Writers Write Durban 2008 – Only Two More Places Available

37 graduates published – two places available for Writers Write Durban 25 – 29 August 2008

Amanda Patterson and Nicci Stewart (Business Writing)

Amanda Patterson and Nicci Stewart (Business Writing)

Special 1-week course (Durban only)

25 – 29 August 2008
The Writers Write Course Includes lectures and modules on:

1.   Story Ideas & Plotting

2.   Viewpoint & Genre

3.   Setting & Description

4.   Scenes/Beginnings, Middles and Ends

5.   Dialogue

6.   Characters

7.   Pacing/Rewriting & Research

8.   Manuscript Preparation & Advice on Publishing

Where:  Gumtree Lodge, 13 Gumtree Crescent, Mount Edgecombe, Durban

Fees: R 4 500, 00 (ex VAT)

RSVP: Wiida: 011 706-4021 or mail info@thewriteco.co.za


Writing Disposable Romances

By Amanda Patterson

There’s something we don’t speak about much outside of the sanctity of the writing school’s walls.

It’s this desire – some might say obsession – to write romances for Mills & Boon.

The powerful pound has clout.

Tens of thousands of pound sterling per novel can’t be taken lightly.

Even you could do that, couldn’t you? Without breaking a sweat.

You’re wrong.

Writing a book is hard work. Writing a believable modern day Cinderella story of 40 – 50 000 words is difficult.

After all, where does one find that elusive single billionaire?

And, how does one make it sound plausible that he’s just waiting for our poor heroine to complicate his life?

Where do they meet?

What do they argue about for 180 pages?

And more importantly how does an author create exciting love scenes?

If you are interested read on

Great Resources for Crime and Mystery Writers

We know that crime and mystery writers are always looking for resources to check the accuracy of forensic details and crime scene investigation procedures.

  • Criminal Psychology
  • Forensics and Evidence Analysis
  • Police and their Procedures
  • Poison and Antidotes

Here is a great list of resources – although they are mainly from the USA, they are interesting and helpful to South African writers as well.

8 Great Tips from Top Authors

Here are some great tips from authors

1. Set production goals. John Grisham wrote his first books while working 70-plus hours a week. His goal was to pen one legal- sized page every day. Stephen King writes 1,500 words every day.

2. Write because you like to write. You won’t accomplish much if you don’t like the process. Isaac Asimov claims that he likes his own work: “I can’t wait till I write something so I can read it.”

3. Write for yourself. Barbara Kingsolver offers this sound advice: “Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

4. Write about subjects, passions and characters you care about. “Only write from your own passion, your own truth. That’s the only thing you really know about, and anything else leads you away from the pulse — yours or anyone else’s.” —Marianne Williamson

5. Devise a sensible routine. Quit when you’re tired, but don’t quit because you give up. Find your own rhythms, methods and rewards. “Always stop the day’s work when you know exactly what your next paragraph will be when you start up again the next day. It also keeps your mind ’writing’ even after you’ve put down the pen, typewriter, computer or whatever.” —William Hefferman

6. Perfect your craft. Work and rework each paragraph. Pay attention to how other writers rewrite and polish. Garrison Keillor suggests, “When in doubt, read it out loud. This helps you find deadwood and lame writing and get rid of it, which is all the more important if you use a computer. Computers seem to lead to flabby and tone-deaf writing, and we pay dearly for the convenience.”

7. Abandon your excuses. Ralph Peters -“There are no shortcuts – no substitutes for experience and hard work. Roll up those sleeves, pal!”

8. Cultivate your skills. Writing is a lifelong endeavour, a craft that can always be improved and rediscovered. “I have lost count of the times I’ve seen the flow of a story spoiled by an ugly sentence, and the times that what was printed could not possibly have been what the writer (or editor) thought was meant.” –Robert Jordon

Endorsed by Amanda Patterson and Sarah Bullen

Newspaper Blackout Poems to be Published

HarperCollins has signed Austin Kleon to write a collection of his popular Newspaper Blackout Poems for a book due from Harper Paperbacks in September 2009. Instead of starting with a blank page, the Austin-based writer and cartoonist picks up a newspaper and a permanent marker and eliminates the words he doesn’t need.

Kleon’s poems, which he began posting on his popular blog, have been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and in Toronto’s National Post, and have been widely linked to on the internet. In addition to original poems by Austin, the book will contain submissions from his fans which will be solicited through a contest on the author’s website starting in August.

Though he will be updating his site periodically, Kleon will be taking a break from daily blogging to complete the book. Check back on the site in August to find out how you can submit your entry and be published in the upcoming book.

You can also become a Fan on Facebook of Newspaper Blackout Poems.

Another Writers Write Graduate is Published

Dear Amanda

I am happy to tell you I received my first ever publishing contract today and your course was what started it all. Although this is a non-fiction book I used everything I learned at writers write.

Thank you so much for your generous and comprehensive sharing of your knowledge.

Warm regards

Annette Kinnear

Congratulations to Annette Kinnear, on signing her publishing contract with Penguin.

Annette is the 36th graduate from Writers Write to be published.

Do you Want to Write a Book?

“Amanda Patterson, together with The Write Co, inspires, encourages and drives her students to produce creative work in a nurturing environment. Students receive encouragement, access to publishing networks and extensive feedback on their work.”

