use co-working spaces? Tom Hanks’ new book inspired by typewriters; double space or single space after a full stop. AWC graduate Lisa Chaplin scores a book deal; how to do your own publicity and Writer in Residence Toby Jenkins.

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!
Writing Books for Children
and Young Adults (Online)
Your online course starts:
The week beginning 24 November 2014
Inspire and entertain a new generation
of readers
Book now
Enrol now!
Magazine and Newspaper
Writing Stage 1 (Online)
Your online course starts:
The week beginning 24 November 2014
Making a byline for yourself in feature writing
Book now
Enrol now!
Blogging for Beginners (Sydney)
Your course is on:
Thursday 27 November 2014
Because if you’re going to do it, do it right
Book now

Tuesday 2 December: See you there!
Al Tait

Tuesday 2 December, from 6.30pm is our next Sydney meetup at the Kirribilli Club in Lavender Bay (right next door to our Centre). 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!

Our BLURB competition winners

Last week the theme was “BLURB” because we were giving away four $30 Blurb gift vouchers for lucky winners to use in creating their own professionally printed books. What you had to do was look at this picture and provide a “blurb” in 30 words or less to describe the story.
blurb

Congrats to our four winners: Janet M, Michele P, Sean E and Slav J.

Here’s Michele’s winning blurb:
He saw a pile of steel and she saw magical possibility. A story about being in love with someone who just doesn’t get it.

This week’s competition wants just one word from you – a name in fact. Scroll directly below to win A.L. Tait’s The Mapmaker Chronicles. Good luck!

WIN A COPY of The Mapmaker Chronicles
Book

Spoiler alert: A.L. Tait is actually Allison Tait – Australian Writers’ Centre presenter! (Shhh don’t tell anyone.) Jump onto the blog to read our interview with her. And we’ve got two copies of her children’s adventure The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the end of the world to give away. All you need to do is tell us if YOU were naming a new country, what would you name it?

Easy, right? Reply to this email and change the subject to MAP. The two most interesting entries will each win a copy of this fabulous new book.

Entries close 11.56pm, Monday 24 November. Good luck!

Slip hazard: Are you a “capitalist”?
CAPITALS

Are you over-capitalising words? Only proper nouns (names, places, brands etc) need them, despite how important it may look. To say you write for a Parenting Magazine is wrong. (However, you might say “I write for Parenting Weekly” – as that is the actual name of the magazine.) Likewise, it’s not the 21st Century – we are in fact living in the 21st century. (Again, confusion may be from the real estate name Century 21 or even film company 20th Century Fox.)

The big exception can be headlines – especially on news sites, where Every Word In The Headline Often Looks Like This.

Featured Course: Learn the business writing essentials
Business Writing Essentials – one-day course with Kate Hennessy

Enrol now!If you deal with a lot of words on a daily basis, and often find yourself a little foggy on all the rules, this day course could be the best thing that ever happened to you. The fabulous Kate Hennessy provides you with a veritable feast of tips, tricks and techniques to help you say goodbye to glaring mistakes in your emails, letters and any general communication you do! (That’s the great thing about learning rules.)

If you want to be essential to your business, you need Business Writing Essentials!

Course: Business Writing Essentials with Kate Hennessy
When: Wednesday 3 December 2014
Time: 9am–5pm

Real estate ads are a constant source of typo amusement. And many agents will claim that their expertise is to sell, not spell. But, all the same, it does rattle our confidence a little when we see headlines like these!

In fact, it’s the sought of thing we find amusing.

Webpick: Do I need to buy this person a gift?
Webpick

Don’t fight it, Christmas is coming. And we liked this flowchart, which unapologetically puts everything into crystal clear perspective. It doesn’t have a lot to do with writing, but that’s okay because gifts for writers don’t need to either! 🙂

The final word:
The final word

(Our list of courses isn’t infinite, but it’s pretty close! Check them out below…)

Upcoming course dates

Online courses
Online course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 24 November 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Allison Tait
Week beginning Monday 24 November 2014 for five weeks

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

Online course: Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman
Week beginning Monday 1 December 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
Week beginning Monday 1 December 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Travel Writing with Julietta Jameson – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 15 December 2014 for five weeks

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

Seminar: Blogging for Beginners with Kim Berry
Thursday 27 November 2014 (two-hour evening 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)

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

Weekend course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Claire Scobie
Saturday 10 January and Sunday 11 January 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
Starting Tuesday 13 January 2015 for five weeks

Course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
Starting Wednesday 14 January 2015 for five weeks

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

Weekend course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
Saturday 17 January and Sunday 18 January 2015 (2 consecutive days)

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

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Alexandra Spring Starting Wednesday 28 January 2015 for five weeks

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

Weekend course: Crime and Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin
Saturday 7 February and Sunday 8 February 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Weekend course: Popular Women’s Fiction with Lisa Heidke
Saturday 7 February and Sunday 8 February 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Weekend course: Food Writing with Carlie Ratcliff
Saturday 14 February and Sunday 15 February 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Writing Australian History with Pamela Freeman
Saturday 22 February 2015 (3-hour half-day course)

Course: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
Thursday 26 February 2015 (one-day course)

Course: Professional Business Writing with Kate Hennessy
Tuesday 3 March 2015 (one-day course)

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

Course: What Publishers Want with Bernadette Foley – NEW DATE
Saturday 22 February 2014 (half-day course)

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)

Seminar: Self-publishing: How to do it with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
Thursday 26 March 2015 (two-hour evening seminar)

Weekend course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
Saturday 28 March and Sunday 29 March 2015 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman
Starts Wednesday 22 April 2015 for six weeks

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge – NEW DATE
Starts Thursday 23 April 2015 for five weeks

Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
Wednesday 6 May and Wednesday 13 May 2015

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
courses@writerscentre.com.au
http://www.writerscentre.com.au

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

writerscentre.com.au
Australian Writers’ Centre | National office: Suite 3, 55 Lavender Street Milsons Point, New South Wales 2061 Australia 02 9929 0088

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