Writing news and successes, a new writing challenge and a writing tip

 In News, Newsletters


2017 is our tenth anniversary year, so we decided to look at what you, our community, have achieved over the years – and we were gobsmacked.

Twenty-seven of you have published books in the past five years. That’s people who completed the Creative Writing Course and in some cases the Mentoring Programme. Fifteen of those books appeared or were announced in 2015 and ‘16. Another one of you published a short story in a prestigious collection.

Two of you won awards: Enrico de Agostini’s Dieci Ducati e un Prosciutto (Ten Ducats and a Ham) won the biggest literary tournament in Italy and Redi Tlhabi’s Endings and Beginnings won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. Wow!

We would like, though, to pay tribute to all our writers tenacious enough to keep going, especially our mentoring participants, many of whom have doggedly continued writing, and who are now close to finishing their manuscripts. Well done.

That’s what it takes – doggedness. So start the year as you mean to continue. It’s not as daunting as you think. We’ll be there to hold your hand and lead you through the process with our New Year Offerings:

Firstly, if you’re interested in our Ten Day Workout, speak now or forever hold thy peace. We have only a handful of places left.

It follows the same format as our Thirty Day Workouts, but over a shorter period. That’s because we listened to you. While some people thrived on the month-long version, others found it a touch challenging.

The Workout entrenches a creative discipline and improves your writing by getting you to spend just an hour a day reading a short page of notes and trying your hand at an assignment. We’ll give daily comments on your writing and full written feedback twice.

If you’re ready to start writing in earnest, there is no question. I believe in our flagship Creative Writing Course because we have seen the results and I think they speak for themselves. Richard and I have thrown all our experience at it – our successes, failures and vulnerabilities – as well as the best the world has to offer.

The other reason to allow this course to facilitate your new year’s writing resolution is that it is still being offered at the 2016 prices – for this one last time.

The course starts on February 6 in Johannesburg, Cape Town and online. The online modules will be released over ten weeks. The face to face classes run every Monday evening for eight weeks in a convivial group environment, during which we’ll feed, water and wine you. (Online people, I’m afraid you must pour your own glass.)

It is equally suitable for beginners looking for a place to start, for established writers wanting to take their writing to a new level, and those who simply want a creative outlet and to enhance their reading and writing pleasure.

One of our regulars received the best possible Christmas present last year. Her husband gave her a place on our Venice Writing Retreat. This will be her third year attending, and it’s the third year we’re running it. That’s an endorsement if ever I heard one.

As before we’ll be running the retreat from September 6 in the historic Palazzo Albrizzi with its ballrooms, roof terraces and frescoed ceilings – and where Byron once attended soirees and flirted with the ladies. We are already taking bookings.

And so, on to our Community News.

Gail Gilbride Bohle, who completed our Creative Writing Course and took part in our mentoring programme, is launching her novel, Under an African Sun at Exclusive Books in Cavendish Square, Claremont, on January 25, at 6 for 6.30pm. Gail’s book has been produced by the US publisher Cactus Rain. You’re all welcome, Allaboutwriting community. Let’s support our own.

Congratulations to the Winners of our December Challenge, Thandi de Kock, Margaret Place, Jane D’Abbs and Kenosi Rakosa, whose entries will be published in the collection of short stories produced during our Short Story Weekend last November. We will let you know when the book is available on Amazon.

The overall winner is Thandi de Kock who, besides having her story published, also wins a place on the Ten Day Workout.

For the January Competition, we’d like you to write a scene which consists of a real or imagined altercation between two people in a public space. It could be written from the perspective of someone observing the altercation or of one of the participants. Write no more than 250 words.

To help you do so, here are this month’s Writing Tips:

  • Start the scene where things are happening. Don’t begin by explaining where and when it’s taking place.
  • Use realistic dialogue, not reported speech. If you’re not sure how real it sounds, read it aloud.
  • Don’t use only dialogue or your scene will end up sounding like verbal ping-pong.
  • Intersperse your dialogue with actions. What are your characters doing while they’re speaking? This not only breaks the dialogue but give us some insight into their feelings and reactions.
  • Use body language and bodily responses, where appropriate.

Paste your entry into the body of an email and send it to trish@allaboutwritingcourses.com by midnight on January 31 2017.

Happy writing,

Jo-Anne

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