Another Writers Write Course in Durban and Romancing the Dollar

We will be hosting another Writers Write course in Durban, as a one week course, from 29nd September – 3rd October from 09:00 – 13:00 daily.

Amanda Patterson, Writers Write

Amanda Patterson, Writers Write

I, Amanda, will be training this course for this session only.

Please note that we only have a limited number of available spaces on this course. If you would like to book, please advise us before we run out of places.

37 graduates of Writers Write have been published

The ideal course for any beginner novelist or non-fiction writer is Writers Write. This takes a beginner all the way through the writing process to a polished, publishable way of writing.

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

SPECIAL – one week course (Durban only) 29 September –
3 October 2008

Where:  TBA

Fees: R 6 000, 00 (ex VAT)

RSVP: 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

This course was developed by inspiring published author, Amanda Patterson. Other facilitators include the best-selling writer, Sarah Bullen, playwright, editor & novelist, Morné Malan, teacher and prolific author, Anthony Ehlers.

Anthony Ehlers - Romancing the Dollar

Anthony Ehlers - Romancing the Dollar

Romancing the Dollar

But more, by special demand, for Durban writers who are interested in writing romances:

Anthony Ehlers will be presenting the popular  Romancing the Dollar course on 4th October 2008 from 09:00 – 15:00

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

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37 Published Authors for The Write Co

Amanda Patterson, founder and CEO of The Write Co, created Writers Write, one of the most successful creative writing courses in South Africa, almost five years ago. Lizet Engelbrecht is the 37th student of the course to be published.

Lizet Engelbrecht recently received the good news that her Afrikaans romance novel, entitled Sewe dae, has been snatched up by NB Publisher’s popular Melodie imprint. The book is set to hit the shelves later this year.

Sewe dae,” says Lizet, “has all the ingredients of a compelling love story for the woman of today. The protagonist is Esméralda Smit: a strong, career-focused woman who thinks she has everything made with a successful lecturing job, financial security, and no desire whatsoever for romance. But then, owing to the influence of her best friend Sonja, the headstrong Esméralda gets involved in a charity project, and who strolls into her life but the successful businessman Pierre Vaz? Irresistible blond fringe … scrumptious grey eyes … will Esméralda be tempted?”

This budding author completed Skrywers Skryf via correspondence in 2007. This is the Afrikaans version of The Write Co.’s extremely successful novel writing course, Writers Write, which has produced no fewer than 37 published authors to date. “Every potential author should consider doing this course,” comments Lizet. “And believe me, I have tried all the self-help books out there: Leslie Wainger, Sol Stein, Stephen King and others. But the first truly helpful guidance came from Skrywers Skryf.” Lizet also emphasises the great value of the detailed personal attention and feedback which she received as part of the course.

Skrywers Skryf facilitator, Morné Malan, translated the content from the original English and adjusted the focus specifically for the Afrikaans market. He is positive about the value of both Skrywers Skryf and Writers Write for first-time authors. “If you’re passionate about writing a novel, all you need is the right tools and a little encouragement,” he says. “Lizet is proof of that. Our courses get back to the basics of good writing: a strong plot, intriguing characters, dazzling dialogue and original descriptions.”

Writers Write is presented monthly as a series of four workshops on Saturdays, or as eight evening workshops during the week. Depending on enquiries and bookings, Skrywers Skryf will be presented again in October. Both courses are available immediately per correspondence, and are presented entirely via e-mail.

Read this on bizcommunity.com

For all enquiries about The Write Co.’s courses, please e-mail info@thewriteco.co.za

For more information about The Write Co and its facilitators, visit www.thewriteco.co.za

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.

Johannesburg

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

RSVP:
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 5 Most Common Problems First Time Writers Share

by Amanda Patterson

I have run my creative writing course, Writers Write for four years.

I have learned so much from teaching novelists to dream their books into life.

I have watched people struggle as they decide whether or not they need to attend a writing course.

After many rejections and lots of reflection, they join.

Writing teachers and mentors, and writing courses, have been popular for longer than most people know.

Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes lectures creative writing, as do Wally Lamb She’s Come Undone and Janet Fitch White Oleander.

Consider the Bloomsbury Set. Gertrude Stein sacrificed much of her own career to mentor the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald, T S Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, whom she once told to start again – and this time, “Concentrate.”

Writers like Andre Brink and J M Coetzee have lectured the art of creative writing at UCT. Authors, like Diane Awerbuck Gardening at Night and Susan Mann One Tongue Singing, have graduated from this programme.

Don’t ever be afraid to learn. The most successful novelists have always looked for help when they’ve needed it.

After seeing 36 graduates published, I have settled on these five as being the most common problems.

5 Most Common Problems First Time Writers Share

  • First time writers all want to write their life story in the form of a novel
  • Beginners have no antagonist
  • First time writers have no plot
  • Beginners do not have enough dialogue
  • First time writers hang on to an idea for a novel that is no longer popular

1. Almost every writer who comes through the school thinks they have a life story so compelling that an editor in London or New York is waiting to publish it. Starting a query letter with, “This novel is based on my life,” means the dreaded slush pile. Why you feel so compelled to hang on to your life story? Tell it to a therapist. Then write a novel. Or write a memoir. But learn how to do it so that it is not an indulgence. Chris van Wyk’s, Shirley, Goodness & Mercy, Alexandra Fuller’s, Don’t Let’s do to the Dogs Tonight and Mukiwa by Peter Godwin are good examples of memoirs.

2. If you develop well constructed protagonists and antagonists, who SPEAK and ARGUE and FIGHT, you will be able to write fiction. How can you write a book, which is generally 360 pages long, without a villain? Who will your hero fight to achieve his goal? The other characters – love interests and friends, are not important for the plot. They are important to show a protagonist’s life, goals, motivations and feelings without you telling your reader what they are.

3. Beginner writers either stop at about 20 000 words or carry on until they reach 120 000 or more. Most novels are 80 000 words. Either way, these first time writers don’t have a plot. Most first time authors ramble on philosophically until they have told the story. They are writing an essay, not a novel. This is called telling. Never tell.

4. In modern fiction you have to show. The narrator style of writing has all but disappeared. One way to get around this problem is to use dialogue. Modern novels contain 50 – 70% dialogue. I suggest that writers make friends with this writing tool.

5. All writers have a story from long ago, mostly high school, which they hang onto. I ask these writers to go to their nearest good bookshop and look at the new releases. I tell them to log onto Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Would their book fit in either of these places? Family sagas written by authors like Barbara Taylor Bradford in the 1980’s do not sell now. Nor do cosy mysteries a la Agatha Christie, or historical adventures like those written by Wilbur Smith – unless you are Wilbur Smith. These first time writers need to let go, do some research and write fiction that publishers will buy.

Of course there is more to writing a successful story than these five points. My course, Writers Write, teaches the rest. It covers plotting techniques, character development, writing believable dialogue, viewpoint, readability statistics, scene and sequel, pacing, chapter structure etc.

The next courses begin in Johannesburg on Saturday 12 July 2008 (four consecutive Saturday mornings) & Tuesday 15 July 2008 (Tuesday & Thursday morning sessions for four consecutive weeks)

For more information, contact Wiida 0117064021 or mail info@thewriteco.co.za

Writers Write Now a Correspondence Course

Amanda PattersonI am happy to announce that The Write Co is now able to offer our flagship creative writing course, Writers Write, as a correspondence course. Over the past few years, many aspiring novelists have attended the Writers Write course, which has resulted in 35 authors getting published.

However, even those who are not yet published, who completed a Writers Write course agree, they are much better writers and a re able to engage in their passion for writing in a more focused, productive and enjoyable way.

