About Us

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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.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.
Susan Sontag

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Testimonial/Success Story - by Lorraine

I would like to thank all FWG members for the support and encouragement that has helped me to achieve some recent exciting success with my writing.

I wrote my first children’s book, Melanie’s Easter Gift (http://www.melanieseastergift.com/), just before joining FWG. I have been struggling with marketing, mostly because of a lack of confidence to drive marketing endeavours.

As well as providing a wonderfully enjoyable morning once a month, FWG has been a source of valuable encouragement a great confidence boost. The members are amazingly supportive, and great company. The exercises are fun, and the critiques help me to hone my writing skills and appreciate reader reactions to my work.

Recently, I officially launched my book and signed two distribution deals (resulting in sales of over 150 copies with promises of lots more to follow). One purchaser bought the book for her ten-year-old son, and he asked his teacher to help him write a book review. A remarkably dedicated teacher went to his home after school to help him, and phoned me after reading the book telling me she loved it and asking if I could send him another copy if she took his away with her, as she wanted to write a review of it and also to promote it to the Director General of Catholic Education. She made the comment that she wanted to see it in every Catholic School Library in Australia, and intended to try to help me make that happen.

To say that I was floating on the clouds for days after that phone call would be an understatement. And it was lovely to be able to share my news with friends in FWG knowing that they would be genuinely delighted for me.

All author proceeds from this book are being donated to the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Foundation, so it is great to see the number of sales rising. With support and encouragement from FWG, I hope to write several more books in various different genres. And I’m looking forward to two meetings each month next year, working with friends at FWG to complete my novel, and helping other members achieve their writing ambitions.

Give a young child in your life a very special gift this Easter - a gift that saves lives. Melanie's Easter Gift is a beautiful and unique picture book and a delightful educational story for children aged 4 to 8. Just $19.95 per copy. All author profits go to the Leukeamia Foundation of Queensland (Australian sales) or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation (overseas sales). Go to http://www.melanieseastergift.com/, or call 07 3342 4047 to order.

Please help save lives by forwarding this message to friends and colleagues. Thank you for your support...Lorraine

Monday, December 14, 2009

BOOK REVIEW - Novelist's Essential Guide to Creating Plot by J Madison Davis

Words: Lorraine

I have just finished reading the above book on plotting a novel and I thought some of you might appreciate me passing on some of the key ideas discussed. I found a few points very helpful. I am a rank amateur at novel writing and very unskilled at plotting, so forgive me if I state what is obvious or common sense to those more experienced and knowledgeable than I. I will be brief, because although the book was quite detailed, there were only a few key concepts discussed.

1. Begininnings – the book suggested avoiding prologues, and commencing a story at a point of moderate excitement – with an event that arouses interest. This often means starting at a point further along the chronological sequence of events and flashing back to relate what went before. Prologues should not be necessary, as any information that appears to belong in a prologue should be presented in the story via flashbacks, dialogue, etc.
2. Causal Chain – A story must move from stability to instability and back to stability again. The book described a plot as a ‘causal chain’ – a sequence of events causing subsequent events and gradually eliminating choices as to the solution of a central problem. When there is only one choice left to solve the central problem, the story ends. The core problem must be significant. Not solving it must have disastrous consequences for the central character.
3. Sequencing of scenes – events described in a book should first be plotted in chronological order, then rearranged in plot order, which may be entirely different. Plots often start at the end or in the middle of a chronological sequence, and may proceed in orderly fashion from the start point to the end, using a single flashback to incorporate earlier events – or can jump around all over the place making extensive use of flashbacks or flash-forwards.
4. Intensity patterns – the book suggested rating the intensity of scenes from 1 to 10, then throwing out all scenes with an intensity level of 0 and striving for a pattern of gradually increasing intensity, rising to a peak near the end. Avoid sudden rises or drops, as they jar. Avoid a pattern of constant intensity for more than a few scenes, as this will bore the reader. Ensure there are occasional minor drops in intensity to provide relief and avoid over-stimulating the reader. The overall trend should be up – via a couple of steps up then one step back – until the end of the book which rises to a high point before dropping down to describe the restored ‘ordinary world’ and tie up loose ends.

The book provided some graphs of favourable patterns of intensity. One example was 4,1,1,3,5,3,5,6,7,4,6,7,9,3. Note the climax near the end, and the rise in the middle, with a slight lowering between high points to let the reader catch a breath.

Starting at a moderate intensity creates sufficient interest to keep the reader engaged through a couple of low intensity scenes to describe the ‘ordinary world’ – the world of the protagonist before the core problem presents.
5. Endings - All stories should come to a logical conclusion. Don't leave it to the reader to figure out how the story ends. It's your job to write the novel. The reader's task is to read it!

Endings should derive logically/casually from the events that precede. The outcome should be probable, but neither obvious nor outlandish. The two marks of an amateur writer are not resolving the conflict, or not resolving it in a believable way that derives logically from the sequence of events that precedes.

