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.
Due to popular demand, QWC will be running more classes in the Year of the Writer series in the latter half of 2010!
Express Year of the Novel with Kim Wilkins
Challenge yourself to complete the ultimate writing journey in Express Year of the Novel. This six-month intensive masterclass will push you to finish your novel, overcome writing blocks and, most importantly, to keep writing. Your tutor will provide feedback on 10 pages, and individual masterclass sessions focus on elements of the novel. QWC will set up an online group for your class so you can keep in touch, share milestones and give encouragement between classes.
Where: Room 1A Level 1, State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane
Cost: $595. Exclusive to QWC members. A non-refundable $295 deposit is required to secure your booking with the balance to be paid no later than 14 days prior to the first masterclass.
Year of the Edit with Kim Wilkins
Any author will tell you the first draft is never the last. Novel writing is a long process, and revising and editing is often the biggest challenge writers face. Year of the Edit will help you explore the possibilities in your completed draft. Over five progressive masterclasses you will develop skills in structural editing, expression, grammar, style and group critique. Your peers will provide critique during the series and your tutor will assist in outlining the strengths and potential in your submitted work.
•(Australia) Supanova Pop Culture Expo Sydney - 18 to 20 June 2010. Featuring sci-fi and fantasy guest authors and a writing masterclass. The Dome, Olympic Park, Sydney.
•(Australia) Supanova Pop Culture Expo Perth - 25 to 27 June 2010. Featuring sci-fi and fantasy guest authors and a writing masterclass. Claremont Showgrounds, Perth.
•(Australia) Mildura Writers Festival - 15 to 18 July 2010. Part of the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival. Mildura, Victoria.
•(Australia) Byron Bay Writers Festival - 6 to 8 August 2010. Byron Bay, New South Wales.
•(Australia) Romance Writers of Australia National Conference - 13 to 15 August 2010. Crowne Plaza, Coogee, New South Wales.
•(Australia) Australian Children's Book Week - 21 August to 27 August 2010 - The theme for 2010 is across the story bridge. For information on the winning books and costumes that celebrate characters from children's books see our BCL Book Week page
•(Australia) WA Spring Poetry Festival - 27 to 29 August 2010. Organised by The WA Poets Inc.
•(Australia) Melbourne Writers' Festival - 27 August to 5 September 2010.
Tree Ducklings for Henrietta
A fairy tale by Helga Parl
Mrs McDonald lived in a little house in a leafy Brisbane suburb. Her front garden looked a picture of flower beds and colourful shrubs. Passers-by couldn’t help admiring it. They often stopped, when they saw the little old lady working hard and then complemented her on her efforts. It made Mrs Mac, as she was known in the neighbourhood, very happy. It made it worth her while to get up early in the morning and do all the shores before it got too hot for her, to be outside.
Though her backyard couldn’t be described as being messy, it definitely was not a show case. There used to be a lawn, but many shrubs and a few huge trees had sent their roots from one fence line to the other and had converted the former lawn into a rather scruffy meadow.
It was an ideal place for the half a dozen hens that foraged in there all day.
They were fed corn, greens and kitchen scraps and they given fresh water every day. At night they roosted in a shed, which formed the border to the back fence neighbour.
On most days five of the hens laid one egg in nests easily detected by Mrs Mac. They cackled very loudly until their egg was gathered into Mrs Mac’s basket. They then carried on with their scratching for worms, drinking or just dosing in the shade.
Henrietta, the sixth hen, didn’t want her eggs to be taken from her. She wanted to sit on them until her chicks would emerge.
‘You silly, girl,’ Mrs Mac scolded her. ‘I need some eggs for cooking but most of them are exchanged for your feed.’
Henrietta kept on hiding her eggs in a corner of the shed and never let Mrs Mac know, when she had laid another one.
One day, Mrs Mac had an idea. She purchased a few fake eggs. While Henrietta had reluctantly left the shed to eat and drink, her eggs were exchanged for plastic ones. Mrs Mac smiled when Henrietta returned to her nest. She reasoned that Henrietta was not a dum chuck and would soon realise that there was no life in those fake eggs and hopefully, she then would join her sisters in their carefree existence.
Some days later, Mrs Mac decided to take a walk along the nearby creek. To her surprise she spotted an abandoned native duck’s nest with three eggs in it. They looked as if the ducklings could hatch any moment. Mrs Mac scooped them up, placed them gently under her blouse to keep them warm and hurried home. Henrietta didn’t object when she was lifted from her useless eggs and Mrs Mac had no trouble replacing them with the duck eggs. They were still warm from being nursed by the old lady and Henrietta sensed that this time she would be successful in breeding her own little family.
Sure enough, the next morning, when Mrs Mac opened the shed she found three little ducklings next to Henrietta. The other hens looked suspiciously at the brood but Henrietta was as proud as Punch and led her ducklings to the water trough.
Mrs Mac had prepared special greens and tiny seeds for the youngsters to eat and was more than pleased to have an addition to her flock. The ducklings followed their foster mother everywhere and soon grew into good looking youngsters.
There was one problem though. Ducks need to swim in more than a little dish of water.
Mrs Mack asked her neighbour to help dig a little pond in between the protruding tree roots.
She lined the pond with a big plastic sheet, put in some soil and planted a few water plants. It looked quite artistic and the ducklings loved to spend a lot of time in it. They looked so funny when they put their heads under water and let their behinds poke out into the air.
But while they enjoyed the swim, Henrietta ran franticly around the edge of the pond. She had never learned to swim and was worried that her children would come to grief. Of course, they never did. When they had enough of the water they hopped out of it, shook their downy feathers and followed their mother to find their food.
When they had grown into adulthood, Daisy, Alf and Debby stretched their wings. They somehow sensed the nearby creek and longed to go there.
One lovely morning, Mrs Mac watched in amazement, as the three young ducks flew out of the yard and turned towards the creek, where their forebears had lived for many years before.
Henrietta was sad for a week. But thereafter she laid an egg every day and cackled happily to announce to the world that she was as good a hen as every other one of her sisters. Mrs Mac was happy too. She prepared the chook’s favoured food, spinach and corn, and they all lived happily ever after.
Fairfield Writers Group: Writing Exercise for JUNE 2010
Part One: Journal or Diary Writing.
‘Many people have the habit of keeping a journal or diary where they pen their experiences, thoughts, etc., on a daily basis. Not only it is a great stress relief where you can pour out your feelings and frustrations, this is said to be one of the best creative writing exercise. You can jot down interesting story ideas that come to your mind. You can also fill up your journals with sudden thoughts, dreams that you have experienced, etc.
Write about different people you have met, their body language, the manner in which they talk, etc. Apart from filling these journals with thoughts, it is also important to go through your journal regularly because even a line or a phrase has the ability to trigger an idea for a whole story.’ (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/creative-writing-activities.html)
Exercise 1: For one day write down your days activities. Include what you did; who you saw, how you felt.
Part Two: Short Story.
Exercise 2: Write a short story of no more than 1200 about that idea.
Hopefully exercise one has triggered an idea for a story. If exercise one wasn’t helpful then maybe these examples might be.
Let’s say nothing exciting happened that day. All you did was watch T.V.
You could write a story about how the toilet cistern cracked and your bathroom was flooded. Then the plumber came to fix the toilet and this was the beginning of your love affair.
Or if you were making dinner and the pot you were working over sucked you in and you ended up in another world!
In this Issue:
Minutes on Meeting-Exercise Group
A few of the points-
Marketing of Fairfield Writers Group
Set up of a book club
Exercise for June
Story of the month
Hand over of secretarial duties
NEWSLETTER - MAY 2010 FAIRFIELD WRITERS GROUP
Report: meeting of Fairfield Writers Group, 8 May 2009
Present: Carol, Helga, Rosemary, Findlay, Cecilia (new member).
Apologies: Lorraine, Anna, Rachel, Yolanda
1. Helga has printed a number of A5 sized sheets which advertise the Fairfield Writers Group. They can be distributed at the presentation on 22 May as well as being available to ongoing marketing of the group.
2. Pam’s idea of members sharing their thoughts, from a writer’s perspective, about books they had been reading, was endorsed and it was agreed that this activity could be included in discussion at the coffee shop after the meeting - making it an informal element of the group’s discussion. (Members could highlight passages or aspects of the book which they particularly liked/disliked.)
3. June exercise Anna
July exercise Rosemary
1. May exercise Lorraine
Helga’s story to be placed on the blog this month.
Carol to read aloud her story: ‘Maddie and Mackie go to the beach’.
2. Carol needs to hand over her secretarial duties to other members. She is happy to continue as Treasurer.
The following tasks already have volunteers
Managing the FWG blog
Anna has agreed to take over
Answer any new member telephone enquiries
Anna already has her name as contact; Findlay volunteered to be a contact as well.
Copy and paste minutes of both FWG meeting reports into newsletter template
Rosemary volunteered to take this over from June.
The tasks below still need a person to take over:
Forward Queensland Writers Center magazine, and any other relevant information that comes via FWG’s email address to members. Forward FWG Newsletter to members at end of each month.
Maintain list of members email addresses
Check FWG’s emails every day or so. Email: Fairfield_writers@yahoo.com.au
Answer any prospective new member email enquiries
Email ‘Welcome Letter’ to each new member
Email monthly writing exercise to members directly after the Exercises meeting
Keep Australian Writer’s Market Place Online details for FWG up to date
REPORT: MEETING FAIRFIELD WRITERS GROUP 22 May 2010
There was no Novel/Short Stories Group meeting today. We were treated instead to an author talk by Estelle Pinney, author of Time out for Living, House on the Hill and her latest novel, Burnt Sunshine. The talk was kindly organised by the Fairfield Library for us and was also open to members of the public.
Estelle gave a most interesting talk about her varied paths in life and how she came to be a writer. She also told us how the characters in her books developed.
Estelle is a delight to listen to and all our members enjoyed her talk very much. A few of us bought her books and the library put on a delicious morning tea.
I will write a letter on behalf of FWG to Linda at the library thanking her for organising the talk for us.
Please check out our blog http://fairfieldwritersgroup-queensland.blogspot.com There are some interesting posts on novel writing, literary agents, and a video on show don’t tell, plus more.
If anyone is looking for a publisher please read the following information.
Lorraine has kindly written some information about the implications of some advertisements and offers.
We are seeking quality manuscripts
Are writers in your group looking for a publisher?
If they are, would you please pass this information on to them:
If your manuscript has been polished and you believe it is ready for publication, why not send it into our submissions department for assessment.
We need a letter of inquiry, synopsis and three sample chapters from you to be able to ascertain if the manuscript is worthy of publication. Whether your book is accepted or not, we will always let you know. Sometimes changes may be suggested to help your manuscript have a chance of finding a market.
Zeus Publications have been in the publishing industry in Australia for over 13 years and we know how the industry works. We have a professional team of submissions editors, book editors, graphic artist and marketing publicists who can help you along the way. Most are writers themselves so they understand the writing process.
For information on manuscript guidelines and submission details go to: http://www.zeus-publications.com/new.htm
Seeing you hold your book in your hands is our greatest joy!
WHAT KIND OF PUBLISHER ARE YOU TALKING TO? (A WORD OF CAUTION TO WRITERS SEEKING PUBLISHING DEALS)
by Lorraine Cobcroft
Once upon a time, most published works were printed and marketed by commercial publishers at their cost/risk and the writers were paid royalties on sales.
Is that what you believed? Actually, if you check history carefully, many of the most famous authors of past generations paid for 'vanity press' publication of their early works, and marketed themselves. But it's true that commercial publishers traditionally did take on the cost and risk of printing and marketing many books. They still do today, though to a lesser extent.
The world of publishing is changing fast, and publishers are becoming increasingly reluctant to accept risk, particularly in relation to works from unknown authors. The chances of any unknown writer securing a 'traditional' publishing deal are diminishing rapidly. But writers might receive offers of publication or requests for manuscripts from two types of publisher, and it's important to understand their offering correctly.
1. Vanity publishers: These are publishers YOU pay to print your book. Some help market it to a limited extent. Others only print it. You pay for their services. They take no risk and invest nothing in you.
This group loosely includes the multitude of POD (Print on Demand) publishers who are now springing up everywhere. POD publishing is typically lower cost and lower risk than other vanity publishing, because you can order books as you need them. The per copy print cost is higher, but you don't pay for thousands of books that you might be unable to sell or take many years to sell. They offer a great service for writers, but choose carefully because the quality of their work and their prices vary radically. (Love of Books, Moorooka, is one I highly recommend!)
2. Subsidy Publishers (e.g. Zeus Publications): These publishers SHARE the cost and risk of printing and marketing your book with you. The amount they contribute varies from almost nothing to a considerable portion, depending on the publisher. Depending on the ethics of the management, their offer may be honest and disclose all relevant facts, or may be very deceiving. Many authors are so flattered by an offer that they fail to critically examine the terms and check out the publisher's background and references.
NEVER accept an offer from a Subsidy publisher without expert advice on the contract and verifying their credentials carefully. You can carry out extensive background checks on the Internet quite easily. (Try typing in the name of the publisher followed by words like 'con' or 'sucks' or 'deception'. If they have 'burned' other writers, you'll find the horror stories. Remember, we are talking about WRITERS here! Most will be quick to write about their bad experience!)
Some subsidy publishers offer a brillliant service and they might well give you your first big break. But caution is essential.
Beware, particularly, of publishers who keep changing their name, and/or those with very persistent and aggressive marketing tactics. (There are lots of writers seeking publication. If you are being hounded with an offer, treat it with suspicion!). Some of those I've had offers from and suggest writers should be particularly careful of are Dorrance Publishing, Publish America, and Childrens Literary Agency (a division of Writers Literary Agency).
Type 'beware of vanity/subsidy publishers' into Google's search field when you have lots of time to read about other writers' reports and cautions. I guarantee you will be shocked!
Are there 'good guys' out there in publisher/agent land? Absolutely! (I recommend Wombat Books for Australian Christian writers. They are struggling to get wide market acceptance, but are beyond reproach in their honesty and ethics and will work hard for you.)
Should unpublished writers give up hope of being published? Definitely not!
Persistence pays off. Some of us will get lucky and some will reap the just rewards of hard work and patience. But in the meantime, PLEASE TAKE EXTREME CARE when evaluating offers from POD publishers, electronic publishers, vanity publishers and subsidy publishers. Check them out thoroughly and read the fine print. Demand protective clauses in contracts that limit your risk. Investigate their background thoroughly, by finding people who have worked with them (NOT people they refer - they will be primed to tell you only the good news!).
Note: The writer has had NO experience with Zeus Publications and makes no comment as to their specific business model, integrity or ethics or the merits of any offer they may make. If your manuscript is accepted by them, I would be happy to help you with background research and critical examination of the terms of offer.
Hello fellow writers, Rob Parnel http://www.easywaytowrite.com/ has writen a great article about what publishers look for in manuscripts. Thanks to Lorraine for sending it. Enjoy! Anna :)
Don't be Afraid of What You Don't Know by Rob Parnell
I attended a writer's workshop last Saturday night. (Clearly no rocking out in clubland for me anymore!)
The guest speaker was a successful editor for a well known publishing house. It was fascinating to have so many submission issues confirmed from, as it were, the horse's mouth.
I'll summarize here some of the most pertinent points she made.
First off, she said around 85% of all the manuscripts she received from budding authors were a waste of her time. They were clearly written by people who had never bothered to read guidelines, format correctly or even study basic punctuation, spelling and grammar.
This is a startling statistic. In essence, over 4 out of every 5 writers, in her words, deserve to be rejected simply because they don't bother to research the craft of writing before they start firing off their manuscripts.
Ironically, she said, this makes her job easier. Because, in order to save time, she never reads on if there are simple errors on page one. Why should she? If a writer can't get the first page error free, what hope is there that the writing will get any better?
Presentation is so very important.
Of the remaining 15%, the contenders for publication, the issues were more to do with story and style.
She confirmed to me that originality, though nice, was not often a consideration. Simply because the chances of a writer coming up with something original AND well written were so slim that it could never be a deciding factor.
What interested her most was 'voice' - the nebulous quality she said only the best writers seemed able to master. She said it was apparent that only after the writer fully understood the mechanics of writing (grammar especially) that the voice was able to come through with any degree of effectiveness.
Pet peeves included: the overuse of 'that' 'and' as well as 'had'. She said good writers should be able to spot their overuse and rearrange sentences to avoid relying on them.
She didn't like what she called 'filters'. This was the use of words that distance a reader from the characters. Words like 'felt', 'thought', 'decided' and 'realized' - as well as vague qualifiers like 'very', 'almost', 'nearly', which were to be avoided (read, deleted.)
Also, the old chestnut, "Don't use adverbs," she said, "ever!"
She loathed the penchant of newbies to write long compound sentences where the subject becomes obscured - and the grammar becomes suspect at best. Keep the sentences short and easy to understand was her advice, unless you know exactly what you're doing (which 98% of us don't, she said.)
Most of her job - after reading manuscripts - was editing them for publication.
Her decisions over who to publish therefore were often based upon her assessment of how easy a writer was going to be to work with.
If the manuscript was full of stylistic errors (she reasoned from experience) then the writer was probably going to be difficult. She'd heard the, "It's not incorrect, it's my style" argument all too often - and yes, it generally only came from newbies.
Contrary to myth, most professionals embrace alterations to their work. And compromise makes for a pleasant working relationship.
Towards the end of the workshop you could almost feel the exasperation of the writers. How were they ever going to be good enough for publication, one writer asked.
We were missing the point, she said.
Studying the craft of writing was something she expected writers to do - on an ongoing basis. She wanted well presented and well written manuscripts first, then she looked for good stories told with a strong voice.
Until she found them, she wanted writers to at least look as though they were writing to the very best of their ability.
Don't be intimidated by what you don't know," she said, "but do study and research the rules of writing consistently."
To which she added, "It's the only way to improve - and maximize your chances of publication."