Explore your child’s creativity with this writing lab for teens

TWS 2016

Manila, Philippines – Instead of letting your teen spend hours playing games in his gadgets, why not let him do something productive this summer season? Just for a day, let your young adult develop his writing skills in a fun way.

Writer’s Block Philippines will be hosting “The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens” on April 16, 2016, Saturday, 1:00 to 5:00PM in Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City.

Facilitating the workshop will be Ana P. Santos and Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, two freelance writers who put up Writer’s Block Philippines in 2010, an organization dedicated to empowering writers, communicators, and creative entrepreneurs.

“If you see that your child has an interest in reading or writing, better take that opportunity to help develop his communication skills through this writing workshop where we’ll be sharing tips and techniques on developing your writer’s voice,” says Santos, a journalist who focuses on women and gender issues. “Start them young!”

Santos is a regular columnist in Rappler and Working Mom and as the 2014 Persephone Miel Fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, her work has been published in The Atlantic and The Washington Post.

“We’ll offer a fun way of learning how to craft stories with the use of Talecraft, a story-creation card game,” said Sarthou-Lainez, a lifestyle writer. was chosen as one of the five Asian representatives for Moleskine’s Modern Nomads in 2012. She is currently a Contributing Editor in Smile magazine and she also writes for various online and print publications.

The duo both left their respective careers to pursue their passion to become full-time freelance writers and put up Writer’s Block Philippines in 2010.

Talecraft Founder, Ria Lu, will be there to help the young writers break out of mental block and create stories with genres and characters that are outside of what they usually like to create. This workshop is open to ages 13 to 18. Participants will get to bring home their own set of Talecraft cards and story creation notebooks.

Registration is now open for “The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens” happening on April 16, 2016, Saturday, 1:00 to 5:00PM in Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City. For inquiries and reservations, email writersblock.ph@gmail.com or contact 0917.397.9927. Visit www.writersblockphilippines.com for more details.

This event is made possible by Freelancer.com, Fully Booked, Rappler.com, ClickTheCity.com, and WhenInManila.com.

For media inquiries, please contact 0917.397.9927 or email writersblock.ph@gmail.com.

With the philosophy that writing is both art and craft, both creative and methodical, Writer’s Block Philippines offers a space for writers, communicators, and creative entrepreneurs to learn, connect, and grow.

The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens

TWS 2016

Guide to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What are the details of the workshop?

What: The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens
When: April 16, 2016 (Saturday), 1PM to 5PM
Where: U-View, Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City

What is the workshop about?

Do you have a teen who loves to read and write? Do you believe he has the potential to become a writer? If you’re looking for a productive activity for your kid this summer season, sign him up for “The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens”.

In this half-day workshop, the Founders of Writer’s Block Philippines will share different writing techniques and help your child discover his writer’s voice. While Talecraft creator, Ria Lu, will discuss the basics of fiction writing, character design, and story creation.

What is Talecraft?

Talecraft is a story-creation card game designed to help writers break out of mental block and create stories with genres and characters that are outside of what they usually like to create. There are three types of cards in Talecraft: the Genre cards, the Archetype cards, and the Key cards. Players need to pick cards from each type and create a story based on what they’ve picked. For more information about the game, please visit http://talecraft.komikasi.com.

Who can attend the event?

Ideally, participants should be teenagers between the ages of 13 to 18 years who generally have an interest in writing and want to hone their skills, especially in the following topics: 

  • fiction writing
  • feature writing
  • journaling

How much is the registration fee?

There is a PhP3,000 fee per participant, which covers the course fee, Talecraft cards, and workshop kit. We’ll take care of the substance, but you take care of your sustenance, that okay?

How can I reserve a seat?

Simply sign up through our online registration form to signify your interest and we’ll email you the details on how to confirm a slot.

How can I pay for the workshop? 

You may settle the workshop fee by making a deposit to our bank account. Details as follows:

Bank: BPI
Account name: Writer’s Block Training Services
Account number: Savings account 1759 0377 11

If you have the BPI app on your phone, you can also pay via bank transfer without having to enroll our account in your Bills Payment Roster. Simply click on the option, “Transfer to Anyone”.

You may also pay via Paypal, which has a payment feature in our website.

NOTE: Once you’ve settled the fee, please email us your complete name, contact details, and a copy of the deposit slip/screen cap of transaction so we can confirm your slot.

Is there a deadline for signing up?

There is no deadline but please note that we will close the registration once all the slots have been filled up. Walk-in participants will only be accommodated if there are still available slots.

