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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review of WriteItNow Creative Writing Software by Lorraine Cobcroft

Lorraine told everyone at our last writing group meeting about WriteItNow Creative Writing Software. I checked it out and was most impressed by their Screen Shots and then the free Demo Download. After reading Lorraine's review on the WriteItNow Website, I was convinced it was exactly what I needed to start my first novel and I have since paid for a registered version.

I'm now really looking forward to writing my book because I know I 'll be organised...Carol

Below is Lorraine's review that also describes very well the features of this software  - 

Word processing software offers some wonderful conveniences for writers of reports, and business documents, but novel writers need more.

Over the past few years, a number of specialist software companies have developed packages designed to meet the specific needs of novelists, but few have succeeded as well as Ravenshead Services Ltd, creators of WriteItNow Creative Writing Software. Now in Version 4.03, WriteItNow is not only an inexpensive and delightfully feature rich, high performance tool for the would-be-novelist, but also a fabulous tool for writers of other types of books and long reports, particularly those involving research and requiring convenient tools for rearranging sections.

Priced at just $59.95 USD, the software is affordable for even the poorest of writers, and the support from the team at Ravenshead is excellent. A free demonstration is available for trial before you commit to purchase. Buying is easy from their Internet store. You will be supplied with an Unlock Code to enter into your demonstration to convert it to a fully usable product, and Ravenshead generously allow you to use the same Unlock Code to use the software on up to six computers, as long as you own all of them.

Ravenshead supplies a rich array of tutorials assist you to make the most of its features —though it is highly intuitive and has an excellent Help facility built in.

The software opens, by default, to reveal a split window, with five main menu headings , a navigation window on the left, and a larger window displaying ten tabs. Regardless of which tab you select, an editing window occupies most of the screen. The appearance of the editing window changes depending on the tab selected, but all provide for typing text. The editing window features a series of tools for text editing.

All the expected word processing tools are included, like a Spell Checker with a choice of editable dictionaries; find and replace tools; select, cut, copy, and paste; and tools to move quickly to the start or end of a section of text. Each editing window features a series of buttons to apply bold, italic or underline to selected text and undo or redo recent changes. You can also use the Tools button to insert accented characters.

Two excellent additional features in provided in the editing windows are Links and Web buttons.
The Links button lets you insert links anywhere in your text to connect instantly to a chapter or scene, character description, location, event, idea, note, or to another file, a web page, or a reference. The link will appear in your text as a small graphic icon, and clicking the icon will take you directly to the linked location. It’s great for cross-referencing to, for example, ensure consistency of descriptions of people and places.

The Web button provides tools for instant look-up of relevant websites—to search the web for a word or phrase; find quotations or rhymes; locate suitable images to illustrate your work; or to reference a dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopaedia on the web. These tools are particularly useful to writers working on non-fiction books that require extensive research, and for writers of historical novels. Once you find the information you need, insert a Reference Link and record where the information or quote was extracted from, and acknowledging sources becomes a simple task, whether you choose to do it via footnotes or a bibliography.

The main tabs above the editing window enable users to move between the story overview, chapters and scenes, characters descriptions, event descriptions, location descriptions, random notes and idea, relationship and timeline charts, lists of references, and a page for recording submissions. Navigation is replicated in the navigation window, using a tree structure to expose links.

The Main Menu

The File Menu invites writers to start a new story, open an existing story (either by finding a file with a .wnw extension, or selecting from a list of recently opened stories), save a story, import an RTF file, restore from a recent revision (to recover a story if you decide you don't like recently made changes), or delete all revisions. I especially love the way WriteItNow retains multiple revisions of each story, so that changes can be easily undone.

The Export menu offers options to export your story directly to a web page (HTML) or compiled ebook, as well as to an RTF file (manuscript) or simple text file. A rich selection of Export Setup Options let you choose exactly what the exported manuscript will look like. You can:

Set your preferred page size and margins
Select the line spacing, paragraph alignment and indenting,
Set preferred fonts and sizes
Customize your cover page
Set up headers and footers
Choose whether to include your overview, notes, references, chapters, events, scenes, characters, locations, and/or ideas.
Choose whether or not to include an 'end story' marker, and define how it should appear if used.
Choose whether to include links in summary or detail
Choose whether to start a new page after each scene and/or chapter
Choose whether or not to remove blank lines
Choose whether to include your submissions list
Choose to use smart quotes
Choose to include an RTF Table of Contents

Under the Tools menu heading, you will find an excellent selection of writing aides, including a word counter, Readability assessor , thesaurus, and global find and replace tool. The newly added Story Board displays a graphical representation of your chapters and scenes and lets you drag and drop to rearrange, as well as editing, deleting, and adding scenes and chapters quickly.

