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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Newsletter - April 2010

In this issue:
Minutes of meeting – Exercises Group
A few of the points -
Lorraine - news
Contributor to blog for April
Exercise for May
Guest Speaker – reminder
Meeting Report – Novel/Short Stories
Blog Posts for Novel Writers
Meeting Dates

April 2010
Volume 1, Number 3

Meeting Fairfield Writers Group, 10 April 2010
Exercises Group

Apologies: Rachel, Gayle, Rosemary

Present: Helga, Anna, Lorraine, Yolanda, Carol

· Chairing this meeting: Anna

· Lorraine – news: Lorraine’s children’s book, ‘Melanie’s Easter Gift’, is to be marketed in America for both their Leukaemia Foundation and Children’s Cancer Foundation. That’s excellent news!

· Assignment this month: Two Portraits at the Art Gallery
This assignment was different from the usual exercises we have done in the past
wherein it was visual with the two portraits to write about. Some members had done
a little research that added to the interest immensely. This exercise made a nice
change from the usual.

· Yolanda read out her piece of writing “The Girl in the Mirror” in response to this month’s exercise.

· Helga to submit her writing of Two Portraits at the Art Gallery to FWG’s blog.

· Lorraine’s exercise for May: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (An Exercise in Characterisation)

· Exercise for June: to be chosen by Anna

· I reminded everyone interested in attending to put their name down at the library desk for the Guest Speaker, Estelle Pinney on 22 May 2010 @ 10.30 am. I urge everyone else to do the same. I think it will be a great event and also a good opportunity for us to promote our writing group and perhaps attract some new members. Helga is producing flyers and bookmarks to hand out on the morning. Thanks Helga.


Meeting Fairfield Writers Group, 24 April 2010
Novel/Short Stories Group

We had an enjoyable meeting yesterday. It got off to a late start due to some late arrivals, but there were five present: Karen, Anna, Rachel, Pam and Lorraine. Anna chaired the meeting and Lorraine took minutes.

Karen presented the first part of a children's story targeted at an as yet undecided age group, but intended to be enjoyed by adult readers as well. She has been studying C.S. Lewis and seeking to emulate that style. The piece was educational as well as entertaining.

Lorraine presented a scene from Chapter 4 of her novel, I Might Have Been Me;

Anna has started an as yet unnamed novel about a woman writing in her diary and the beginning showed great promise. She hadn't yet decided exactly what the story would be about, and appreciated some contributions of ideas for developing the story, naming the work, and defining the central character. The style was fresh and entertaining.

Pam elected not to distribute her work for comment at the meeting, but chose to pass out copies for reading and comment afterward. She is working on a magazine article.

Rachel presented a sci-fi piece inspired by the assignment for May.

The meeting continued until 1:10pm as the critiques were all very detailed and extremely helpful. Although everyone was tired and desperate for a cuppa by the end, I think the general consensus was that the meeting was very productive.


PS I just wanted to add that there are two very good articles on FWG’s blog about novel writing. One is called ‘Guide to Literary Agents – Successful Queries: Agent Ginger Clark and ‘A Match Made in High School’. The other post is called ‘5 Tips for Instantly Improving Your Novel.’ They are worth checking out.

Also a big thank you Lorraine for writing the Novel/Short Stories report this month.

Happy writing everyone.


Next Meeting Dates:
Exercises Group – 8 May 2010
Novel/Short Stories Group 22 May 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quote for the Week

 You don't write because you want to say something' you write because you've got something to say.

                                      ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

(Photo by Salvatore Vuono )

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Portraits at the Art Gallery - April Homework Completed by Helga Parl

Josephine Muntz-Adams, an Australian artist, lived from 1852 to 1949. At thirty years of age, she was the first female artist to be presented in the Queensland Art Gallery’s collection.

We know that it was the mother of the artist who sat for this portrait. We also have a fairly good reason to believe that she was not as poor as the painting suggests.

In fact the portrait shows a carefully staged scene to depict a particular sentiment. It’s an allegory of Care.

The design is well balanced, with the focus on face and hands. The colours are sombre with just enough variations in tone to flesh out the figure and convey perspective and atmosphere. Every detail is precisely drawn using almost undetectable brushstrokes and layers of glazes.

The woman is reading a letter, perhaps written by her wayward son. She worries about his well being but all she can do for him is knit a pair of socks.

The white cap repeats the colour of the letter. It indicates her virtue, which is enhanced by the light in the background. This could be interpreted as her faith in God and that all will be as it is ordained.

These days, allegorical pictures, such as Care, Love, Anger, Hope etc. are not very popular. But it is an extraordinarily fine work of this genre.

I think that this portrait will withstand the test of time, even though its initial aim will be forgotten.

Portraits will always convey more than just a likeness. These days they meant to reveal the sitter’s personality, as well give the onlooker some sense of the artist’s approach to his craft. Imaginary sentiments are seldom depicted, if at all, in a modern portrait.

A typical example for this new trend is Ernestine.

Sam Fullbrook, the artist, belongs to the avant guard of modern portraiture. He is well presented in many Australian Art Galleries. The portrait of Ernestine Hill justifies the high regard in which he is held by his contemporaries.

During the 1940s and 1950s Ernestine Hill was one of Australia’s most popular writers, known for her brilliant travel writing and well researched historical romances.

Fullbrook captures her outlook on life by using his unique loose brush stroke and setting her on an almost invisible chair. She does not seem to need any props.

The design is not dissimilar to that of Care.

But Ernestine sits straight and gazes self-assuredly at the viewer. With her super-red lips, short cropped dyed hair she demonstrates her independence; though the dress and gloves are remnants of what fashion prescribed. She is totally at ease with her appearance, and seems to care little about what people might think of her.

In my opinion this second portrait is a very good example of what modern art can do.

Although the women in both pictures belong to the same age group, they represent two different eras. Perhaps, when you gaze at those two portraits, you’ll get a little glimpse of the age-old struggle of women to become equals in a male-dominated society.

Author: Helga

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writing Exercise April 2010 - proposed by Helga

Pretend that you are a volunteer at the Queensland Art Gallery. A group of tourists, who know nothing of Australian art, are asking you to explain to them two dissimilar works that are hanging side by side on the wall:
Use your imagination and tell them anything that springs to mind.   Care by Josephine Muntz-Adams and Ernestine by Sam Fullbrook.

Josephine Muntz-Adam, the artist of ‘Care', was the first female artist to be represented in the Queensland Art Gallery'. The sitter for her painting was most probably her mother.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Newsletter - March 2010

In this issue:
Meeting 13th March 2010 -
Order for Anthology
Lorraine – News of Interview
Re Poetry Assignment for March
Exercise Set for April
Exercise to be Chosen for May

Meeting 27th March 2010 –
Winner of Motto/Slogan Competition
Report – Shanghai Literary Festival
More news re Guest Speaker
This Month’s Contributor to Blog
Meeting Dates

March 2010
Volume 1, Number 2

Meeting Fairfield Writers’ Group, 13 March 2010
Exercises Group

Apologies: Yolanda
Present: Anna, Pam, Lorraine, Andy,
Rosemary, Carol and first time attendee: Rachel

· Chairing this meeting: Anna

· Lorraine had received an order for copies of the Anthology from NSW – however had not yet received payment. When contacted NSW provided details of a cheque sent for payment – said cheque has not been received.

· Lorraine – news: Lorraine was interviewed by a company from the US – the interview was published online. To read the interview go to http://www.ravensheadservices.com/lorraine_cobcroft_interview.php

· Assignment this month: Poem - ‘Looking in the Mirror’

· Poem from Yolanda: Yolanda forwarded a poem for discussion by the group – ‘Spring and Fall’ to a young child by Mr Hopkins, 1880

· Poetry assignments: it was agreed that as well as handing out copies of poems to be read, authors to read out their piece aloud ( or nominate another in the group to read on their behalf)

· To be published on FWG blog: Lorraine’s poem – ‘Advice from the Mirror’

· There will be one newsletter per month and exercises will be sent out separately.

· Exercise for May: Lorraine
. Exercise for April: Helga
Two Portraits at the Art Gallery


Meeting Fairfield Writers Group 27th March 2010
Novel/Short Stories Group
Apologies: Rachel
Present: Helga, Lorraine, Yolanda, Carol and first time attendees: Francesca and Karen

Meeting chaired by - Lorraine

· We had a very good meeting on Saturday where we welcomed Francesca and Karen to our group. Helga and Lorraine brought chapters from their novels. I brought along story No. 4 of my Children’s series. Good feedback was given by everyone.

· Yolanda was able to come to our meeting after suffering ill health for some time. It was lovely to see her back. As always we benefited from her excellent critiquing skills. Thanks Yolanda.

· Motto/Slogan Competition
The winning entry of our competition was submitted by Carol.

Our new motto is ‘Working With Words’ and will appear wherever our logo is shown.

· Report - Shanghai Literary Festival
Fifty one authors from twenty countries presented at the eighth annual Shanghai Literary Festival that closed today ( March 19).

The Festival, held over three weeks from March 5 attracted novelists, would be novelists, poets, journalists, intellectuals, historians and travel writers from many parts of the world and from throughout China.

There were four or more sessions held each day over the three week period and these included literary lunches, panel discussions, workshops, sessions for children – and more.

Some of the authors featured included Robert Dessaix (Australian writer, broadcaster, essayist and translator), Junot Diaz( Pulitzer Prize winner ), Tash Aw (Whitbread Young Novelist), Les Murray (Australian poet) and Linda Jaivin.

Findlay, one of our Fairfield Writers Group members, attended several of the fifty-seven Festival events.

Findlay, who is still in Asia reported today that he was amazed at the emphasis in some of the sessions on the need for today's authors to self-promote as publishing houses reserved almost all of their marketing and publicity funds for perhaps two or three of the big name authors like Dan Brown or J K Rowling.

One author Kristin Bair O"Keefe, an American living in Shanghai, was particularly forceful on the question of marketing and promotion, Kristin (author of "Thirsty" about a Croatian woman in an abusive marriage) gave an excellent presentation entitled "The Art of Shameless Self Promotion". She told how she used her own money for a seven week book tour of the US East Coast, hired a publicist at her own expense, and went to extraordinary lengths to sell her book and get herself known to the publishing world.

She reckons she spends up to two hours a day now chatting on Twitter, Facebook and other websites in her bid to get herself known to the reading public, She also places great store on networking with other authors and those involved in the literary world.

Findlay will provide further details at one of the FWG's meetings in May when he returns to Australia.

· More News Re Guest Speaker
Great news! Fairfield Library has booked a guest speaker for Saturday, 22nd May 2010 at 10.30 am with our writing group in mind. The speaker will be well known Brisbane author Estelle Pinney. She will be talking about when she started writing and will give us practical and motivational advice. I’ve met Estelle before, as well as reading a couple of her novels, and I’m sure you will find her talk interesting and helpful.

I was told by the library to make sure our members put their names down early to ensure their place, as the talk will be advertised to other groups and the general public.

Next Meetings:
Exercises Group – 10th April 2010
Novel/Short Stories Group – 24th April 2010

Until then, happy writing everyone.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Short Story: Waiting by Anna

An exercise completed on 'Emotional Body Language'


The queue hadn’t moved for five minutes. Looking at my watch impatiently I could only wait ten minutes more, before I had to go back to work. I saw there were another ten people behind me and still five people in front of me. I was really getting annoyed! Surely they could put another person on at the cashier, can’t they see there is a big line forming. People were not moving, it seemed to be endless! As I tried to see what was going on up the front, I noticed a little old lady was at the checkout putting her groceries onto the counter one by one. She looked frail. She must be at least eighty I thought.
One can of soup, five cans of cat food, one carton of milk and one loaf of bread. That was all she bought. As she finally put down the last item, she started searching through her bag. It seemed like another ten minutes before she found her purse. Opening it, she took out the coins and began to count them. She squinted to see the amount on the screen and recounted the coins again. I couldn’t hear what she was saying to the cashier but I knew what she was feeling. She was trembling, her voice was low and she sounded teary. I couldn’t quite see what was going on but the people in front of me were whispering. Catching a few words I knew I was right. The poor lady didn’t have enough money to pay for her groceries.
My heart went out to her.
She stood there hunched, turning around to see the huge queue behind her. Blushing, you could see she didn’t know what to do and by the harsh look the cashier was giving her, the little old lady wasn’t getting any help from her. “Well I am not going to let this poor woman stand there embarrassed like that” I thought, making my way to the front of the line. I could hear comments of annoyance as I pushed my way up the line.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” the man second in line growled at me, as I stood next to the lady.
“I’m here to help this lovely lady and if you were half decent you would have stepped up and paid for her bill,” I growled back, as he looked at me half shocked. For a five foot petite woman I had one ferocious roar.
“Yeah, she’s right” and “Good on you”, were the responses from the rest of the queue.
“How much does the lady owe?” I said, as I opened my purse. Paying the bill I looked at the woman who was struggling to speak as tears trickled down hers cheeks.
“Thank you,” she whispered, as I gave her a hug. Straightening up to her full height, she hugged me back with such strength that it surprised me for a moment. Looking at her there was no need for her to thank me her smile and the joy in her eyes was gratitude enough.

Author:  Anna