Winner of Fair Australia fiction prize.
Bill’s article on books and e-books in The Age.
Another favourable write-up of Conquering Beastly Writing, this time In the Black, the national magazine for CPAs, reviewed by Derek Parker
In the Black, June 2014
Many promising careers have foundered on an inability to write well, according to Bill Collopy, who has written enough words to know the importance of good expression. The keys are to be clear about what you want to say, and to understand who you are writing for. Sounding pretentious is a killer, as is talking in clichés. Collopy explains how to avoid such pitfalls, and ends each section with a series of tests and quizzes (the one on punctuation is especially useful). Perhaps the most important pieces of advice are the obvious ones: keep it simple, and proofread everything before sending.
A generous review of Conquering Beastly Writing in the Brisbane Courier-Mail by Roly Sussex, Emeritus Professor of Applied Languages. There’s no link available, so here’s an abridged version:
Courier-Mail, Sat Feb 1 2014
THE WORD by: Roly Sussex
Bill Collopy is what the Americans would call a word ‘maven,’ an enthusiastic expert. His book, Conquering Beastly Writing (Jojo Publishing, $29.99), is a self-help guide for those who want to make their English less beastly. That is a noble task, given the amount of uncertain English around at the moment. Even more the amount of uncertainty about English and what constitutes appropriate use of language. Collopy gives us 23 chapters with titles that start Conquering …, each devoted to a common problem, misuse or shibboleth and named after a catchphrase involving fauna: ‘Dog’s breakfast,’, ‘Pigs might fly’ and so on.
There are exercises and an appendix with answers, further reading and a limited index. This is a book for browsers and grazers. You can read it consecutively, or you can dip into it, munching grammatical grasses here, sampling the vocabulary daisies there. Writing about grammar and use can be fun. Much of its material is Australian, not recycled Anglo-Americana. Here you will learn many interstices of grammar, including the benedictive mood, should you need it, and of use, such as the origins and applications of political correctness, clichés and weasel words, such as the ‘honest truth’. The bones of manipulative and misleading language are laid bare, as in ‘regime change,’ read: remove the leaders by any feasible means. You will not confuse your sewage with your sewerage, will only beg a question when it is proper to do so and will know how to grovel with PLZ 4GV ME.
Your biennial dinner will never be confused with your biannual one. You will be guided in writing letters and resumes or, if you prefer, resumés. This book is a delightful, informative, engaging and well-informed self-help guide for people who love English and want to learn to use it elegantly.
Since the launch of Conquering Beastly Writing, Bill has undertaken a series of radio interviews in Melbourne and interstate. Stay tuned to the dial.
Write-up of what I did on my holidays:
Two stories accepted by Three Monkeys Online, a current affairs and arts magazine produced by writers in Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Bill and other emerging authors were privileged to be selected for the Hachette/ Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development program, held at the Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane.
Great program, great people, and tropical storms: who could ask for anything more?
|Bill Collopy||In the Time of Fever||VIC|
|Sarah Salmon||The Chilli is Not the Whole Curry: One Woman, One Prophecy, and One Adoption||NSW|
|Kate Zahnleiter||Fitting in With Normal People||QLD|
|Ailsa Wild||Leisa Darcia & the City in the Sea||VIC|
|Adair Jones||Bound Earth||QLD|
|Antonia Strakosch||Remington Portable||QLD|
|Katrina Iffland||The Art of Breathing||NSW|