Friday, 4 April 2008

The New Language of Texting

I love the way language and the written word evolve. It can be difficult to imagine what ye olde English of Shakespeare or Chaucer have in common with a text message of today ... however I think considering the journey our language has taken is worth a ponder or two!

If you had never taken part in electronic language on email or SMSing it would appear like an entire new language, perhaps even a secret encrypted language, which has emerged overnight in historical terms.

I found a pretty comprehensive collection of the language of the electronic texting age worth have a look at ... I can't wait to see the first "interpreters program" for English to 'Text' emerge!


(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Monday, 31 March 2008

Have Courage

"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place it leads."

~Erica Jong~

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Punctuation and grammar

You don't need to be a purist or classically trained in punctuation or grammar. In fact - sometimes purposefully sitting outside the norm can be a really enthralling thing for your reader (see e e cummings as a classic example of this).

I am not that great at either myself.

Spend some time reading about punctuation.

Try to make some improvements to your grammar just for the fun of it.

And ...

Read one of those "Write the right word at the right time" kind of articles or books. Any little speck of information you pick up will strengthen your writing.

It's a little like the old "learn a new word a day" trick. Writing well is about grammar and punctuation - try reading a piece which does neither well - you will agree!

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Peer Mentoring Workshop

If you are interested in growing your support systems as a writer, a useful way to do this is Peer Mentoring.

If you are interested in learning more about Peer Mentoring for Writers, you might like to attend a workshop I am leading at the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) on March 29. Details available through the Fellowship web site.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Monday, 10 March 2008

Self Publishing Writers

If you have chosen the 'path less traveled' and are self-publishing - there are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach.

Here is a publication from the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) 'Hints for Self Published Authors' that is invaluable. Full of hints AND contact lists where you need them ...

While you are visiting the site - consider joining the ASA.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

One for the freelance writers ....

You must be mad to want to write freelance as a career ... the work is hard and long and often boring ... less glamour than movies and TV would have you think. Yet somehow, mothlike, many of us return to the screen to face another day of writing, researching and running workshops.

Payment for doing what you love (or for writing something you loathed but the paying client wanted) is a common concern . I had to share this quote with fellow freelancers ... The writer Robert Benchley once said:

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps”.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Sunday, 2 March 2008

2008 Prime Minister's Literary Awards

One for Aussie Authors ...

Entries are now open for the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, a new initiative celebrating the contribution of Australian literature to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. The Awards recognise literature’s importance to our national identity, community and economy.

A prize of $100 000 will be awarded to the work judged to be of the highest literary merit in each of two categories:

  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction

The Australian Government is preparing legislation to exempt the Awards from income tax, but at this time the legislation is yet to be passed.

Authors, publishers and literary agents are eligible to enter books written by living Australian citizens and permanent residents. Works must be first published in English and first offered for general sale between 1 January and 31 December 2007.

Entry forms for the Awards and guidelines, outlining eligibility criteria and providing further information, are available on the Arts and Culture Web Site.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Friday, 29 February 2008

Maximising your Daily Experience

How can you maximise your daily experiences as a writer?

Well first you need to have adventures - whether these are internal or external. Go inside yourself and consider things you have never been brave enough to consider before. Alternatively - go some where new today, or somewhere you have been before but look at everything as if you have never seen it before. If you can afford to travel away from your home town, then do - removing yourself from your comfort zone assists you to really see what is around you.

At the least though, look for things happening around you. What is just slightly strange? What stands out? Jot down at least ten things per day that you could write about.

Your 'could write about one day' list can then become a speech, part of a novel, an article, a workshop or a poem. Even if you don't write about them today ... you will end up with a notebook of ideas, rich and from your own experience.

Be in a space where ideas flow to you.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Stair Stimulation

Visual stimulation for your creative selves ...
Poem, script, short story or monologue - the choice is yours. Include where the stairs start ... and where they end in your piece.