Terry Morris – MD, Pan Macmillan South Africa

Terry Morris, with Amanda, & Chris van Wyk, author of Shirley, Goodness & Mercy

Writers Write – How to Make your Writing as Publishable as Possible

The best course for anyone who wants to write a book, or improve their writing skills, is Writers Write. It will teach you to write the best you can. It’s creative, inspiring and educational. You will be motivated and confident after you have completed the programme.

36 English graduate students & 2 Afrikaans graduate students have been published.


Saturday Mornings: Starts 9 August 2008 / 6 September 2008 from 8.30 – 12.30

Tuesday & Thursday Evenings:
Starts 29 July 2008 / 26 August 2008 from 5.30p.m – 8p.m.

Tuesday & Thursday Mornings:
Starts 22 July 2008 / 19 August 2008 from 09:00-11:30 a.m.

Where:  The Write Co

Johannesburg: 1st Floor, East Wing, Coral House, 20 Peter Place, Lyme Park, Bryanston, Sandton.

Cape Town:
5 Carstens St, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, 8018

Fees: R 4 500, 00 (ex VAT) 10% discount for subscribers (R5 130, 00 with VAT)

How long:
4 Weeks

Wiida: 011 706-4021 or mail info@thewriteco.co.za

The Writers Write Course Includes lectures and modules on:

1.   Story Ideas & Plotting

2.   Viewpoint & Genre

3.   Setting & Description

4.   Scenes/Beginnings, Middles and Ends

5.   Dialogue

6.   Characters

7.   Pacing/Rewriting & Research

8.   Manuscript Preparation & Advice on Publishing

The course was developed by inspiring published author, Amanda Patterson.

Other facilitators include the best-selling writer, Sarah Bullen, whose second book will be published by Christmas, playwright, editor & prize-winning novelist, Morne Malan, whose novel will be published in October, teacher and prolific course developer and romance author, Anthony Ehlers.

Sarah Bullen, Amanda Patterson and Marina Lewycka, author of Two Caravans

Mail capetown@thewriteco.co.za for Cape Town dates

Mail info@thewriteco.co.za for Durban dates! New!

The Night Class

by Amanda Patterson

Teachers dread it. They wake up sweating in the middle of the night, drenched with the horror of it. Only once you’ve experienced it, can you understand it.

You stand in front of that sea of blank faces. You see ten or twelve parasites – glassy eyed with an attentiveness that sucks the life out of you. You blink and look again. Yes, they are adults. Post grads mostly in their twenties and they’re here to learn a new skill. From you. Lucky you! You try again.

“What do you think of this?” Your eyes are wide, your voice is bright.
And you wait.
Silence screams.
It’s only 30 minutes into the workshop.
“Come on. Anybody?”
You check. They are breathing. And staring. In desperation, you point and smile your toothpaste smile.
He shifts. The eyes swivel towards him. You exhale. He’s thinking. His hand brushes his jaw and you know something good must be coming.
“It’s good,” he says.
A vacuum cleaner named despair sucks the air around you.
You know you shouldn’t ask but hey, they’re paying you.
“I’m not sure,” he says.

You’re sure that you can astral travel as you disassociate and watch yourself swim through custard for another 90 minutes. You remember what you say each time you start a new class – Writers Write. Now, you wish that they’d speak. Even argue, disagree but give something back.

So you decide to punish them. They’re going to do more exercises than any night class in the history of mankind. You smile, smug with solutions. You rattle off the requirements. You’re sure you’ll need to repeat it again. At least five minutes worth but no. They get it in one. You slump back in your squeaky pinstripe chair. You kick the leg. You’ve always hated it.

You turn to the sponges and stare. Justin taps furiously on his laptop. Camilla grips her pen and winces as words flap through her brain and splatter on her page. Heather whittles words into the grain of the paper with a ferocity that frightens your stomach into a knot. Greg stares upwards and twirls his exam pad beneath the ceiling fan of his hand. You want to ask him to do the darn exercise and stop daydreaming but when you look again, you see that he’s finished it already. Don’t they need time? They’re not human. You’re sure of it. Maybe you’re on candid camera. Maybe you’re on drugs. Maybe they’re aliens and you’re the experiment.

You need to breathe and you escape with an excuse. You tread heavily to the canteen and ask for a cappuccino – please. Your words are whisper-weary and the coffee lady smiles sympathetically. She’s seen it all. You clasp the caffeine and straighten your spine. You can do it.

You develop new teaching techniques. You ask questions and answer them yourself. You split them into groups. But it’s hideous. In pairs they’re stronger than ever and you have to withstand the barrage alone.
You want to ask, “Why are you here? You’re paying good money to ask me these questions.” You’d like to send them to the hell you’re in. You write with them as they do exercises and surprise, surprise, you write of murder and torture and cold city morgues.

And they smile as they leave. That’s what you can’t understand. They enjoy it! They really do. And they’re good students. They produce the quality of writing that the fun class never does.

But the effect on your body is startling. You ache and your head pounds. You can barely make it home and your significant other doesn’t understand. You sigh. Neither did you until tonight.

And in the morning when you analyse it, you harden. You’ve adapted and you know that nothing else can harm you again. You’re a tough cookie – you’ve survived the dreaded dead zone. You’ve lived to tell the tale.

And one day you know that one of these people will succeed in spectacular fashion. In fact, they’ll do it long before the funny bunnies ever do. You’ll nod and smile when you see one of their bestsellers on the shelves, remembering them fondly.

You’ll say, “I knew Justin. In fact, I taught him.”

Yes indeed.
You taught him well.
Your name is there – dedicated to…

Amanda Patterson