When the ending appears, it must feel like it had to happen, but before it happens the reader should not know what it will be.

Avoid 'deus ex machina' endings (god out of the machine). These are endings where divine intervention or an almost impossible event resolves the problem - something that has not been hinted at or built up to through the story.
6. Use of ‘Frame Stories’ - A ‘frame’ story is a story that is ‘topped and tailed’ or ‘framed’ by comments. For example, someone is telling a story, and the opening describes the story teller and environment – or the story is written in a letter, or told in a dream. Frame stories are commonly used by amateur writers because they are easy to write – but that doesn’t imply that they cannot be high quality and very professional. The key to a successful frame story is to understand that a frame is used to relate the effect of the events on the teller or the teller’s reaction to the events or thoughts about them, rather than to focus directly on the story. You use a ‘frame’ when the key message is how the central character – story teller, letter writer, dreamer, etc – thinks and feels about what occurred.
7. Leitmotifs (This was the most interesting section for me!) - Leitmotifs are repeating images, phrases, themes or thoughts. (eg. character refers repeatedly to some past highlight in his life such as being a quarterback in high school; an oak tree in front of a house symbolises solidarity). The term ‘leitmotifs’ derives from music, and leitmotifs are a feature of musical compositions.
They also occur in art.

Since reading about these, my husband and I have made a game of identifying the leitmotifs in stories and TV shows. It’s quite fascinating to find them and consider the effect they have on the reader. You find yourself anticipating a feature of a scene, or a statement by a character. We watched ‘Criminal Minds’ last night and noticed a reference to the criminal liking arches. Arches kept appearing in scenes, and you knew that when this leitmotif appeared, it indicated that the murderer had been active in this location.

Using leitmotifs conveys messages without saying something directly. For example, in a story, every time something sad occurs it is always raining. At the end of the book, the central character walks out into the rain. The author doesn’t need to say that the character is very sad. It’s implied by the rain because throughout the book the rain has been associated with sadness.

The author of the book claims that the skilled use of leitmotifs is a mark of quality in writing. The challenge for writers is to know what constitutes sufficient use and when they have overused or under-used leitmotifs.

If used skillfully, leitmotifs are not consciously noticed by the reader, but play on the subconscious. They create a feeling of familiarity, comfort, and security, but the reason for that feeling is not obvious.

Published by Writer’s Digest Books, 1st edition (August 15, 2000) ISBN-13: 978-0898799842

Sunday, December 13, 2009


For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
Catherine Drinker Bowen

Thursday, December 10, 2009


100 words: an interesting little website where you commit to writing pieces of 100 words in length for each day of the month. A good way to keep the writing muscle exercised!


Eclecticism E-zine. A great Australian E-zine where you can submit your writing. Submissions can be made for artwork too.


Writers Forum - has short story, poetry and young writers contests every month, with good money prizes. See the website for contest forms, fee information and deadlines.


1. Write an end-of-chapter cliffhanger

2. Write a short story in the past tense, then re-write it in the present tense

3. Take a piece of writing and re-write it at a faster pace to increase tension.

4. Write the first paragraph of a story, making it as gripping as possible.


'EFFECT FROM WHAT CAUSE?' EXERCISE Cause and effect have teleological* dependence, summed up in these axioms: 1. Logically, cause takes place before effect. 2. Each effect has a chain of previous causes (*the first in nature) with intervening effects. 3. Each effect can cause further effects. 4. An effect may have more than one cause, so the actual cause is unknown, uncertain, subject to a chain of probabilities or has been determined mysteriously by something that has since disappeared. 5. An effect presumes or is uncertain of a cause, whereas a possible cause does not presume an effect. In non-fiction, especially technical writing, it is normal to develop an argument from cause to effect, to reveal the deterministic mechanism and for clarity of exposition. C1à E1àC2 àE2àC3àE3àC4àE4àC5àE5 Example. If you create a short circuit (C1), much current will flow through it (E1=C2), resulting in the circuit breaker popping(E2=C3), which opens the circuit(E3=C4), stopping current from flowing (E4=C5)and stopping the use of all appliances in that circuit(E5). In fiction, it can be more entertaining to proceed from effect to cause, to create tension in the narrative. If you are told the effect first, you may be enticed to predict the cause and read on to see if you are correct. You are able to realize the further effects and significance of the situation earlier and will be more interested to know the cause, creating tension. E3ßC3ßE2ßC2ßE1ßC1 Writing from left to right, this is the exact reverse of the technical sequence further up the page. For example: "My God," Ellie said softly. They were all staring at the animal above the trees.(E3) "My God." Her first thought was that the dinosaur was extraordinarily beautiful. Books portrayed them as oversize, dumpy creatures, but this long-necked animal had a gracefulness, almost a dignity, about its movements. And it was quick - there was nothing lumbering or dull in its behaviour. The sauropod peered alertly at them, and made a low trumpeting sound, rather like an elephant. A moment later, a second head rose above the foliage, and then a third, and a fourth. "My God," Ellie said again. Gennaro was speechless. He had known all along what to expect - he had known about it for years - but he had somehow never believed it would happen, and now, he was shocked into silence. The awesome power of the new genetic technology(C3), which he had formerly considered to be just so many words in an overwrought sales pitch - the power suddenly became clear to him. These animals were so big! They were enormous! Big as a house! And so many of them! Actual damned dinosaurs! Just as real as you could want. Gennaro thought: We are going to make a fortune on this place. A fortune. He hoped to God the island was safe." Crichton, Michael, Jurassic Park, Arrow,1991 YOUR TASK Write (or quote) a piece with a dramatic and puzzling effect that is later attributed to an unexpected cause. This could be the start, initial action or finish to a short story, or an excerpt from a longer narrative. Two sides maximum, please.


