Free courses for writers

blogging-336375_1920_bookOne of our favorite writing/marketing consultant/bloggers, Jane Friedman, has an excellent email newsletter today, including a link to a “big list of free online courses for writers” from The Digital Reader.  There’s other good stuff too, including something for type geeks, drumming cat lovers, and researchers. You can read the entire newsletter, with links, here.

The free courses include graphics stuff, marketing, writing, social media and more.

The middle voice

ancient-grammar-policeDo you receive the Grammar Girl email newsletters? As writers and/or editors, there’s always something new to learn, and Mignon Fogarty (aka “Grammar Girl”) is a master at making that learning interesting and (gasp) fun.

You can follow her a bunch of ways — on her website, on Facebook, on YouTube, by the newsletter, by podcast, and more. Find links to all those places here.

In a recent newsletter, Grammar Girl discussed the “middle voice”:

I got a comment on YouTube from a listener named Steven, who asked about verbs like the ones in this following sentence: “The screw screwed in more easily than I thought it would.” Clearly, the screw didn’t screw itself in. The person who uttered the sentence screwed it in.

You might think phrasing a sentence this way would lead to total confusion, but it doesn’t. How is that possible? Steven wondered if this grammatical phenomenon has a name.

In fact, there is a name for it. It’s usually called the middle voice, although if you want a more jargony name, you might prefer “mediopassive construction.”

If you find this as interesting as we did, click here and read the whole post, or listen to the podcast.

Notes from the Catholic Writers’ Conference

From Rebecca Willen:

CatholicWrwiterslogoPart of my summer was spent arguing over whether I was managing the Catholic Writers’ Conference or the Catholic Writers Conference. Punctuation arguments happen when word nerds get together.

Tucked alongside the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) Tradeshow, an annual assembly of Catholic retailers and manufacturers, is the Catholic Writers Conference Live! (The exclamation point is part of the official title. Don’t ask.) Hosted by the Catholic Writers Guild — no apostrophe — the conference brings together aspiring writers, my-first-book-has-just-been-published-I’m-so-excited writers, slightly jaded still-trying-to-sell-my-novel writers, and experienced big-name writers, in both fiction and non-fiction, not to mention the editors, copy editors, proofreaders, and illustrators.

Thanks to CMN, conference attendees have access to Mass and the sacraments, as well as the tangible presence of major Catholic publishers from around the country. Presentations and workshops form the backbone of the event, but the real moments of grace and fellowship are found in reunions and chance meetings, deep conversations, and shared meals.

It’s a fun few days for everyone who gets the chance to relax and hang out with their compatriots in the Catholic writing world. Join us next year! Late July in Lancaster, PA – see you there!

Rebecca Willen is associate editor for OSV books.

Discover the Catholic Writer’s Guild

Catholic Writers GuildWhat is the Catholic Writer’s Guild? From the mission statement:

The Catholic Writers’ Guild is a group of writers, artists, editors, illustrators, and allied dedicated to building a vibrant Catholic literary and artistic culture. We do this by encouraging each other to create, publish, perform, and share our work; by reflecting upon core Catholic values (i.e., those in accordance with the teaching of the Magisterium) in art; and by networking among ourselves and with others within the faith and literary communities.

We are loyal to the teaching authority of the Church.

Our regular and alumni members are practicing Catholic writers, while institutional members are persons or company supportive of Catholic writing; institutional members need not be Catholic but sympathetic to Catholic practices and morals.

Writer/blogger Jen Fitz is a former Guild vice president, and gives us the inside scoop about what the Guild can do for you as a Catholic writer, and talks about upcoming Guild events:

In the next few months the Catholic Writers Guild has some super good events coming up.  In July there’s the annual Catholic Writers’ Conference, meeting in Chicago this year (it moves around), held in conjunction with the giant annual trade show for Catholic bookstores.  In October is the Catholic Writers’ Retreat, held at a beautifully gardened retreat center outside of Lansing, Michigan.  All year long, members of the CWG confer online (and sometimes in person), helping each other in the quest to get our work into readers’ hands.

It might be a good organization for you.  Here’s the inside scoop, coming from a former VP of the CWG and now not-very-active member who has basically nothing to gain, at all, from your decision to participate or not.

Read her entire post here.