Upcoming workshops and events

All workshops require payment at time of booking. Bookings can be made by phone on 6262 9191 (Tuesday-Saturday), online or in person at the ACT Writers Centre office—Gorman Arts Centre, Ainslie Avenue, Braddon. The Writers Centre has credit card facilities and EFTPOS. If paying by cheque, make payable to ACT Writers Centre. Enrolment will not be confirmed until payment is received.


Focus on the Short Story with Theresa Layton

7:30pm-9:30pm every second Wednesday from 30 March—20 July
(30 March, 13 & 27 April, 11 & 25 May, 8 & 22 June, 6 & 20 July)

This course is for writers who share a commitment to making their short story the best it can be—to making it competition and/or publication ready.

Over a series of fortnightly workshops we will embark on a study of the short story form.  We will unpick and deeply understand the strategies relied upon by masterful writers, explore visual techniques often employed more closely in lyric poetry and the visual arts (but which are critical to the success of much fiction), and apply what we have learned to create great works of fiction.  These workshops will ask you to train your eyes sharply and transfer what you have learned to your own, already drafted, work.

Over the duration of the course we will actively engage in writing, reading, studying and working with one another. Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of short story and to find delight in applying what we learn to our own work. As part of the workshop, writers will have an invaluable opportunity to not only explore techniques but also to have their short story read deeply, critiqued and discussed by their fellow writers who share a singular commitment to bringing the writing as close as possible to completion.

Our goals are to gain a deeper understanding of short story, develop a sharper eye for technique, add new and innovative tools to our writers toolbox, and to find delight in applying what we learn to our own work, and the work of our fellow participants.

Note: Participants MUST have a complete short story ready for review at the commencement of the course.

Theresa Layton is an award winning author whose short story, The Cartography of Foxes, appeared in The Best Australian Stories 2013.  Her work has appeared in a range of journals and publications including Overland, and both the 2010 and 2011 editions of Award Winning Australian Writing. She has won short story competitions including The Perilous Adventures and Common Thread competitions. Theresa has studied in Australia and overseas with masters of the short story form including Daniel Mueller, Sean Murphy, Priscilla Long, Jesse Lee Kersheval and Nike Sulway. She lives and works in Canberra where she works as a facilitator, professional writer and consultant in law courts. 

Cost: $420 members, $388.50 concessional members, $485 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $438.50 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Intensive Manuscript Clinic with Valerie Parv and her agent Linda Tate

10am-4.15pm Saturday 2 April & 10am-4pm Sunday 3 April

Submit your 2-page synopsis and first two manuscript pages to Valerie for appraisal ahead of the workshop. Then led by Valerie, the group will help you identify your story strengths and challenges. If you're not yet ready to share your work, you can benefit from the ideas and thoughts shared by other group members.

The second day starts with a presentation by literary agent and manager, Linda Tate on submitting to and working with an agent. This is followed by a breakout session to work on your pitch in small groups under the supportive eye of Linda and Valerie. The day rounds out with a group pitching session where you can showcase your project to Linda and receive helpful feedback.

Valerie Parv was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for significant contributions to the arts as a prolific author, role model and mentor. An Australian Society of Authors Medal recipient, Valerie is one of Australia's most successful authors with more than 29 million copies of her books sold, translated into 26 languages and as ebooks. The State Library of NSW collects her literary papers and she mentors new writers through the Valerie Parv Award created in her honour by Romance Writers of Australia. Valerie holds a master of arts from QUT and is the first Australian author to receive a Pioneer Award from RT Book Reviews, New York. At her blog, www.valerieparv.wordpress.com she holds First Monday Mentoring to answer writing-related questions. On Twitter @ValerieParv and Facebook.

Linda Tate's agency, The Tate Gallery Pty Ltd, is known as a "people gallery" because she has represented a galaxy of sports celebrities, media people, actors and writers. Preferring to work behind the scenes, she negotiates book deals, speaking engagements and media appearances for her clients, maintains their professional diaries and offers practical advice and moral support. A former manager with Harry M. Miller's company, she has a BA Honours in psychology and history, has worked in advertising and promotion. Her gallery of writers includes Valerie Parv, with whom she has worked for 22 years. Linda's maxim was inspired by Calvin Coolidge: "Talent won't conquer all, it's persistence and determination which counts at the end of the day."