Exercise 1
Write several scenes for story without using adjectives or adverbs. Take the time to focus on how the correct verb or noun can convey the mood or feeling you are striving for in the scene. You can also do this exercise with something you have already written, removing the modifiers to see if it strengthens the work

Exercise 2
Show, don't tell. Use dialogue and actions to describe a scene, rather than straight narration.

Exercise 3
1. Write using all five senses to describe a particular scene.
2. Look at an earlier piece you have written and identify areas where it could benefit from more description of what things look, feel, taste, sound and smell like.


Dialogue is what brings characters to life. Dialogue can set the mood in the story, intensify the story conflict, create tension and suspense, speed up your scenes and add bits of setting and background.

Write a dialogue between three or four characters of differing ages, gender and background. Does the finished piece sound as if four different people are speaking? Does the dialogue match its speaker's age, educational level etc?


People are interested in reading about other people, whether real or fictional. Without characters a murder mystery becomes just a police report, an historical romance just a history text. Hopefully, these exercises will help you create dynamic, interesting and believable characters your readers will really care about.

Exercise 1
Create a character from one aspect of your personality. Make this trait the main force of the character's feelings and thoughts. If you are shy, for example, make your character much more shy than you. In every other way - age, occupation, appearance, this character should be very different to you. Now describe that character's behaviour, in summary, in several social situations interacting (or avoiding interaction) with several relatives, strangers and workmates.

Exercise 2
Character tags can show personality, create tension, make your character more human. Try giving one of your characters a word tag - something only they say, that makes them instantly recognisable. Think of Steve Irwin's ubiquitous 'Crikey!' Or perhaps one of your characters calls everyone 'Babe', or uses slang or has an accent. Try using action tags for some of your characters. Does your protagonist jiggle their car keys in their pocket when they are nervous? Perhaps she constantly chews gum? Repeatedly clicks pens when bored in meetings? Using the character you created in Exercise 1, write a short piece in which they display a distinctive tag.

Exercise 3
Write a page using setting to reveal your character. Choose a setting relevant to that character, such as bedroom, office, garden etc and through its description paint a picture of your character.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Anna started writing short stories when she was a child. She didn’t take her writing seriously until the birth of her daughter in 2008. She has had a short story published this year and is currently working on a children’s book.

Anna has been a member of the Fairfield Writers Group since March 2009. Some of Anna’s other interests include gardening, crafts, travelling and cooking.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The novel is an event in consciousness. Our aim isn't to copy actuality, but to modify and recreate our sense of it. The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain.
George Buchanan

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Hullo readers - These two Australian publishing opportunities look excellent for writers of short stories.

Affirm Press is planning six collections of short stories by single authors in 2010.

They are calling for submissions of between 40,000 and 70,000 words (short stories, flash fiction, novellas etc). At least half must be previously unpublished. Standard royalities apply. Closing Date 1 February 2010.

For more details visit: http://affirmpress.com.au/ and click on Long Stories Shorts on their home page.

Pick a Pocket Book publishes small books, each containing two short stories. You need to join to submit, but they pay well.

For more details visit: www.pickapocketbook.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Here's one the group had fun with. Write for ten minutes, non-stop, starting with the line "My mother always told me..."

Pick up a news headline from print, television or the internet, and write your own non-fiction piece in 500 words or less.

Write a 250-word article venting your depression, anger, or outrage on an issue or person you feel strongly about. If you feel like whining, do it with flair and use good imagery.

A group activity - each participant submits three or four quotations, epigrams or interesting facts on slips of paper ahead of the actual outing. Go to a museum or art gallery and set aside a solid block of time to spend there eg 2-3 hours. Each person draws one or two of the slips of paper from a hat then goes off to browse. Linger where you wish, leave yourself open to what you see, keeping in mind the quote(s) you've selected. Find a corner and write something - a poem, the beginning of a story, even a journal entry. After the alloted time, the group gathers together again and each person reads out what they have produced. Once at home, do whatever shaping and framing you want and bring the result to a future group session for critical feedback.