Some Comments about Writers Write Correspondence Course

“The Writers Write correspondence course is exceptional! It has inspired me to be true to my passion. The professionalism has motivated me to deliver the best book that I am capable of. I recommend that anyone do the course to learn discipline, inspiration, and inner strength.” Tania

“Students receive encouragement, access to Amanda’s publishing networks and extensive feedback on their work. The Write Co gives both students and publishers expert attention.” Terry Morris – MD, Pan Macmillan South Africa

Well, I guess you want to know more about this creative writing course that I devised and that I truly believe in, so let me give you a bit of an outline:

Duration: Your choice and at your convenience – we suggest six months to a year.

You will be assigned a tutor who will work with you through the course.

You will be able to email your questions.

You will submit your work directly to either him or her.

You will thus receive intensive one on one coaching throughout the course.

The Course Covers:

  • Creativity & Story Ideas
  • Plotting
  • Viewpoint
  • Genre, Setting & Description
  • Scenes
  • Beginnings, Middles and Ends
  • Dialogue
  • Characters
  • Pacing
  • Rewriting & Research
  • Style
  • Manuscript Preparation & Advice on Publishing

For more information contact wiida@thewriteco.co.za

Write Co. Graduate Shines in NB Publishers’ Romance Novel Competition

maridaYet another Write Co. graduate has made it to the top!

Marida Fitzpatrick recently took third place in NB Publishers and Leserskring’s Die liefde is vir ewig Romance Novel Competition. Her novel Eksklusief uit Eden will be published by NB Publishers and is set to hit the shelves in September this year.

“Although the competition was for romance novels, I tried to work in a lot of humorous chicklit elements, as there are virtually no Afrikaans novels in the chicklit genre. The main character, Mia Bindeman, is not your typical romance heroine and I hope especially young Afrikaans women will enjoy her humour and her adventures.” Marida explains.

Skrywers Skryf is the Afrikaans Version of Writers Write, a Creative Novel Writing Course.

This budding young author attended Skrywers Skryf at The Write Co. in 2007. Skrywers Skryf is the Afrikaans version of The Write Co.’s extremely successful novel writing course, Writers Write, which has produced no fewer than 33 published authors to date.

“I would honestly never have been able to write Eksklusief uit Eden if I hadn’t attended the course,” comments Fitzpatrick. “Not only did it give me the practical tools to be able to plan a plot and characters, but it also inspired me and gave me the self-confidence to actually sit down and do it.”

Morne MalanSkrywers Skryf course facilitator, Morné Malan, translated the course from the original English and adjusted the content specifically for the Afrikaans popular market. His own manuscript, Suiderkruis, won the Best Debut category in the Sanlam/Insig Groot Roman-wedstryd last year.

Practical Tools for Writing a Novel

Marida adds: “Morné’s no frills approach made me believe that I can write a novel without having to write a literary masterpiece. He helped me conquer the “white page fear” and helped and supported me tremendously throughout the process. I would recommend this course to anyone who dreams of writing a novel. It gives you the practical tools and makes you believe that you can actually use them successfully.”

Morné is also positive about the value of Skrywers Skryf and Writers Write for first-time authors. “If you’re passionate about writing a novel, all you need is the right tools and a little encouragement,” he says. “Our courses offer this in droves. Marida is proof of that. We cut through the academic claptrap and get back to the basics of good novel writing: a strong plot, intriguing characters, dazzling dialogue and original descriptions. And the courses are an absolute hoot to attend; so lots of fun is par for the course.”

Novel Writing Courses Available via Correspondence

Writers Write is presented every month as a series of four workshops on Saturdays, or as eight evening workshops during the week. Depending on enquiries and bookings, Skrywers Skryf will be presented again in June or July. Both courses are now available via correspondence, which offers more personal and detailed feedback from the facilitators. Correspondence courses are available immediately and are presented via e-mail.

For all enquiries about The Write Co.’s courses, please call Wiida at 011 706 4021 or 079 875 3719, or e-mail info@thewriteco.co.za For more information about The Write Co, its novel writing courses and its facilitators, visit www.thewriteco.co.za

The Problem with Writing your Novel

You Are Not Alone

I have run my course, Writers Write for almost five years now. I have learned so much from teaching novelists to dream their books into life. I have watched people struggle as they decide whether or not they need to attend a writing course. After many rejections and lots of reflection, they join.