Also, it’s best to sign up and confirm a slot way before the event so we can prepare your handouts and certificates.

Who is hosting the event?

It will be conducted by Writer’s Block Philippines, a duo of editors and communicators who have collectively had more than 20 years of experience in freelance lifestyle and corporate writing.

Ana P. Santos: reproductive health rights and women’s issues

Ana has had over 12 years experience in advertising and marketing communications. She left her post as Assistant Vice President of a financial institution five years ago to pursue a career as a freelance writer.

As an independent journalist and foreign correspondent covering sexual health rights and women’s issues, Ana has received media grants from Newsbreak, Probe Media Foundation and the Philippine Press Institute to cover population and development issues.

In 2014, she was named the 2014 Persephone Miel Fellow by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to do a series of stories on migrant mothers entitled, “Who Takes Care of Nanny’s Children?”.  She has just finished reporting for her second Pulitzer Center grant entitled, “HIV in the Philippines: State of Emergency”.

Ana has regular columns in Rappler and Working Mom while some of her full-length features have been published in the Washington Post and The Atlantic.

Nikka Sarthou-Lainez: lifestyle / travel

Nikka has over 10 years of experience in writing for various online and print publications, as well as developing content for corporate clients. She is currently a full-time freelance editor/writer handling independent projects and corporate accounts.

In 2012, she was chosen as one of the five Asian representatives for Moleskine’s Modern Nomads and was included in its exhibition of travel writers’ kits where some of her travel paraphernalia were shown on display. She was the only featured travel writer from the Philippines, the others were from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Her feature pieces have appeared in local publications like asianTraveler, Travelife, Spark, Celebrity Mom, Business World, Highlife, Metro, Metro Society, ClicktheCity.com, Spot.ph, Herword.com, Homegrown.ph, GMA News Online, Rappler and WayToGo. She has also been published in Filipino publications abroad such as Filipino Star News in Michigan, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, and Dubai-based magazine Illustrado.

She is currently a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.

Guest speaker: Ria Lu, Creator of Talecraft

Ria Lu is the President/CEO of Komikasi Games and Entertainment, Inc., the development company responsible for some of the award-winning Advergames in the country. Ria graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the De La Salle University, Manila; and has taken up Computer Graphics for Games at the Tokyo Technical College. She is also currently the immediate Past-President of the Soroptimist International Club Parañaque, a socio-civic organization advocating the betterment of the lives of women and girls; and she is also a board member of the Game Developers’ Association of the Philippines. Ria is also the creator of the Talecraft and Flirt card games.

Who do I contact for more information about the workshop?

You can call us through this number (0917) 397.9927 or email writersblock.ph@gmail.com. You can also check out our website: www.writersblockphilippines.com.

Writing the Trends Piece: A workshop on feature writing about design and innovation

Renowned writer Oscar Wilde once said in his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, “Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.”

From classic to contemporary pieces, eye-popping designs and innovation inspire a lot of people to write. Colors, textures, materials, origin–there are various points of interest to draw upon even a succinct but engaging account of a design masterpiece.

But how does one write about such creations?

Inspired by the ongoing German exhibit “Somewhat DifferentContemporary Design & the Power of Convention,” Writer’s Block Philippines (WBP) will be holding a workshop on feature writing about design and innovation.

Entitled “Writing the Trends Piece,” the writing workshop will be held at the Yuchengco Museum on May 26, 2012 (Saturday) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The workshop will be facilitated by Writer’s Block Philippines’ editor- founders Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, and Niña Terol-Zialcita, together with Yuchengco Museum curator Jeannie Javelosa. It fuses practical knowledge about writing, an overview of art and design trends in the Philippines, and hands-on feature writing and art appreciation exercises to give the participant a starting point for covering themes on art, design, and innovation.


The Yuchengco Museum was createdto house the art collection of Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, and highlight his distinguished career as a businessman, diplomat, collector, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and advocate for education in the Philippines and beyond.

The Museum’s primary goal is to foster a greater public appreciation of the finest in Filipino and Filipino-Chinese visual arts and creativity. Located in Makati, the heart of Metro Manila’s financial district, the Museum is not only a “temple” that showcases art, but also a “forum” of exchange, debate, and education.


Writer’s Block Philippines is an organization that works to empower  both individual and organizational writers and communicators. Believing that writing is both art and craft, both creative and methodical, a form of expression and a discipline, it offers workshops and customized editorial services to fit various needs.