Cost: $300 members, $365 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $350 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


24 Hour Story Challenge with Ian McHugh

Saturday 9 April (10am–1pm) and Sunday 10 April (1pm–4pm)

This short story masterclass is about developing participants' skills in turning ideas into stories and turning out stories quickly, as well as expanding their storytelling repertoire. On the morning of the first day, participants use tools including dice, tarot cards, random objects, books and magazines to create story elements, then work through a structured technique for combining those elements and using them to plan and develop a story. Over the next 24 hours, participants write their stories, then reconvene on the afternoon of the second day. This closing session is a facilitated group 'post-mortem', exploring the lessons learned from the process, and also begins the initial steps of self-evaluation and critique.

Ian McHugh’s debut short story collection, Angel Dust, was a finalist for the 2014 Aurealis Awards and is available from Ticonderoga Publications. You can find more of Ian's stories, which have appeared in professional and semi-pro magazines, webzines and anthologies in Australia and internationally, at ianmchugh.wordpress.com. His stories have won grand prize in the international Writers of the Future contest and been shortlisted five times at the Aurealis Awards, winning in 2010.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Diving In (Memoir) with Biff Ward

1pm-4:30pm every second Sunday from 10 April—19 June
(10 & 24 April; 8 & 22 May; 5 & 19 June)

A ‘memoir’ is a slice of your life. It can be about a snippet, an event, a relationship, a mystery, a tragedy, a turning point in your life. It will be based on a memory that had a profound impact. It is primarily about you and how you were affected or changed by the matter you describe in your memoir. It is not an autobiography.

The secret of good memoir writing is to give context, texture and meaning to the slice of your life you have chosen to write about. The twelve-week course will involve reading, writing, listening, reflecting, exploring issues through workshop techniques, and developing a critical eye.

Biff Ward is the author of the literary memoir, In My Mother’s Hands, which was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Literary Prize for nonfiction 2015, long-listed for The Stella Prize 2015 and winner of the Canberra Critics’ Circle Award 2014 for nonfiction.

Cost: $420 members, $388.50 concessional members, $485 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $438.50 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


The Mindful Writer with Walter Mason

10am–4pm Saturday 16 April

Tap in to true creative thinking and become aware of the vast reserves of wisdom within. Come on a creative journey with writer, blogger and speaker Walter Mason as we combine the insights of meditation and mindfulness with the joy of creative writing. Diaries, poetry, fiction, memoir, essays – all can be approached from a place of profound stillness and great wisdom. Go deep within to unleash amazing worlds of story.

Walter Mason is a well-known writer of travel memoir who has published books on both Vietnam and Cambodia. He has a BA in English, Text and Writing from the University of Western Sydney, where he wrote his honours thesis on Sumner Locke Elliott. He has taught creative writing at the NSW Writers' Centre, the SA Writers' Centre, Hunter Writers' Centre, WEA Sydney, U3A Liverpool, Marrickville Library and Waverley Library. Walter is a popular speaker at libraries and community organisations across NSW and appears regularly in the media, including ABC 702. He has a particular interest in Cambodia, Vietnam and Buddhism, and has spent long periods studying Buddhism and the Vietnamese language in Ho Chi Minh City. Walter has appeared at the Sydney and Melbourne Writers' Festivals and at the Emerging Writers' Festival.

Publications: Destination Saigon (2010, Allen & Unwin – named one of the 10 best travel books of 2010 by the Sydney Morning Herald); Destination Cambodia (2013, Allen & Unwin); The Emerging Writer (2013 – chapter). Walter writes regularly for New Dawn magazine and has been published in Newswrite, Kill Your Darlings, The Lifted Brow and Writers' Bloc.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


The Basics of Creative Writing with Jenny Bond

10am-4pm Saturday 23 April

The most difficult part of the writing process is, unsurprisingly, the writing. Finding time and inspiration to be creative is often a challenge for people that work and/or have a family. This course is practical and aims to send students home with the beginnings of a story and the motivation to continue.