Writing teachers and mentors, and writing courses, have been popular for longer than most people know. Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) lectures creative writing, as do Wally Lamb (She’s Come Undone) and Janet Fitch (White Oleander).

And what about the Bloomsbury Set? Gertrude Stein sacrificed much of her own career to mentor the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald, T S Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, whom she once told to start again – and this time, “Concentrate.”

Writers like Andre Brink and J M Coetzee have lectured the art of creative writing at UCT. Authors, like Diane Awerbuck (Gardening at Night) and Susan Mann (One Tongue Singing), have graduated from this programme.

Don’t ever be afraid to learn. The most successful novelists have always looked for help when they’ve needed it.

I have identified the five points that I believe to be the problems that 90% of these writers share.

The Five Most Common Problems First Time Writers Share

  • Beginner writers all want to write their life story in the form of a novel
  • Beginners have no antagonist
  • Beginner writers have no plot
  • Beginners do not have enough dialogue
  • Beginner writers hang on to an idea for a novel that is no longer popular.

Almost every writer who comes through the school thinks they have a life story so compelling that an editor in London or New York is waiting to publish it. Starting a query letter with, “This novel is based on my life,” means the dreaded slush pile.

Tell your Life Story to a Therapist

Decide what you are doing and why you feel so compelled to hang on to your life story. Tell it to a therapist. Then write a novel that other readers would want to buy. Or write a memoir. Chris van Wyk’s, (Shirley, Goodness & Mercy), Alexandra Fuller’s, (Don’t Let’s go to the Dogs Tonight) and (Mukiwa) by Peter Godwin are good examples of memoirs. A memoir is a collection of life experiences held together by a single theme. Don’t even think of writing an autobiography unless you are someone famous.

If you develop well constructed protagonists and antagonists, who SPEAK and ARGUE and FIGHT, you will be able to write fiction. How can you write a book, which is generally 360 pages long, without a villain? Who will your hero fight to achieve his goal?

The other characters – love interests and friends, are not important for the plot. They are important to show a protagonist’s life, goals, motivations and feelings without you telling your reader what they are.

A Novel Has to Have a Plot

Beginner writers either stop at about 20 000 words or carry on until they reach 120 000 or more! Most novels are 80 000 words. Either way, these writers don’t have a plot. A novel has to have a plot. A plot means that you have a hero whose life is turned upside down by the villain in the first chapter.

The hero’s story goal is to strive and struggle to come to terms with what has happened. He/she must overcome all obstacles put in his/her way by the villain. The villain’s goal is to thwart the hero at every opportunity. This leads to conflict which is necessary in every scene of your book. Most first time authors don’t understand this. They ramble on philosophically until they have told the story. They are writing an essay, not a novel. This is called telling. Never tell.

Show Don’t Tell

In modern fiction you have to show. The narrator style of writing has all but disappeared. One way to get around this problem is to use dialogue. Modern novels contain 50 – 70% dialogue. I suggest that writers make friends with this writing tool.

If your characters speak, you have to shut up and listen to them. You have to stop intruding. This allows the reader to understand and empathise with who the character really is. Authors need to make sure that each character has a unique voice. Listen to voices around you. Which voice suits your character? Why?

Does Your Story Fit into the Market?

All writers have a story from long ago, mostly high school, which they hang onto. I ask these writers to go to their nearest good bookshop and look at the new releases. I tell them to log onto Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Would your book fit in anywhere in either of these places? Family sagas written by authors like Barbara Taylor Bradford in the 1980’s do not sell now. Nor do cosy mysteries a la Agatha Christie, or historical adventures like those written by Wilbur Smith – unless you are Wilbur Smith. These writers need to let go, do some research and write fiction that publishers will buy.

Of course there is more to writing a successful story than these five points. I could write about plotting techniques, character development, viewpoint, scene and sequel, pacing, chapter structure etc. And I will. Watch this space.

Amanda PattersonAmanda Patterson, founder of The Write Co, and creator of Writers Write. 33 graduates of this course have been published.