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Ep 114 Are you afraid to listen to your own audiobook? Is cursive writing now obsolete? Meet graphic novelist Shane W Smith.

Jun 28, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 114 of So you want to be a writer: Discover which author broke through after four flops and the author afraid to listen to her own audiobook. We discuss if cursive writing is now obsolete and more reasons to sometimes write by hand. Impress (or tire) your friends with the meaning of soporific and meet Australian graphic novelist Shane W Smith. Is Livescribe or Microsoft Surface better for writers and are you making these author blog mistakes?

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes
How the ‘queen of the beach novel’ became a best-selling author after her first 4 books flopped

Afraid to Listen to My Own Audiobook

‘Irrelevant and obsolete’? Schools moving away from teaching cursive writing

5 Ways Picking Up a Pen Can Make You Smarter

Writer in Residence

Shane W Smith
Shane W Smith is the creator of seven full-length graphic novels, and a number of shorter pieces. His graphic novel Undad  was shortlisted in the Australian Shadows Awards and tells the tale of a vegetarian family man who unexpectedly turns undead.

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Q&A: What does MOOT actually mean?

Jun 28, 2016 Our legendary Q&As Dean Koorey

Q: Hi AWC, I was at a dinner party the other night and someone mentioned that a topic was a “moot point”. Their usage seemed wrong. Can you shed light on this?
A: Sure can.
Q: Great!
A: So this one is actually rather interesting. “Moot” has quite a backstory. It was once used widely as a noun – meaning an assembly of people exercising political, administrative, and judicial powers.
Q: So is that where “moot court” comes from?
A: Sure is. Anyway, these days, there is also the little-used verb form of “moot” to mean to bring forward for discussion. Someone may “moot” a suggestion in a meeting, for example.
Q: Which brings us to “moot point”?
A: It certainly does. This is the adjective form and most commonly used these days. Something will be declared “moot” or a “mootpoint”. And it’s here that things get interesting.
Q: Ooooh, do go on.
A: It’s probably worth addressing the elephant in the room first.
Q: No, talk directly to me.
A: Haha. We mean the erroneous ways that people say “mootpoint”. It is certainly wrong to say “mute point” – that’s something you do with your TV remote. And Joey from Friends was wrong about “moo point” too.

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WIN “The Natural Way of Things” and Dendy Direct gift card

Jun 27, 2016 Competitions Australian Writers' Centre Team

Thanks to our friends over at Dendy Direct, we have FIVE prizes to send to happy homes this week. Each contains a copy of Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things plus a $10 Dendy Direct gift card to watch Charlotte’s favourite films, and other new release movies and TV!

This novel has been smashing it in 2016, winning Indie Book of the Year and the Stella Prize, as well as loading up on many other accolades and short lists. To quote its press, “it’s a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control… a story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.”

The book’s author, Charlotte Wood, is guest curator over at Dendy Direct for the month of July – where she shares her favourite movies.

So to continue that theme, we’re asking you this week to tell us “what film has inspired you the most and why?” in 25 words or fewer.

Our favourite FIVE entries will each win a copy of the book + gift card.


Entries close midday Monday 4 July 2016, Sydney/Melbourne time.


First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
State *
Please select oneNSWVICQLDWAACTSANTTASOutside Australia
Competition entry *

(NOTE: If you win, we’ll contact you via email.

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Word of the week

Jun 25, 2016 The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

Before this week’s word, a special mention to the Build Your Author Platform graduate Facebook group, who each week have been trying their best to incorporate Valerie’s word of the week (mentioned on podcast and here) into something they write that week. Some very creative uses so far!

Nicotine (noun)

“This week’s word of the week is nicotine. I know that everyone is familiar with this word but did you know that it’s actually named after a Frenchman called Jean Nicot? In 1559-60, he was an ambassador to Portugal and he sent some tobacco as a gift to the French Court. And so that’s how the word nicotine was born.”

This week’s Q&A discussed “eponyms” (words named after people) – and if you missed it there, check out our blog post on 22 other examples!

And to hear Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of writing, blogging and publishing, check out this week’s Episode 113 of our podcast, So you want to be a writer.