Have fun.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Be Concise When Writing

Today's entry come from guest blogger Jennifer Stewart of write101. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

Jennifer Stewart and Write101 have been part of the Web's writing community since 1998 and continue to offer detailed insights into the workings of the English language presented with just a touch of humour. Voted one of the 101 best websites for writers, Write101 has more than 800 pages of articles about all aspects of writing as well as a free online writing course, vocab quizzes, essay-writing tips for students and more. Whether you write for profit or pleasure, whether you're studying, working or retired ... there's something for every writer!

Time seems to diminish in direct proportion to the number of tasks that need doing,
so you need to make every word count when writing -- for your sake as well as your

Here are some simple ways to ensure your writing is concise:

Sentences should be short; 25 words is the maximum, around 18 is better. Don't use qualifiers in your sentences unless absolutely necessary (qualifiers add nothing to the essential meaning of a sentence, absolutely is an example of a qualifier).

Paragraphs should also be short -- 3 - 5 lines maximum. Nothing is more daunting
than line after line of text.

Remember the rules of good writing you learned at school:

a.. Vary the length of sentences
b.. Vary the beginnings of sentences

Start each sentence with a different part of speech to ensure that your sentences have a different structure as well as different beginnings. Check these examples for ideas:

Adjective: Strange as it seemed ....

Adverb: Presently the crowd parted to reveal ....

Noun: Producers waited for the results of the ....

Verb: Flushed with success she ....

Preposition: Beneath the surface of the ....

Use Topic Sentences to begin each paragraph. The topic sentence contains the main idea of each paragraph.

Vary the length and structure of paragraphs. You can develop the topic sentence of a paragraph by any of these methods:

a.. giving examples
b.. listing features
c.. classifying features
d.. comparing or contrasting features
e.. defining terms

Link each paragraph to the ones before and after it to give your writing continuity; an easy way to do this is to repeat key words or terms at the beginning and end of paragraphs (not Meta Tag keywords, just the key ideas you've treated in that particular paragraph).

Follow these simple tips to help make your writing easier to read as well as write!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Weekend Writer

Unless you are a top selling writer or have a "independent means" you are possibly a member of the not so rare "Weekend Writer's Club".

Have a read of some author's biographies - even just short ones on the internet. Many a blockbuster was written on weekends and weeknight evenings between doing a day job.

Like any writing, weekend writing requires discipline. Here are five tips to concentrate on to increase your success:

  1. 1. Book the time aside for writing - and don't let it get erroded.
  2. 2. Find a place that you find works for your creativity and always writer there - a coffee shop, in bed, hiding in the laundry - whatever it takes to get you the atmosphere you need.
  3. 3. When your writing time is up and you know you might not return to it for a few days - write yourself a short note, outlining where your thinking is at. This makes it easier to pick up again when you do return to your writing.
  4. 4. Spend some time 'not writing' and still be thorough with your research, editing, polishing etc.
  5. 5. Use some of your other spare time to be a voracious reader, take holidays so you can attend writer's retreats, attend workshops etc. You can live the writer's life part time and still feel connected.
(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Monday, 14 January 2008

Book Crossing

If you are a writer or would be writer, the only fair assumption that can be made is that you are also a reader.

The 'positive view of the world' part of me also reckons you will also be committed to other people reading and enjoying reading too. If I keep working up this track, then I extend this thought so far as to guess that you will also be interested in some book related fun and good deeds. is just the place to get some good ideas for such fun. I've been a member for a year now, and while I haven't released as many books as I would like to have, I have referred a few members.

How does it work? Well you get any books you have finished reading and are happy to pass on to others - even your own books if you have some published. Register the book on the web site - where it will be given a unique number to pop inside the book with a bookplate (which you can download from from the web site). Then you "release it" in the wild - somewhere you think a relevant reader might pass upon it. I have left one at my local church, the Uni I teach at and a local shopping centre for example.

When someone finds your book, they are encouraged to put a journal entry on the web site saying they have found it, review the book or jsut say where they will be releasing it. Talk about good going around the world!

Encourage reading - and feel good about decluttering your own book collection and join the Bookcrossing phenomenon.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008