Writing targets helps writers track their efforts, by setting daily targets in hours and words. Once targets are set, WriteItNow will tally the time elapsed and words written (counting only words written for chapters and scenes, and excluding notes, events, ideas etc.)

Writers struggling with characterization will love the character creation tools. You can create a random character, or use the Add-on character creator for more automation. The Creator lets you select gender, then provides detailed help to select a name. You can then use the Archetype, Enneagram, or Myers Briggs personality type specifications to build personalities for your hero, mentor, and other characters in your story. The system will automatically build a description for your character, and you can select a period in the Timeline section and enter a year of birth to find historical events in which to involve your character, or to provide a background for your story. Once your character is added, move to the Characters window to specify a date of death, edit the character description and personality, and create family, personal and other relationships. You can also optionally add a picture. Updating relationships automatically transfers relationship information entered for one character to any other related character. For example, if your description of Mary states that Mary is Jack's daughter, updating will ensure that the description of Jack shows Mary as his daughter.

WriteItNow also offers a Prompts tool, offering the choice to add, edit or use prompt sets. Prompt sets are sets of questions that guide your writing. For example, when you create a character, a list of questions about this person's appearance, personality, and habits help you describe the character. Provided prompt sets include scene prompts, location prompts, event prompts, prompts the help build ideas, acts and stories, and even prompts to help you contact publishers who might be interested in your book.

The other options on the main menu are Settings, which allows you to set a range of preferences including appearance of the screen, and which web sites are used for web lookups; and Help.


The primary tools for navigating your story are the tabs at the top of the editing window or the tree branches in the navigation window on the left, depending on your personal preferences. Both allow you to move quickly between story overview, chapters and scenes, character descriptions, location descriptions, random notes and ideas, and charts, submissions and references.

When you begin a new story, WriteItNow presents the Overview window, in which you enter a title and the author’s name, then type a brief summary of your story idea. A neat little "Title Generator" helps you with ideas for a title.

Next, you may want to create some characters for your story. The Character window initially opens to display only a series of navigation buttons, the text "0 of 0" (indicating that no characters have been created yet), and a + and - button for adding and deleting. Once you have created characters, the arrow buttons let you move from one to the next or from first to last; to Go To button displays a list of all the characters, and the indicator text changes to show how many characters you have created and which character number you are currently viewing.

Click + to add a new character, and the window changes to display fields for the character's title, first, middle and last name, usual name (nickname), gender, and birth and death dates. An editing window is topped by a series of tabs labelled "Description", "Personality", "Family Relationships", Personal Relationships, Other Relationships, and Picture. Here you can enter detailed information about various aspects of your character. Depending which tab you select, you may be presented with a window for typing free text, or specialized tools. The Personality Tab, for example, provides a list of traits to select, and for each you can set a value between 1 and 100 to indicate the degree to which this trait applies. For example, if you select 'affection' and set the value to 55, a description window on the right will indicate that the character is quite affectionate. By moving personality indicators up and down in the list, you indicate which personality traits are most dominant in this character.

In the Relationships windows, you show how the characters are inter-related at different points in the story, using start and end dates. The “Personal Relationship" window lets you set values for relationships. For example, you might create a relationship between Jim and Mary to show that Jim admires Mary, and set a value of Strong or Very Strong to indicate the degree of admiration felt.

If you upload a picture for your character, you can convert the picture to an icon to replace the simple icons usually used for selecting characters in the navigation window.

The Events tab, Location, and Notes tabs all appear identically to the Characters tab when first opened, and feature the same navigation buttons. When you create a new Event, however, fields display to enter an event title, and a split window offers a Details tab for typing details of the event, and an Event Characters window for selecting which characters are involved in this event. Below the Details window, Start and End Date selectors display the time period in which this event is set, and you can set and change these dates using the calendar that pops up when you click on the date icon to the left of the date.

The Locations, Notes and Ideas windows all display simple editing windows with a field for the title. The Charts window features tabs for displaying charts of relationships between characters, and a timeline chart of your story.