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Q&A: Pronunciation vs Enunciation vs Elocution

Jun 24, 2016 Our legendary Q&As Dean Koorey

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, we’re charged up as we discuss pronunciation…

Q: Hi there – I have a question for you.
A: You’ve come to the right place
Q: What’s the difference between “pronunciation”, “enunciation” and “elocution”? Isn’t that last one when you stick a fork into a power socket?
A: No, that’s electrocution. Very different.
Q: Shocking.
A: Haha.
Q: So what’s the difference? I’m amped to find out.
A: Are you going to persist with electricity puns throughout this whole thing?
Q: I have no idea what you are talking about. Now, let’s switch on to the topic at hand…
A: Hmmm okay, so, let’s start with the first two. “Pronunciation” is simply the act of making sounds or articulating words correctly – the verb being to “pronounce”.
Q: Actually, while we’re on that, why isn’t it “proNOUNciation”?
A: Because, English.
Q: Fair enough.
A: Well, to elaborate, “pronounce” and “pronunciation” had slightly different upbringings – one via Old French and the other direct from Latin.

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What we’re reading this month – June 2016

Jun 22, 2016 The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

Each month, we share what we’re reading – fiction or nonfiction. (And you can do the same – details at the end of this post.) Here’s what some of us at AWC have been reading in June:


Bec: Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan by Dr Junichi Saga
This book was voted Best Book of the Year by Japan’s foreign press and it’s a collection of short stories told by a small town doctor who interviewed all the elderly people in the village to get a feel for life in pre-war and post-war Japan. The stories follow people from all walks of life – gangsters (Yakuza), geishas, farmers, fishermen etc. It’s a lovely and candid account of the lives of the Japanese people during the early 1900’s.


Dean: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton
I’m a sucker for time travel stories, if only to mock their illogical premise. But with this one, Elton is less interested in the journey and more the destination. Our near-future protagonist is sent back to the distant past – 1914 in fact – to stop the event that triggered much of the horrors of the 20th century… the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (which triggered World War I) and instead kill the Kaiser in Berlin.

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Q&A: Understanding bullet lists

Jun 21, 2016 Our legendary Q&As Dean Koorey

Q: Hey, I have a question about bullets.
A: So it’s a “loaded question” then?
Q: Oh hardy ha ha.
A: What about them?
Q: Well everything about bullet lists really. I seem to see different versions everywhere. Is there one rule to rule them all?
A: Actually, no. It’s more about understanding the leader.
Q: I lost track of who the leader was years ago.
A: No, we mean the sentence or phrase that comes directly before the list. The first thing to check is if the “leader” is complete or half-finished.
Q: To quote Justin Bieber: what do you mean?
A: Often a leader to a bullet list will be a complete sentence, and other times a phrase. A phrase leader must end in a colon.
Q: Just like our digestive system! #highfive #anatomy
A: Um, okay. Meanwhile, a sentence leader is a complete sentence which can end in either a full stop or a colon – that’s a style thing.
Q: Okay.
A: So let’s start with a sentence leader.
Q: Example?
A: There are three main fossil energy sources.

  • Coal
  • Natural gas
  • Oil.

Q: So after a leader sentence each bullet begins with a capital letter?
A: Yes.

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Ep 113 Why women are killing it in crime writing and meet author Belinda Murrell.

Jun 21, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 113 of So you want to be a writer: What was the defining moment that made you become a writer? Find out why women are killing it in crime writing and the reason why essay writing services are booming. Impress your friends with the origin of the word ‘nicotine’. Meet bestselling children’s author Belinda Murrell. Also: when should you call in a freelance editor and why author manners are important.

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes

Jean Little recalls her father, a poem, and a day that changed her life

Women Are Writing the Best Crime Novels

Essay writing industry ‘booms’ as students demand tailor-made coursework

23 words you didn’t know were named after people

Writer in Residence

Belinda Murrell

Belinda Murrell is a bestselling, internationally published children’s author with a legion of loyal fans and a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. After studying Literature at Macquarie University, Belinda worked as a travel journalist, editor and technical writer. A few years ago, she began writing stories for her own three children – Nick, Emily and Lachlan.

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