This workshop will start with an overview of the creative writing process, from the original idea to getting that idea fleshed out on paper. Essential aspects of the craft, such as voice, style and point of view will be discussed and put into practice. Then, we will discuss how to develop dramatic characters (major and minor) by discussing appearance, back story and psychological depth.

Next, we will cover how effective description generates both character and plot. Here we discuss the idea of hearing your character in order to write authentic dialogue. We will also examine dramatic structure and the building blocks of narrative such as turning points, crises, climaxes and resolutions. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird will be used as the frame of reference for this discussion. Finally, we investigate the drafting process and simple ways to improve your work.

NON-ESSENTIAL READING: It is beneficial, but not necessary, to have recently read Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Passionate about the written word, Jenny Bond hopes to motivate others to harness their creativity. An ex English teacher and now an active author of historical fiction, Jenny is currently completing her fourth novel. At the ACT Writers’ Centre, she will inspire budding novelists and writers to begin their work of fiction and will offer them the tools to see it through to the end. As a working mother of two young boys, Jenny understands the challenges involved in finding the inspiration and time to make this dream a reality.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Editing Fiction with Pippa Carron

10am–4pm Saturday 30 April

Whether you intend to find a traditional publisher for your manuscript or publish it yourself, you will at some stage have to have it edited by a professional. This can be a very expensive process. However, you can reduce the cost substantially by learning how to self-edit. Plus it is a great skill to learn as it will improve your writing.

With hands-on exercises, this class with cover the whole spectrum of fiction editing, from structural editing (e.g. plot, theme, character arcs), through continuity editing (e.g. checking of historical and technical facts, action sequences, weather, clothes), to copy editing (e.g. grammar errors, use of language and literary devices) and proofreading (e.g. ensuring consistency in use of words, punctuation).

The class will finish by looking at the special needs of editing for manuscript assessment and competitions. Suitable for anybody at any stage of writing novels, novellas or short stories. Feel free to bring a manuscript to use during the day, and Pippa will be happy to discuss any aspect of editing your manuscript with you. There will be plenty of examples to use if you do not have a manuscript to work on.

Dr Pippa Carron is a free-lance nonfiction writer, editor, trainer, facilitator and consultant. She currently works for a range government and private sector clients, delivering training courses in writing skills and providing high-level writing and editing services through her company Yelsel International P/L and under the business name Writing in the Gap (see www.writinginthegap.com).  Pippa's writing and editing experience includes ebooks, government reports, academic papers, theses, high-level correspondence, conference papers, speeches, handbooks, training manuals and workbooks, issues papers, précis, business plans, magazine articles, travel articles, promotional flyers and brochures. She has also been writing fiction for the last few years.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Perfect Your Nonfiction Book Proposal with Mary Cunnane

1pm-4pm Saturday 7 May

Senior publishing professional with international experience as an agent and editor, Mary Cunnane, will show you how to take your book proposal from a rough draft to a winning, fully-developed presentation that will garner the attention of agents and publishers  in Australia and, if appropriate, overseas. Topics covered will include ‘the pitch’; writing an overview/precis, sample chapters, marketing summary and analysis of similar/competing books, as well as how to craft a submission letter that will get your project out of the slush pile and on to the must-read queue.

Now a free-lance editor and publishing consultant, Mary Cunnane was vice president and senior editor at WW Norton & Company in New York.  On moving to Australia in 1998, she worked at Transworld before founding The Mary Cunnane Agency in 1999 which she ran until 2013.She has also served as vice president of the Australian Literary Agents Association and the Sydney PEN Centre. You can find her online at www.marycunnane.com and on twitter at @skylarksrising

Cost: $65 members, $50 concessional members, $130 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $100 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Do You Want to Write a Screenplay? with Rie Natalenko

10am-4pm Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 May

This masterclass and workshop is designed for aspiring screenwriters — from beginners to more proficient writers.
The first day will cover:

  • The differences between writing prose (or writing for the theatre), and writing for the screen.
  • The importance of the story, and how to structure the story for maximum impact. The 3-act structure, story structure vs narrative structure, The 2 journeys of the hero.
  • The basics of screenwriting style and the industry ‘rules.’
  • The process of screenwriting

The second day, with a more workshop-oriented approach will cover:

  • Crafting good characters with minimum effort.
  • Openings and endings.
  • How to make dialogue realistic (rather than real.)
  • How to describe action for maximum impact in the minimum number of words.