For details and reservations about the workshop, email info@yuchengcomuseum.org, call (02) 889 1234, or visit www.writersblockphilippines.com

Changing the Conversation with Rappler.com

Technology has ushered in almost limitless possibilities for various industries—especially for media, where real time reporting has become a focal point of competition for media organizations.

Moreover, the decreasing limitations in time and space have enabled these outfits to interact with an ever growing audience, a manner previously unseen in “traditional media”. At the forefront of global media development these days is the concept of “citizen journalism,” where ordinary citizens are included in the process of gathering and reporting the news.

In the Philippines, social news network Rappler.com has begun carving its own mark in the field of this new form of journalism.

“Technology now allows us to work in ways never before possible to create connected communities and to tap ’the wisdom of crowds,’ the process of harnessing a group’s collective answer which, under the right conditions, have proven to be better than any single expert opinion,” says a statement Rappler Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, veteran journalist Maria Ressa.

On May 10 (Thursday), join Rappler.com and Writer’s Block Philippines as they discuss media’s ever-changing landscape and its implications on citizens, journalists, and netizens alike.

Entitled “Changing the Conversation: An intimate chat with Rappler.com on the ever- changing landscape of journalism and the media,” this conversation will be headlined by Rappler Citizen Journalism Director Chay Hofileña, who will discuss issues such as the looming death of print, the decreasing viewership of television and the booming number of online news readers, the relevance of journalism college degrees, and the narrowing gap between bloggers and professional journalists, among others.

This FREE EVENT has been organized by Writer’s Block Philippines, and will take place on May 10, Thursday, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Fully Booked High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

For details, email Writer’s Block Philippines at writersblock.ph@gmail.com or contact (0927) 850 8280.

The Write Stuff: FAQs




What: “The Write Stuff” A Writing Lab for Teens

When: April 21, 2012, Saturday
10AM to 6PM

Where: co.Lab xchange
3/F #3 Brixton Street
Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig


If you’re between the ages of 13-18, like to read and write and want to be a better writer for  school and for creative expression, and are thinking of writing as a career, “The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens” is for you. 

At this workshop, we will spend one whole day discovering our writing style, trying out various writing techniques and, we hope, come out with a better inkling of how to make our writer’s voice come out loud and clear on paper.  : )


Check out what we have lined up for “The Write Stuff”:


The editor-founders of Writer’s Block Philippines will share their back story about how they found their love for writing and made a career from doing what they love and loving what they do.

Nina can tell you how the rhythmic sound of her grandfather’s typewriter sounded like music to her ears. (And if you’re from a generation who no longer knows what a typewriter is, Google it before attending the workshop!)

Nikka will share her enviable job of traveling, reviewing restaurants, and getting paid to do it. (But what you should really also ask her is how she doesn’t get fat even after eating plenty of desserts! 

And Ana can tell you how throughout her career, she stayed away from writing for so long, but in end, writing found her anyway. (Ask her if she still misses her parking slot and the corner office.)

From their stories, you’ll learn about the myths and realities of being a writer and a creative entrepreneur. We hope you’ll pick up on influences and turning points and find out what opportunities are out there for writers.

Finding Your Voice     

How do you know what kind of writing works best for you? We’ll take a short quiz to find out.

(Don’t worry, this isn’t the kind of quiz you need to study for.)

Writing Techniques

How do you turn a personal experience into a feature article? How do you deal with writer’s block? Those are all issues that even the most veteran of writers have to deal with.

We’ll work out both our writing muscles and our brain waves with writing exercises specially crafted by Writer’s Block Philippines.

Writing, Blogging and Social Networks

Writing is all about practice, practice, practice.

In this portion of the workshop, we’ll talk about how you can use your blog to  practice your writing, build an audience and find your voice. We’ll also share social media do’s and don’ts to build your credibility as a budding writer.

Writing Exercise

We’ll end the day with a writing exercise, just for practice. : )


The P2,500 per head course fee covers

  • Course fee
  • Light snacks + drink
  • Workbook


You can pay for the workshop via PayPal which you can access on www.writersblockphilippines.com or you can deposit your payment to

Bank: BPI
Account name: Writer’s Block Training Services
Account number: Savings account 1759 0377 11

Once you’ve made the deposit, please email us a copy of the deposit slip so we can send you an Acknowledgment Receipt.


The workshop will be conducted by Writer’s Block Philippines, a group of editors and communicators who have collectively had more than 20 years of experience in freelance lifestyle and corporate writing.  

Website: www.writersblockphilippines.com


Please bring whatever writing materials you’ll need to take notes.  As a provision, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket.
 You may also take your lunch in any of the nearby restaurants or bring food that we can heat at the workshop venue.

Writing Tip of the Day


Arabs are a people whose place of ethnic origin is the Arabian Peninsula.

The language which they speak, and which has spread widely to other areas, is Arabic. “Arabic” is not generally used as an adjective except when referring to the language or in a few traditional phrases such as “gum arabic” and “arabic numerals.” Note that in these few phrases the word is not capitalized. Otherwise it is “Arab customs,” “Arab groups,” “Arab countries,” etc.

A group of Arab individuals is made of Arabs, not “Arabics” or “Arabians.” The noun “Arabian” by itself normally refers to Arabian horses. The other main use of the word is in referring to the collection of stories known as The Arabian Nights.

However, the phrase “Saudi Arabian” may be used in referring to citizens of the country of Saudi Arabia, and to aspects of the culture of that country. But it is important to remember that there are many Arabs in other lands, and that this phrase does not refer properly to them. Citizens of Saudi Arabia are often referred to instead as “Saudis,” although strictly speaking this term refers to members of the Saudi royal family and is usually journalistic shorthand for “Saudi Arabian government.”

It is also important not to treat the term “Arab” as interchangeable with “Muslim.” There are many Arabs who are not Muslims, and the majority of Muslims are not Arab. “Arab” refers to an ethnic identity, “Muslim” to a religious identity.

The standard pronunciation of “Arab” in American English is “AIR-rub.” Unless you are referring to the character in West Side Story called “A-rab” (with the second syllable rhyming with “cab”), you’ll sound better educated if you stick with the standard version.

Source: Washington State University

Writing Tip of the Day

Wanna Speak and Write English Well?
You’re Gonna Need This

“Girls just wanna have fun,” sang Cyndi Lauper in the 1980s. “When you gonna live your life right?” is another line in this famous song.

We have to allow for poetic license because to sing, “Girls just want to have fun,” and “when are you going to live your life right?” simply will not fit the lyrics. It would sound strange.

Wanna and gonna

Wanna and gonna have been around for a long time and are commonly heard in informal speech. They are found in written work too.

American novelist, short story writer, poet, and journalist Stephen Crane (1871–1900) used wanna as a colloquialism in his novella Maggie: A Girl of the Streets(1893).

American writer John Steinbeck (1902–1968) used wanna and gonna in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

In informal speech and in the mouths of characters in creative writing, wanna andgonna have etched their place. This is where they must remain, in close company with other words of their kind. They are called reduced forms.

Reduced forms

Here is a table of some of these reduced forms with the original forms and examples:


Table of Reduced Forms
Reduced form Example of usage Original form Example
dunno I dunno what you mean. do not know I do not know what you mean.
gimme Gimme that gun! give me Give me that gun!
gonna He’s gonna do it. going to He’s going to do it.
gotta I gotta do this. got to I have got to do this. (Better: I have to do this.)
hafta I hafta do this. have to I have to do this.
kinda I feel kinda sick. kind of I feel kind of sick. (Better: I feel sick.)
lemme Lemme take your pulse. let me Let me take your pulse.
oughta You oughta take a nap. ought to You ought to take a nap.
sorta I’m sorta tired. sort of I’m sort of tired. (Better: I am tired.)
wanna I wanna sleep. want to; I want to sleep.
wanna Wanna blanket? want a Do you want a blanket?
wannabe She’s a wannabe movie star. would-be 

(want to be)

She’s a would-be movie star.
whaddaya Whaddaya know! She won an Oscar. what do you What do you know! She won an Oscar.

Remember that these reduced forms must not be used in formal speech and in formal writing. Always call into question any usage that sounds like a reduction and refer to a dictionary to be sure to use the proper term in your essays.

Be sure to do this if you wanna—oops!—want to speak and write well and get good grades in English.


Source: English Essay Writing Tips


Writing Tip of the Day

Adverse vs. Averse

by Mark Nichol

Adverse and averse share the root verse, which stems from the Latin term vertere, meaning “to turn.” But their meanings are distinct and, taken literally, antonymic: Adverse, from the Latin word adversus (“turned toward, facing”), means “antagonistic”; the original term conjures of image of confrontation. Averse, meanwhile, comes from aversus (“turned away”) and means “strongly disinclined” or “strongly unfavorable to.”

Other forms of adverse are adversary, meaning “opponent,” and adversity, referring to the quality of opposition. Adversary is also an adjective, but, perhaps because of confusion with the noun form of that word, adversarialcame to prevail in that usage. Avert, meanwhile, is related to averse and means “to turn away, to avoid.” (Veer, though it has the same meaning, is unrelated; it’s from a Germanic word meaning “to slacken.”)

A whole family of other words with the verse root exist: Converse means “the exact opposite” and has the noun and verb form convert, meaning “someone who turns” and “to turn,” respectively, and the noun form conversion, referring to the act of converting. Converse also means “to speak with someone” (to “turn” speech) and leads to the adjective conversant and the nounconversation. (The latter used to also mean “living together” or “having sexual relations.”) Diverse, originally divers, means “distinct” and is the parent ofdiversitydivergentdivert, and diversion.

Extrovert, which means “turned outward,” is mirrored by the antonymintrovert. (These also serve as noun forms.) Inverse means “turn about” or “turn over” and has the verb form invert and the noun form inversionObverse, meaning “turned toward,” is the opposite of reverse, “turned away,” which, unlike the more rarely used obverse, has a noun form, too: reversalPerverse, which means “turned away (from what is correct),” has the noun formspervert, for a person, and perversion, for the quality. Transverse means “turned across” (the rare noun form is transversal), and traverse means “to pass across.”

Versus also ultimately derives from vertere by way of, well, versus. (The Old English suffix -weard, from which we derive -ward — seen in towardforward, and so on — is akin to versus.) Other related words include verse (from the idea of “turning” from one line of verse to another), versed (“knowledgeable” — literally, “one who knows verses,” with the connotation of one who “turns over” a subject of study), and versify, or “write verse.”

Anniversary, meanwhile, literally means “year turning,” and universe, originally meaning “all together,” is derived from the words for “one” and “turn.”University, referring to a place of learning, stems from the idea of “whole,” with the connotation of “community.” (Varsity, an alteration of a shortening ofuniversity, denotes the primary group of athletes in any sport who represent a university or other school.)

Source: Daily Writing Tips

Writing Tip of the Day


brouhaha is a fuss or a commotion, especially one over something of exaggerated importance.1 The word came to English from French in the late 19th century, and it is used throughout the English-speaking world. The earliest known instance of the word in English is from the American writer Oliver Wendell Holmes’s 1891 book Over the Teacups:

“Yes,” he answered, modestly, “I enjoy the brouhaha, if you choose to consider it such, of all this quarrelsome menagerie of noise-making machines, brought into order and harmony by the presiding genius … “

But the word was not widely used until the middle 20th century.

Brouhaha’s exact origins in French are unknown. Some sources suggest it may come from the Hebrew barúkh habá, meaning blessed be the one who comes,2though we can’t explain how the modern English word could have developed from this.


Remember the brouhaha about $563 million in Obama administration loan guarantees to Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that went belly up last fall? [New York Times]

Without the brouhaha from the Liberal Democrats, the Bill would have been passed, unamended, a year ago. [Independent]

But, as the clocked edged closer to 3 a.m., the jovial brouhaha turned nasty. [National Post]

Sydney’s Centennial Park is destined to become the centre of the latest brouhaha between recreational cyclists and local authorities … [Sydney Morning Herald]

It’s almost as cringe-inducing as the awkward moment when Steven Tyler made fun of Jennifer Lopez’s much-ado-about-nothing Oscars “nipple slip” brouhaha. [Los Angeles Times]


1. “Brouhaha” in the OED (subscription required) 
2. Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, 1988. ↩

Source: Grammarist

Writing Tip of the Day

Soon means ‘a short time after now’.

  • Get well soon. (NOT Get well early.)
  • We will launch a new edition of this book sometime soon.

Soon can also mean ‘a short time after then’.

  • It was difficult in the beginning, but I soon got used to it. (NOT It was difficult in the beginning, but I early got used to it.)

Early means ‘near the beginning of a period of time we are talking about’. Early does not mean soon.

  • Early this week, I had a strange experience. (NOT Soon this week, I had a strange experience.)
  • He had an accident early this month.
  • He will soon have an accident if he continues to drive like this. (NOT He will early have an accident…)
  • I get up early in the morning. (NOT I get up soon in the morning.)

Early can mean ‘before the expected time’.

  • I arrived early.

Early can be used as an adjective.

  • We will be grateful for an early reply.

There is a difference between soon and quickly. We use quickly to refer to the speed with which something is done. Soon means ‘before long’.

  • I got dressed quickly. (= I didn’t take a lot of time to get dressed.)