In the Submissions window, enter the details of who the manuscript was sent to, date sent, date of reply, date published, date paid, and the amount received for your story.

And finally, in the References window, enter the title of the referenced text, and author name, pages, publication date, and other details, and specify how the reference text will appear in your manuscript.

Ultimately, of course, all these tools are useless if they don't lead to a story, so the Chapter Window plays a critical role by providing a place to assemble all the location, character and event information to write scenes and assemble chapters that can be rearranged in the Storyboard to build your completed story or book. However short or long the work, the provided tools deliver welcome assistance to ensure consistency of characterization and location and to help you record thoughts and ideas in an orderly, easy to access way.

When you are finally done writing, WriteItNow automatically formats your manuscript ready for printing, or web publishing, or distribution as an e-book.

From first idea to final manuscript — from short stories to full length novels and non-fiction tomes — WriteItNow is the ideal tool for both budding and accomplished authors. It automates the tedious tasks, to let you concentrate on being creative. Keeping you organized and focused, WriteItNow removes some of the frustrating road blocks that obstruct author productivity. And when your masterpiece is done, the team at Ravenshead will be delighted to add a link to your website and allow you to write a few words to promote your work — because they don't just make great tools for writers, they actually delight in supporting authors in their quest for success!

A further review from Lorraine on WriteItNow -

By the way, I switched to WriteItNow rather nervously after using other writing software for a time and having all sorts of performance problems with it. WriteItNow is fabulous by comparison - much friendlier.

Lorraine's Website


“The real truthfulness of all works of imagination, sculpture,
painting, and written fiction, is so purely in the imagination,
that the artist never seeks to represent positive truth, but the
idealized image of a truth”
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
(British politician, poet, critic and prolific novelist, 1803-1873

Monday, January 25, 2010

Novel/Short Stories Group - Meeting Report 23 January 2010

Present: Findlay, Helga, Leanne, Lorraine, Pam, Carol
Apologies: Anna

Our first meeting for the newly formed Novel/Short Stories group was very successful with good writing presented for critique and helpful feedback given.

A warm welcome was extended to new member Pam. We hope that Pam will find our meetings enjoyable and useful to her in the future.

It has been decided that we will split up into smaller groups for critiquing at future Novel/Short Stories meetings due to the longer length of pieces presented.

Members wishing for feedback of extra long pieces, such as a whole chapter, to buddy up with other novel writers in the group and forward their work electronically to their buddies for preliminary reading/commenting before the next meeting. A brief outline of the 'story so far' to be included with the chapter.

Meeting Dates for February:
Exercise Group – 13th
Novel/Short Stories Group 27th

Until the next meeting happy writing to all of you.



There are many reasons why novelists write – but they all have one thing in common: a need to create an alternative world.
John Fowles

Monday, January 18, 2010


Life is what happens to a writer between drafts.
Damon (aka Dennis R. Miller)
…who spent 25 years completing his novel The Perfect Song.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Written at Writing Workshop 9th January 2010.
Free Writing Exercise: Word prompt - hat

She had bought the hat on a whim.

It was not the sort of hat that she would normally have chosen but the price was right. It was made of coarse linen in a floral pattern and drooped, she hoped seductively, over one eye.

With luck, she thought, it would be good for business. Certainly it would stand out. It was a hat, she believed, that would be seen from afar. It would be a like a beacon, and perhaps in time become her trademark. “The Woman in the Floral Hat” had a certain ring to it.

She loosened the top button of her blouse, checked that the seams of her fishnets were straight beneath her short black skirt and walked out, hat on head, to stand at the street corner.

If business picked up, she thought, I might get a second hat just like the first.

The end.

Author: Findlay


If you wait for inspiration, you're not a writer, but a waiter.


Meeting Report

Present: Findlay, Helga, Leanne, Anna, Lorraine, Gayle, Carol

Our first meeting for the year was excellent and we extend a warm welcome to new members Leanne and Gayle.

The writing workshop held was most enjoyable and fun. Some great writing was done and ideas were triggered for future stories and poems. Everyone had a turn at reading out their writing.

You can check out the photos of the workshop on our blog.

The next Exercise Meeting is 13th February 2010. The exercise is to write a short piece, up to 1500 words in length please, using Emotional Body Language. Please see attachment of a ‘Table of Body Language for Various Emotions’.

As we require certain criteria for submitting completed exercises/short stories for critique at our exercise meetings, I have put the requirements on Google Docs and Spreadsheets for easy reference.

