April newsletter: A little writing help from your friends

 In Jo-Anne Richard's blog, Newsletters, Writing Challenge

Writing is a solitary process, which means it can leave you feeling lost and not a little lonely.

In last month’s newsletter, we set out to help you to help yourself by giving you our best advice on how to get down to your writing, and keep at it.

But that’s often not enough. Everyone can do with some guidance and support – even the most experienced writers. You don’t have to go it alone.

What exactly do you need, though? What will help you most at your stage of the writing process and with your level of experience? Sure, there is plenty of guidance out there, but, to be beneficial, it needs to hit the spot. It needs to be targeted directly to your needs.

This month we thought we’d try to help with that. We’ve created an organogram which should help you discover where you are, and what exactly you need to make your dreams come true. Because … we’re in the business of dreams.

Click here to find where you fit within our family and how we can help make your dreams become reality.

Community News

We’re immensely proud of our alumnus Redi Tlhabi, who has again been long-listed for the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction, with her book Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.

This is the 29th year the Alan Paton Award will, according to the organisers, be bestowed on a book that presents “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power”, and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity”.

Redi previously won the award for her memoir, Endings & Beginnings.

Another alumnus, Enrico De Agostini has published a third book and second novel, Mind, in Italy. An English translation is underway.

Diplomatico, Chi è Costui? (Franco Angeli 2006) and his first novel, Un Prosciutto e Dieci Ducati, (Io Scrittore 2015), were published in Italian.

Enrico tells us that Mind “addresses a fundamental problem that modern society is facing: the pace of progress – electronic progress in particular – and how we deal with it.”

Click here to watch the book trailer or see the Facebook page.

And finally, our favourite independent bookshop in Johannesburg, Love Books, is looking for an assistant to help out on Saturdays. Take it from us: if you do indeed love books, you won’t find a nicer place to spend your time. Here are their requirements:

You must:

  • Love and know books
  • Have good people skills
  • Be organised and efficient
  • Have knowledge of Wordstock (a plus, not an essential)
  • Be available to start in May 2018

If you fit the above requirements, please send your CV to kate@lovebooks.co.za

And our February/March winner is …

Congratulations to everyone who entered our February/March writing challenge. It wasn’t an easy one, because it relied so heavily on subtext – and all of you engaged with it in a creditable way. We like to think that although there are winners, there aren’t really any losers – since writing the scene has helped sharpen the skills of everyone who entered.

The winner, for some really excellent writing, is Bindi Davies. Despite the fact that the scene is a tad obscure (a shortcoming that previous scenes in the as-yet-to-be-written novel would have remedied), the subtext is so delicately suggested, and Bindi uses such excellent phrasing (“the hairbrushes are arranged in a cosy coital nest,” for instance) that we had no hesitation in awarding her the laurels (and the R1000 voucher towards one of our courses).

The runners-up are equally to be commended. In no particular order, they are Clare Manicom (lovely business), Lynne Kennedy (love the yellow jacket wasp), Penny van Zyl (excellent misdirection) and Mitzi Bunce-van Rooyen (some memorable arrogance).

Click here to read all the winning entries.

And finally, the new writing challenge

All About Writing’s writing challenge for April-May offers the winner a place on our creative writing ​Coaching Programme: Focus on scenes.  It’s a fourteen-step programme with your own personal writing coach. We’ll tackle a number of different issues involved in writing compelling scenes.

Click here to see the competition and the tips to help you write it to the best of your ability.

Happy writing



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Showing 2 comments
  • Sandi

    Thanks for the heads-up on Love Books in Johannesburg. I’ll definitely check it out when next I’m in SA/JHB. Wine and books – what’s not to like?

    • Trish Urquhart

      The books are really thoughtfully chosen, Sandi. You won’t go away empty handed.

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