Month: September 2014

Sofie Laguna on becoming a writer and a boy named Jimmy

Once a lawyer, then an actor, now a writer, it’s fair to say that Australian author and playwright Sofie Laguna has worn plenty of hats over the years. And even within her writing persona, she has never been one to stick to the same thing – bouncing from picture books to plays, young reader series to adult novels.

With such an interesting journey to date, we figured she’d be an interesting person to chat with – especially with the release of her latest adult novel, The Eye of the Sheep. And we weren’t wrong.

COMP CLOSED: Anna Romer’s new book is Lyrebird Hill and we’re giving away two copies

Following up from her haunting 2013 debut novel, Thornwood House, author Anna Romer has delivered a fairytale with a twist, in Lyrebird Hill. Yes indeed, this one also delves into the dust and shadows, once more introducing the reader to a rural Australian setting and generation-spanning tale that is hard to put down.

We have two copies of Lyrebird Hill to give away. But first, let’s get Anna in here for a few questions. Anna, quick synopsis of your new book?

For two decades, Ruby Cardel has been haunted by the fear that she was to blame for her sister’s mysterious death. Needing to discover the truth, she returns to her childhood home at Lyrebird Hill. Here she finds a box of letters written by her great-grandmother, who was imprisoned for murder in the late 1890s. Fearing that she has inherited her great-grandmother’s violent nature, Ruby must confront the past and face a truth that will shock her to the core.

"I got published!": Josefa Pete

We spotted Josefa in Sunday Life recently! Well done to @writerscentreau magazine writing grad Josefa Pete for a fab article in today's Sunday Life magazine! A photo posted by Valerie Khoo (@valeriekhoo) on Sep 27, 2014 at 5:13pm PDT Congratulations Josefa! If you have a success story to... read more

10 questions on Writing Australian History with Pamela Freeman

Great news: our new half-day course, Writing Australian History is coming up in November! So to get the inside story, we asked presenter and historical guru, Pamela Freeman, a few questions around this fascinating genre…

Hi Pamela. There seems to be lots of Australian historical stories appearing in mainstream media currently (e.g. Gallipoli and ANZAC Girls etc). Why do you think they’re so popular at the moment?Historical fiction generally has become more popular worldwide, often due to television shows like The Tudors and Da Vinci’s Demons (although I wouldn’t call that history!).

In Australia generally, people are becoming more interested in history; the number of people going to the Dawn Service for Anzac Day, for example, has gone up and up over the last ten years or so. And then, of course, we had the 60th anniversary of World War II, and now the 100th year anniversary of World War I, which is sparking even more interest. The media are riding the centenary wave, but I think they’re being successful because people are genuinely interested in the past and, in particular, in the people from that past - how they differed from us and how they were the same.

Exciting news for our West Australian State Director!

We have some very exciting news to share this week. Our West Australian State Director Alecia Hancock has been chosen as a finalist for the WA Telstra Young Business Women’s Award for 2014. Well done Alecia!

Alecia joined the Australian Writers’ Centre family at the start of 2014 when she launched the Centre on the west coast. In a little over six months, we’ve already had hundreds of students through our Perth doors and we’re looking forward to meeting a lot more of you in the months to come.

Student Success Stories: Gluten, ceviche, kitty cats and MORE!

Wow, winter sure brings out the writers! Here’s the latest selection of successes from our graduates. Prepare to be inspired! It could be you next time…

First up, Gabriel McGrath has been a man on a mission of late – proving that parent posts can indeed come from dads too! Heeding the mantra of matching a story to something topical, Gabriel latched onto Coeliac Week, and his piece about his own son’s experience with gluten issues was snapped up by the Essential Kids editor and its readers too – generating plenty of great comments.

Q&A: FYI, FWIW: Anzacs and what makes acronyms tick

Every week in our free Australian Writers’ Centre newsletter, our Q&A desk handles the important lexical issues of the day. This week, a reader wanted to know about the ANZAC vs Anzac…<.p>

Q: Hi there, my TV guide lists the show “ANZAC Girls” as “Anzac Girls”. But surely, it has to be capitals, because it’s an acronym, right? A: Okay, hang on, just need to put this batch of delicious Anzac biscuits in the oven first. Right, now, where were we? Ah yes. ANZAC vs Anzac.