Please see the link, username and password in the email signature below.

Anna will be choosing the writing exercise for the March Meeting.

Findlay will be submitting a piece of his writing from the workshop today to be posted on our blog.


Many of you will remember that we have spoken about establishing a small library of our own consisting of books and magazines on writing for our members to borrow. Findlay has kindly offered to be our librarian. Thanks, Findlay that’s great! More updates on the library still to come.

Lorraine has compiled two files for future anthologies. They are ‘Template for Stories’ and ‘Preparing a Story for Submission to a Publisher’. Both will be extremely helpful when we next do an anthology. The ‘Template for Stories’ we can use for any stories that we write as of now if we wish. I know I’m going to. Thank you very much, Lorraine.

You can also view these two files on Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

Happy writing to all of you.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

WRITING EXERCISE - Reveal Character Through Body Language

Write a short piece, up to 1500 words, using the above exercise.

The following is a table of body language for various emotions. Think of ways you can use some of them in combinations with dialogue and narrative.

To Convey Use
Anger/ aggression - Making the body big (hands on hips with elbows wide, standing upright and erect with the chin up and the chest thrust out, legs may be placed apart), facial signals (disapproving frowns, pursed lips, sneers, snarls, jaws clenched, staring and holding the gaze for a long period, squinting with constricted pupils, nostrils flared, curled lips), gestures (shaking fists, whole arm sweeps, pointing finger, exaggerated movements, slamming closed hand on table, handling objects roughly, fists clinched)

Anticipation - Rubbing hands, licking lips.

Apprehension, anxiety, nervousness - Locked ankles, pacing, clearing of throat, exhaling audibly, fidgeting, jiggling money or keys, tugging ear, wringing hands, adjusting tie, clutching object tightly, pacing, scratching, rubbing arms.

Boredom, lack of interest - Distraction (looking anywhere but at the person who is talking. Doodling, talking with others, staring around the room, playing with objects on desk), repetition (tapping toes, swinging feet, drumming fingers, repeatedly looking at watch or wall clock, picking at clothes), tiredness (yawning, whole body sagging as individual slouches down in seat or leans against a wall, face appears blank, head resting in hand, eyes downcast, sitting with legs crossed and foot kicking slightly).

Close minded, non-receptive - Arms or legs (arms folded, legs crossed in 11 position, when legs are crossed but arms are not, it can show deliberate attempts to appear relaxed. This is particularly true when legs are hidden under a table.), head (looking away, head may be inclined away from the person and may be tucked down, frown).

Confidence, superiority - Sitting with hands clasped behind head, legs crossed; brisk, erect walk with head held high, good eye contact,

Deception, lying - A deceptive body is concerned about being found out, and this concern may show anxiety (sweating, sudden movements, minor twitches of muscles around mouth and eyes, fidgeting). To avoid being caught, there may be various signs of over-control, such as signs of attempted friendly body language (forced smile - mouth smiles but eyes do not, jerky movements, oscillation between open body language and deceptive body language), touches face, hand over mouth, pulls ear, eyes down, shifts in seat, looks down and to the left, avoids eye contact. Palms hidden
Defiant - Standing with hands on hips, frowning, hard stare.

Dejection - Walking with hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, eyes downcast.

Disagreement - Turns body away, leans further back in chair, shakes head side to side.
Doubt, disbelief Looking down, face turned away, rubbing eye, rolling eyes, touching or slightly rubbing nose.

Eagerness -Sitting (feet under chair, legs open), Standing (on toes).

Evaluation, thinking, making a decision - Hand to cheek, stroking chin, steepling hands, sucking glasses or pencil, looking up and to the right, index finger to lips, legs crossed in 4 position, slightly raised forehead with slight lines across it, pursed lips.

Exasperation - Eyes rolled up, frown

Happiness - Smiling, shoulders back, head held high, wink.

Impatience - Tapping or drumming fingers, shifting from one foot to the other.

Indecision - Pulling or tugging at ear or hair, cleaning glasses, biting lip, pacing, fingers to mouth.

Insecurity, lack of self confidence - Biting nails, patting or fondling hair, adjusting tie, palm up handshake, minimum eye contact.

Pain - Grimacing, flinching, drawing hand back.

Power, authority, dominance - Handshake (grabs palm firmly, palm down, pulls other character in and holds his elbow with left hand. Places hands behind back). Touching. Touching can be threatening and is used to demonstrate power (pats shoulders and back, guides people with a palm in the small of their back, greets them with a hand on the back, touches them on the elbow or other safe area). Gesture (beat with a finger, a palm, or even a fist when talking.) Walking (walks with exaggerated swinging of arms. Kinks elbows outward to make the body seem wider. Slight swagger. When walking with others, walks in front of them. When going through doors, if going to an audience, goes first. If going from an audience, goes last guiding others through door). Other (leaning back and placing both hands behind the neck, hands on hips, feet on desk, standing while other is sitting).

Readiness to leave - A ready body is poised for action. Pointing (any part of the body may be pointing at where the character is thinking about—another person or the door. The body part doing the pointing may be as subtle as a foot or as obvious as the whole body leaning. Eyes may also repeatedly flash in the intended direction.) Tension (body is tensed up and ready for action. If sitting, hands may hold onto armrests in readiness to get up, legs are tensed ready to lift the body. Things in the hands are gripped. Attention is away from everything except the intended direction.) Movement (movement is in preparation for further movement—legs uncross, hands grab bag, straightens clothing, buttons jacket. The whole body leans in the intended direction.)

Respect and interest - Maintains good eye contact, tilts head to one side or the other, nods, leans forward, high blink rate, open feet, arms behind back.

Readiness to agree - Closes papers, puts pen down, hands flat on table, nods head up and down.

Romantic interest - Eyes (Initially, from a distance, a person may look at the person of interest for slightly longer than normal, then look away, then look back again for a longer period.) Preening (What is basically being said is I am making myself look good for you—tossing of the head, brushing hair with hand, polishing spectacles, brushing or picking imaginary lint from clothes.) Self-caressing (stroking arms, leg, or face. This may either say “I would like to stroke you like this” or “I would like you to stroke me like this.”). Leaning (Leaning the body toward another person says “I would like to be closer to you.” It also tests to see whether the other person leans toward you or away from you. It can start with the head by a simple tilt. This may be coupled with listening intently to what the person is saying.) Pointing (A person who is interested in another person may subtly point at him with a foot, knee, arm, or head. It says “I would like to go in this direction.”). Other (sensual or dramatic dancing, crotch display in which legs are held apart to show off genitalia area, faked interest in others to invoke envy or hurry a closer engagement, nodding gently as if to say “Yes, I do like you.”). Touching (Touching may start with “accidental” brushing, followed by touching of “safe” parts of the body, such as arms or back. Caressing may start in the safer regions and then stray (especially when alone) to sexual regions.)

Sincerity, openness - relaxed Arms (not crossed, person may be animated and moving in synchronization with what is being said. Palms held slightly up). Legs (not crossed, often are parallel. May even be stretched apart. Feet may point forward or to the side or at something or someone of interest). Head (may be directed solely towards the other person or may be looking around. Eye contact is likely to be relaxed and prolonged.). Clothing (jacket open).

Stunned - Wide-eyed, stone still, hand to chest with fingers spread, gaping jaw.

Submissiveness - Body (Hunching inward to reduce the size of the body, arms held in. Crouching position may be taken, with knees slightly bent). Head (head and chin down, avoids looking at other person). Gestures (hands out and palms up shows that no weapons are held, a common pleading gesture. When the submissive person must move small gestures are often made. These may be slow to avoid alarming the other person, although tension may make them jerky).

Surprise - Rapidly raised eyebrows

Tenderness - Stroking, touching, lips parted.

Unhappiness - Hunched shoulders, staring at floor, head hangs forward and down. When seated, body tends to slump. Walk is more of a shuffle. Arms hang limply by side.

MEETING 9th JANUARY 2010 - Writing Workshop

Here we are deep in concentration, the creative juices flowing!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.

Groucho Marx

Monday, January 4, 2010


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

Present: Lorraine, Anna, Andy, Findlay, Carol

Apologies: Helga, Yolanda

Our December meeting although only small in attendance was a great meeting with good feedback given on the exercise set (story starting in the middle of things). This exercise was intended as a starting point for the One Book Many Brisbane’s competition. Good luck to those who decided to enter.

Anna read out her delightful children’s story ‘Shnaily And The Berry Patch’, which we all enjoyed immensely. Good work, Anna.

Each of us had brought something along to eat for the pre Christmas meeting. As a result, we had enough food to feed an army plus plenty of tea and coffee.