By the end, students will understand the basics of screenwriting, experiment with screenplay structure, recognise industry-standard style, and plan their screenwriting process. They will craft interesting characters, improve their writing of dialogue and reframe their action writing for maximum impact.

Dr Rie Natalenko, whose doctorate is in screenwriting, has won several national and international screenwriting awards, including the IF award for best unproduced screenplay. She has written, produced and directed award-winning short films and has written scripts for many producers, and educational and corporate bodies. She has taught screenwriting at University and TAFE and has designed and conducted online screenwriting training for students and screenwriters worldwide.

Cost: $260 members, $225 concessional members, $325 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $275 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Short Order Short Fiction with Carmel Bird

10am-4pm Sunday 29 May              
  
Writing under pressure can be exciting and productive. Drawing on fresh inspiration, as well as a personal accumulation of ideas, each writer will accept the challenge to construct the first draft of a new short story of between one and two thousand words over the course of one day.

There is no formula for writing a short story, but there are guidelines that can act as a useful basis for the free construction of a powerful narrative. Writers will briefly share quick written responses to a series of questions, giving rise to a discussion of inspiration, point of view, tense, tone, characterization, structure, style, pace, dialogue, beginnings and endings, and the role and power of the title.

Most of the day will be taken up with the writing of the stories.Carmel will personally monitor the work of each writer. This workshop is intense and demanding. Stories may be briefly shared at the end of the afternoon, depending on time and the feeling of the group.

Carmel Bird has been teaching writing since 1980 in universities and other places in Australia and overseas. She designed the novel-writing course for RMIT when the writing courses were starting there. Her books on writing are used extensively in courses. The most recent review of Carmel’s writing is in ABR for October 2015. She appeared In Conversation with Marion Halligan at NLA in October 2015. Her most recent collection of short stories is My Hearts Are Your Hearts, published by Spineless Wonders, and her most recent essay is Fair Game, published by Finlay Lloyd.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.


Structural Editing for Nonfiction with Pippa Carron

10am-4pm Saturday 11 June             

Structure is the underpinning architecture of all nonfiction books. It has to flow correctly from macro-scale down to individual sentences, phrases and words.  Being able to edit the structural components of your nonfiction book will pay off dramatically when it comes time to find a professional editor or if you intend to self-publish.

With hands-on exercises, this class will look at everything to do with structure, from applying a handy generic macro-structure, to identifying the most appropriate logical flow of information at chapter and section level; from resolving matrix problems and issues arising from lack of parallel construction to helping your reader with sentence-level signposts.

Suitable for all writers, writing any type of nonfiction work. Feel free to bring a manuscript to use during the day, and Pippa will be happy to discuss any aspect of editing your manuscript with you. There will be plenty of examples to use if you do not have a manuscript to work on.

Dr Pippa Carron is a free-lance nonfiction writer, editor, trainer, facilitator and consultant. She currently works for a range government and private sector clients, delivering training courses in writing skills and providing high-level writing and editing services through her company Yelsel International P/L and under the business name Writing in the Gap (see www.writinginthegap.com).  Pippa's writing and editing experience includes ebooks, government reports, academic papers, theses, high-level correspondence, conference papers, speeches, handbooks, training manuals and workbooks, issues papers, précis, business plans, magazine articles, travel articles, promotional flyers and brochures. She has also been writing fiction for the last few years.

Cost: $130 members, $105 concessional members, $195 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $155 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings:You can lodge your expression of interest by calling 6262 9191, online or by email to admin@actwriters.org.au.

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