Q: It stands for “Australia and New Zealand Army Corps” and therefore should be capitalised, should it not?

Author Anita Heiss shares her (very tidy) desk with us

Good morning Anita Heiss; published author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry; winner of many awards, and speaker of many keynotes all in the past decade. Gosh that was a big chunk of exposition, wasn’t it? Thanks for sharing your desk with us today. Just…shuffle over a bit, thanks. That’s better. So, your latest novel – Tiddas – was released this year. What’s it about?

Tiddas is a story about the role female friendships play in our lives. Set in Brisbane and focussing on five women who have been friends since childhood, the novel revolves around their personal and shared journeys as they all head towards turning 40.

"I got published!": Cassy Small

We spotted Cassy in Feast Magazine recently! Sitting at the hair salon and first article I flip to in Feast mag is by @writerscentreau grad @csmall80 Cassy Small! Go Cassy :) A photo posted by Valerie Khoo (@valeriekhoo) on Aug 24, 2014 at 11:34pm PDT Congratulations Cassy! If you have... read more

"I got published!": Cassy Small

We spotted Cassy in Sunday Life recently! So fab to see Australian Writers' Centre grad Cassy Small @csmall80 's article in today's Sunday Life mag! A photo posted by Valerie Khoo (@valeriekhoo) on Sep 6, 2014 at 5:06pm PDT Congratulations Cassy! If you have a success story to... read more

"I got published!": Jo Hartley

We spotted Jo in Sunday Life recently! Then I flip the page and there is Australian Writers' Centre grad Jo Hartley's article in today's Sunday Life mag! A photo posted by Valerie Khoo (@valeriekhoo) on Sep 6, 2014 at 5:08pm PDT Congratulations Jo! If you have a... read more

Debut novelist Jennifer Smart on deadlines, drafts and a dash of Dom Perignon

Jennifer Smart’s debut novel, The Wardrobe Girl, was published earlier this year through Random House – exploring the behind the scenes world of a fictional soap opera.

Having worked behind the scenes herself in film and television (including five years with soap, Home and Away), Jennifer admits she had a truckload of material to draw on for her book. And while she'd dabbled with writing fiction in the past, even penning a couple of episodes of Australia’s favourite beachside soap, she was completely in the dark about getting a book published.

We interviewed Jennifer in Episode 9 of our top-rating podcast, So you want to be a writer. And she gave us 3 lessons she had learned from her own writing and publishing experience...

Tip: Active Voice versus Passive Voice

One thing you should be trying to do with your style is to write actively rather than passively.

Passive voice slows the action, deadens the emotions and distances the reader from the action. But what is it? I hear you ask.

Well, consider these sentences:

Perth meet-up with Will Yeoman

Monday 20 October 2014 Time: 6.30–8.30pm Although the official time is from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, you are welcome to stay as long as you like – and we imagine many of you will! Who: William Yeoman is Literary Editor and West Weekend Staff Writer at The... read more

Q&A: It’s very unique

Last week our Q&A used the term ‘very unique’, and in doing so, succeeded in waking up the interwebs. An ABSOLUTE catastrophe! Let’s take a look... Q: Well, wasn’t that a great Q&A last week? All ‘reality show’ themed and that. A: Oh, thanks... read more

My 2nd ever finished story won me $1000.

Every year across Australia, there are thousands of dollars on offer in the form of writing prizes. Some of these are awarded to existing works or published pieces, but there are still plenty open to aspiring unpublished authors to enter.

Sharon Elisara completed our Creative Writing Stage 1 course earlier this year with Pamela Freeman and it was while she was on the course that she noticed the Hunter Valley Writers Group writing competition. The theme was ‘grief’ or ‘grieving’ and the top story would win $1000. Bolstered with the confidence from her course, she edited and submitted a story (in the first week of her next course with us!).

It was only the second story that Sharon had ever written. And it won. Originally from Perth, but currently living in New Zealand, Sharon was thrilled with the win – awarded in Newcastle at the end of August.

How to print out your highlighted passages from your Kindle

So you've devoured your fave books on Kindle and highlighted a bunch of passages that resonate with you. But how can you get those passages out of your Kindle and into a workable document (like Word or Evernote)?

Whether you want to print them out, use them in an article you're writing (which you'll attribute correctly of course!) or something else entirely, here's how you can do it: