About Us

My photo
Fairfield, Queensland, Australia
Fairfield Writers Group is a mix of beginner and experienced writers who meet the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at the Brisbane City Council Library in Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre, Fairfield road, Fairfield, Queensland. Our passion is writing and we work hard at our craft. Our aim is to encourage, support and help each other to reach new heights in our writing. New members are always made welcome and usually whisked off to the local coffee shop at the end of meetings for sustenance and socialisation with the rest of the crew.

Welcome to Fairfield Writers Group

We hope you will stop for a while and browse our site and if you like what you see, please visit us again soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.
Jules Renard

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Obtain a character's horoscope and use it to write a scene that reveals these characteristics in action.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.
Brenda Ueland

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Written for November Homework - Voice and Intensity Exercise

Stanislaw Kowalski was a recent arrival to this country. A specialist in cattle husbandry, he had migrated from Poland
He was going to carve out a new life for himself and the family he hoped to have in the future, but had not learned a single English phrase before boarding the ship that would carry him to Australia.

After struggling a few days, eating what the camp provided, he asked a compatriot what he could buy from the nearby shop so as to bring some variety into his daily fare.
“You go buy appele pie “answered Boris Polanski, “it very good, you see.”
Stanislaw was overjoyed, repeating aloud, so he would not forget,
“appelepie, appelepie…”
“How can I help, asked the shop assistant and Stanislaw answered

This routine went on for a week or so and mixing only with his Polish buddies, Stanislaw had not learned another English word. As soon as he saw Boris again, he ran over to him.
”Boris, appeggggggglepie make me sick, what I say next?”
“Say sandewich, they good and cheap,” Boris told him.
“Sandewich, sandewich…” Stanislaw repeated until he arrived again at the hot bread kitchen.
“What will it be, apple pie?” asked the young lady behind the counter.
“Ah, today you like a sandwich; will it be white or brown, sir?”
“Yes, I know, but do you like it brown or white?”
“Appelepie!” cried Stanislaw.

Author: Helga

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Fairfield Writers Group launched its first anthology of short stories, Beginnings: Queensland stories, on September 26 2009. Our two guest speakers, Cr Nicole Johnstone and author Belinda Jeffrey were terrific. A wonderful crowd turned up and the morning was a great success.

City South News
Thursday, 24th September 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Dear Fairfield Writer,
A meeting was held as usual on November 14th.
Present were Rosemary, Lorraine, Andy, Finlay, Helga, Carol and Martin.
Apologies from: Anna, Lauren and Yolanda.
Members commented on each others Voice and Intensity pieces. There was a variety of authentic voices presented. It was agreed that it was very important to develop a repertoire of voices. Thanks to Carol for finding this exercise.
Next month's exercise is to present our draft short stories for the One Book Many Brisbanes competition to the group for comment, if we wish to. See Exercise attached. The exercise suggests hooking the reader by beginning in the middle 'In Media Res'.
As next month's meeting is our last before Christmas, after the OBMB business, we should have time for some social writing, if members are interested. Can we discuss this next week? (see below).
Also distributed was a proposed agenda (see attached) for our very important special meeting on 21st November at 9.30am, at the usual place, to consider organisational arrangements for our future, perhaps for several years. Your attendance would be much appreciated.

WRITING EXERCISE - IN MEDIAS RES (story starting in the middle of things)

FWG One Book Many Brisbanes Competition
Entries close 5pm Friday 8 January 2010: story proposal <700 words or one A4 page with a summary of their proposed story (about Brisbane set in Brisbane) plus a sample of their story. 20 winners get $1000 and invitation to attend QWC masterclass on 22-24 February and complete 2000-2500 story within one week after.

Exercise In medias res
(story starting in the middle of things)

Do readers prefer 'things' in a certain order?

No - most like novelty - a story that's 'different'. But if it is so different that it seems like chaos, the reader may reject it. Some landmarks are needed for the reader to get their bearings. 'Clever' differences can be a variation on a well-known pattern of story stages. The most common plot sequence is: orientation, initial action, complications, climax, resolution. If you changed this order, and put a complication first, with the orientation second and the other stages in their usual order, this would meet the requirements of this exercise.

Similarly, you could have the familiar stages of the plot in one of many other possible orders. However, readers could be confused if the usual sequence of cause and effect is reversed without strongly 'signalling' * backstory or if the story switches around in time or place or point of view too often.

If you want the reader to puzzle over who, or where or what the action is about, you could put the orientation last instead of first. Usually, tension builds up steadily to the climax with the main character overcoming obstacles, or complications. Many readers like stories to end up with a 'bang!' rather than a 'fizzle', so if the climax is earlier, the high note of a complication could possibly come near the end instead.
( *e.g. signalling of backstory is often a change to the pluperfect e.g. She had gone...)

Plan a short story of 2000 - 2500 words using 'Were you in Fortitude Valley last night' as the first line, or any question about & set in Brisbane. Try to get the reader hooked on what is happening as you work in backstory in the form of character evidence (bruises from a bar fight), flashback, or memory. Present a story proposal as per OBMB competition (see above) : 1 A4 side <700 words.


Born in Glasgow in the nineteen-forties, Findlay worked as a newspaper journalist in Scotland and the north of England before migrating to Australia.

After a decade as a political journalist with the ABC in Brisbane, he worked first as a media adviser to a number of ministers, before becoming the principal media adviser to the Queensland Premier, and later, a senior executive in the Queensland Government.

Findlay wrote his first book, ‘Up the Clyde in a Banana Boat’, a semi-autobiographical account of growing up in post-war Scotland, while living in northern China for two years in the mid-2000s.

He has scripted a wildlife documentary, ‘Koalas Out on a Limb’, and is currently writing a book of short stories.


Carol has been a member of Fairfield Writers Group since its commencement in 2005. At the time of joining she had no writing experience whatsoever, apart from a few compositions at school. Her newfound hobby gives her extreme pleasure, with crime writing being her favourite genre.

Carol is about to begin her first novel – a murder story. She is also going to self publish her short stories and poems in the immediate future to give to family and friends. Her other interests are reading, art, knitting and crochet.

Goldie's Short Stories, Poems and Things


For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me.
Jack Dann

Saturday, November 14, 2009


The Word Writers Fair is being held on 28th November 2009 at New Life Christian Church, Inala, Queensland. Several books by local authors are being launched during the day. There will be seminars, presentations, plus book sales, and promises to be both interesting and informative. For more information go to website www.thewordwriters.com

Our very own writing group member, Lorraine, is launching her children’s book Melanie’s Easter Gift at the fair @ 4.30 pm.

Congratulations, Lorraine and we wish you every success! I'm sure some of our other members will be there to give you their support. Unfortunately, I can't be there, but I'll be with you in spirit.
Carol aka Goldie


Proud mother of three and doting grandmother of four, I am fortunate to have been happily married for 38 years to a wonderful man with whom I am still madly in love. As well as my family, I love God, life, people, travel, reading and writing - not necessarily in that order.

After a diverse work life, I now work as a business writer, but as I move (too slowly!) toward retirement and more leisure time, I’m keen to freelance and to write fiction.

I have always loved writing, and remember writing some good stories and a prize winning essay in my school days, but I lacked both the time and the self-confidence to pursue my hobby.

I was first published in 1976, when a popular womens’ magazine printed my article “Time for an International Motherhood Year”. In the late 90’s, I self-published and marketed a 1500 page self-teaching course in third generation visual computer programming, selling thousands of copies worldwide. I have also written software manuals, and ghostwritten several books on business, finance, taxation and health-related topics.

I have just self-published my first children's book, Melanie’s Easter Gift, and I am now working on my first novel.

I joined Fairfield Writers Group earlier this year (2009) and thoroughly enjoy the monthly meetings and the friendly support of those who share my passion for the pen (well, these days it’s actually a word-processor, which makes the task so much easier than the dip pen and ink pot I began with).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."

Monday, November 9, 2009


My turbulent childhood and youth were spent in Germany. After marrying a Dutchman I moved to Holland, where I worked and overcame my first language barrier. Just as I felt comfortable enough, my life was again thrown into disarray.

It was fifty years ago. Australia still adhered to her ‘White Australia’ policy, when in answer to the call for skilled European workers we immigrated to this country. We settled in Brisbane, where I live to this day.

Having to work for a living, a daughter to raise and with painting my hobby, I came to writing only late in life. I always loved poetry; but with English now my third language I can just manage to write some verse.

Three years ago I decided to write my first short novel and had it self-published. The title is ‘Brisbane, Bach and Brandenburg, Hunt for the Seventh Concerto’. The book can be loaned from the Brisbane library.

After this little adventure I joined the Fairfield Writers Group which I hope will keep me busy for some years to come.


I began writing engineering reports for oil exploration projects in Canada and the UK. Then I went back to university and researched alternative government planning systems. I emigrated to Australia and obtained work planning new mines and coal-to-oil projects. My hobby was literature and I made a career change and became a secondary school Science and English teacher. For Queensland's Department of Education, I was full-time writer for four years in a team of about 20 people, plus studio staff, who published a Multi-strand Science course, with 32 booklets of about 100 pages each, plus videos and audios, that is the basis of my teaching work. When I had finished I began writing privately a series of futuristic political thrillers, set in Australia, called The Middle Way. I am completing the sixth and will soon turn my attention to marketing them. I have been a member of Fairfield Writers' Group since shortly after inception, 3 years ago.



A) Write one page of a scene with the voice of the writing reflecting what the character (3rd person) or narrator (first person) is describing. For example, if he is under attack from the enemy on the battlefield, the writing would be choppy, or if she is on a three-day meth binge, the writing would be a stream of consciousness with a lot of run-on sentences that lose their train of thought. Work on adapting your writing voice to the type of scene you’re describing.
AND B) Use verbs that help intensify your writing, describe the action, and convey the energy of the scene. A good way to do this is to make verbs from nouns, thus giving the reader unexpected imaginative pleasure. For example: She brained him with the iron skillet, or He scissored a cigarette between his fingers, or They wheelbarrowed the beer bottles to the cooler.

The Poetry Resource Page, September 23, 2009. http://www.poetryresourcepage.com/teach/fex.html

· word choice
· syntax - patterns of formation of phrases and sentences
· imagery and figures of speech
· punctuation
· dialogue

YOUR OWN VOICE AND BORROWED VOICES - notes from Grenville, Kate, 'The Writing Book', Sydney, 1990

1. The natural voice of the writer has inbuilt strengths - it flows easily, it's consistent, it has the energy of real life, it sounds convincing.
2. Sometimes we borrow a voice that we feel is more acceptable. It is automatic and hard to hear the natural voice beneath.
3. A writer's first task is to encourage that natural, unique, voice.
4. Listen for your own voice and let it be heard.
5. Then you can contrive and control a voice you are borrowing for a character without letting it dominate.
6. The more voices you have access to, the greater your range as a writer.

It'd be a roasting hot summer's arvo and dad'd suddenly knock off hosing down the fence, his eyes'd light up like a railway station cordial machine and he'd utter those words of joy to the family...'To the beach then, eh?'
We'd grab our grandmothers and togs and be at the front gate , all sporting Coles' sunglasses and beachball puncture kits, corktipped badminton bats, fruitcake tins and nose-lotion. Not having a car, we'd fry on the Reservoir station, our teeth totally into choc Wedges, waiting for that heavenly VicRail chariot, whose driver was always Paul Robeson, to sail us away to such Troppo-madness ports of call as Aspendale, St Kilda and Chelsea.
I'll never forget waiting for the beach train. Through the heatshimmer of skinheads, bodgies, spat-out Kool Mint and KitKat, the tracks baked along with the signals and maggies croaking as one.
Dad cursed the cars rattling down High Street with their roofracks brimming with Super-Pal Kickboards. 'I oughta get a bloody licence, love,' he'd say, but mum'd hold his hand and unpeel a Mintie for him knowingly. We were happy in those days. Mum always knew best.
Dis Train Am Bound For Glory Dis Train would finally snore into the station and we'd hop on. Louts would entertain the sweltering passengers. It ws an eternity, but somehow we always got there, and then da'd have to buy more tickets at Flinders Street station to go on to the beach.
Huge mobs of Orange-Fanta ockers queuing up for beach tickets, some families a wonderful primrose, others the same pink as spout primer, others scarlet vermillion, picked out in pumpkin-yellow towel and chocolate thong.
The conversation'd go a bit like this. Two and six halves to Bonbeach and a pensioner. Here, there's a quid there. What? Of course she's old! Of course she's a pesioner! Go on mum, tell 'em how old you are! Look she's got a card, isn't that enough for you.' Then mum'd say, 'Grab the change, love, nothing ya can do about it. Come on let's get away for that nice swim, eh? Here Darl, have another Mintie and cheer up a bit.'
That cool effervescent hit of sea salt air wafting up our swollen sinuses, working its way through our Capstan-coated lungs. We'd stroll around the neighbouring shops in a dream, mum looking at bras and dad looking at guns.

From 'To the Beach Then, eh?', Barry Dickins, from The Gift of the Gab, pp27-29 in Kate Grenville 'The Writing Book', Allen & Unwin, NSW, 1990

This piece of writing sounds like a speaking voice. That's not to say it just came out like that first time - it might have taken weeks to achieve this tone of artless informality. But the result is a voice that you can hear very clearly, that sounds very 'real': the writer is borrowing the energy of real speech.
What makes this voice sound the way it does?
Look at the word-choice - 'arvo' instead of afternoon', but also 'utter' rather than 'say'. What do those lists of brand names and place names do? Look at the verbs and imagine the piece with less dynamic ones.
Look at the syntax: the length and complexity of the sentences in the first four paragraphs, and then the two very short, simple ones at the end of that paragraph, for example. Look at the way things are put together unexpectedly - 'we'd grab our grandmothers and togs'.
Look at the figures of speech: a simile like 'his eyes'd light up like a railway station cordial machine' tells us as much about the narrator as it does about Dad's eyes, and so does the imagery about the colours further on. The other kind of imagery is the opposite; not everyday but grandiose - 'that heavenly VicRail chariot...' What does that do?
Look at the punctuation: Dickins has only use commas and full stops, and many contractions, some of them not ones you normally see written down.
Look at the dialogue: does it sound real to you? Why?
Voice alone can tell us a lot about the narrator. In this example, we could be fairly confident that the narrator isn't the headmaster of Geelong Grammar or a bishop. How do we know? We've got some ideas about what this narrator isn't, so can we draw a portrait of what he or she is, just from the way the words are put together here?
Grenville, Kate, 'The Writing Book', Sydney, 1990


Sunday, November 8, 2009


FWG Meeting Report
Saturday, 10th October, 2009
Writing Exercise - Voice and Intensity

Dear Fairfield Writer, There was large attendance at our meeting on Saturday 10th October. Present were members Carol, Helga, Anna, Lorainne, Findlay, Carol S, Lesley and Martin. They were pleased to welcome new members Lauren, Heather and Loise. The homework exercise was Effect From What Cause and the work presented illustrated the principle well. There was some discussion of alternative activities and it was decided to hold a special meeting on 21st November at 9.30am in Fairfield Library to reach decisions. In the meantime, members would put forward their proposals and contribute to survey questions so that the meeting can take into account all members wishes. Please indicate your wishes by email to Martin as soon as possible, who will relay these to everyone and attempt to organise the alternatives. Lesley surprised and saddened us with her news that she is dropping out because she wants to concentrate on her novel. She was one of the founding members, has filled a leadership role and will be much missed. Our Best Wishes for your future Lesley. Next month's meeting will be on Saturday November 14th at 10.30am when members' responses to the Voice And Intensity Exercise suggested by Carol will be discussed. The idea is that your writing style, or voice, should not be unsuitable for the topic you are writing about. Also, to verbify nouns. These are explained in the attachment. Happy writing.  Martin


The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.~ Robert Cromier


Point of View (POV) determines the person through whom the story is to be told, ie the narrator. The most common POVs in fiction are First Person, Third Person and Omniscient.

First Person means the story is told as "I". This creates an immediacy and intimacy between the narrator and the reader as the reader is right there inside the narrator's head, with access all the narrator's thoughts. There are, however, some disadvantages to using First Person:

you cannot include any scene at which your POV character is not present.
you cannot include any information your POV character would not naturally possess.
you must include all the information your POV character does have.
Third Person means the story is told as "he", "she" or "it". The advantages of Third Person are that you can still get into the POV character's head, but still see him/her from the outside. Third Person told from only one character's head is called Limited Third Party. Third Person using more than one POV is called Multiple Third Person.

Omniscient is a univeral POV which can get into the head of any character at any time. The author also injects himself into the story, commenting on the action and sometimes addressing the reader directly.

Exercise 1

Pick a story you know well - whether one of your own, or someone else's. List the five or six major characters and then re-write the story from the POV of a character the author did not pick as the POV character. Does the story seem to change? Are some scenes emphasised more, or less? Does the meaning of the story seem to change? taken from Character, Emotion & Viewpoint (Writer's Digest Books, 2005)by Nancy Kress
Exercise 2

Take a story you have previously written in First Person and rewrite it in Third Person. What freedoms do you now have using this narrator? Conversely, are there limitations in using Third Person? How has the mood of the piece changed?


James Scott Bell in his Plot & Structure (Writer's Digest Books, 2004) talks about his LOCK system for developing strong plots

Lead character. A strong plot has an interesting Lead character, who is compelling.
Your character needs an Objective. Objective is the driving force of fiction. It generates forward motion and keeps your character from sitting around. Objectives take one of two forms: to get something or to get away from something.
Insert some Confrontation, opposition from other characters or outside forces that get in the way of your character achieving his objective.
Finish with a Knockout ending, one that leaves readers satisfied.
Using the LOCK system, with one line for each element, write a quick plot for your current idea

My Lead character is _______________________________
Her Objective is to __________________________________
She is Confronted by ______________________ who opposes her because _____________
The ending will be a Knockout when ____________________

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Hullo Readers – If you have just stumbled upon this blog, please bear with us while we’re constructing the site.

We look forward to bringing you lots of goodies to read all to do with writing. We will be posting writing exercises, samples of our work, news of our meetings, the odd book review, a little bit of humour and much, much more. Check out our member’s bios in the Members list. We’re a good bunch!

Please re-visit us again and we hope that if you do, you will enjoy what you see.