17 June 2015 - FAIRFIELD WRITERS GROUP


FAIRFIELD WRITERS GROUP

G'day folks,

Today, I present my first guest writers group - The Fairfield Writers Group from Queensland, Australia. Wow, what an industrious group this is ...




1.   TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITERS GROUP AND HOW IT BEGAN.

Fairfield Writers Group was formed in 2005 with the aim, through friendship, fun and education and constructive critiquing, of fostering and developing creativity and local writing talent, and building community appreciation of writing and writers.

We started with a few people gathering in the Fairfield library. After a number of meetings, we decided to firmly establish our Fairfield Writers Group. To that end we designed our own logo complete with the slogan 'Working with Words'.


We also designed colourful posters and pamphlets to further awareness of our activities and attract more people






We set up a blog, and later created our own website at www.fairfieldwritersgroupqld.org.




2.   HOW MANY MEMBERS IN YOUR GROUP, AND WHAT IS THE GENDER RATIO?

Member numbers fluctuate a great deal. Some people attend a few meetings, then, stay away. Though some of them may return to us after several months' absence.

We have about 30 registered members -- about 60% ladies and 40% men.


3.    IS THERE ONE PERSON IN CHARGE, OR DO YOU COLLECTIVELY WORK TOGETHER?

We work together, taking turns at chairing meetings. Volunteers willingly act as key contacts, handling inquiries, managing our website and treasury, and setting up group exercises.



WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING IN A WRITERS GROUP?

The camaraderie, and the knowledge that there is always someone available to offer well-meaning advice, emotional support, differing perspectives, and constructive suggestions for improving writing.

4.   WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN A WRITERS GROUP?
Learning to critique constructively and to accept criticism that isn't always as tactful as it might be, and is often too valid for comfort.

5.   WHAT WERE THE MEMBERS IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE THEY JOINED YOUR GROUP?

Member backgrounds vary widely. We have a former journalist, school teachers, an accountant, a writer of technical documentation and courseware for computer software, drafts woman, boiler maker/rigger, executive assistant, house godesses

6.   WHAT IS YOUR GROUP’S GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?

Three story collections published 





and another one, Crime Stories, being published right now, for launch on May 30, 2015.

We run Anthology projects periodically, to give members the opportunity to see their work in print and to learn about the processes of submission, publication and marketing. The programs we pursue to develop and publish short story collections involve months of intense mentoring to help members develop short stories to a publishable standard.


7.   WHAT ARE EACH OF YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

Various members of the group are involved in writing historical fiction, crime, women’s fiction, humour, children’s stories, philosophy and family histories.


8.   WHERE DO YOU MEET, AND HOW OFTEN?

Our group meets twice monthly in Fairfield Library. Meetings begin at 10:30 am and usually end at approx. 12:30. Many participants then lunch together in a nearby cafe.

On the second Saturday of the month, we meet to critique set assignments and study writing techniques. On the fourth Saturday of the month, a group gathers to critique extracts from short stories or novels individual members are working on.




9.   DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHERS WHO MAY BE THINKING OF JOINING A WRITERS GROUP?

Do it! If you can find a well-organized group of friendly, supportive writers, it is a great way to improve your writing skills and build confidence, as well as a rewarding social experience.

10. DO ANY OF YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?

Yes – from time to time


11. DO SOME MEMBERS WORK COLLABORATIVELY ON A PROJECT?

Yes. When we do short story collections, participants collaborate to mentor each other and edit all stories in the collection.

12. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOUR GROUP HAS   RECEIVED?

High commendations from reputable sources


13. HAS YOUR WRITERS GROUP PUBLISHED ANYTHING?

Yes. We have published a series of 3 Anthologies: Beginnings: Queensland Stories (2009); Life's a Roller Coaster (2011); and Changing Seasons (2013)




14. ANY FUTURE PUBLICATIONS PLANNED?

We are currently finalizing arrangements to publish Crime Stories, a collection of 10 stories by six FWG authors. Crime Stories will be launched on May 30, 2015, in the Fairfield Library, commencing at 10 am.




15. WHAT ARE YOUR GROUP’S PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

We are planning a weekend Writer's Retreat to be held in September 2016 at Hastings Point, NSW.

We will also continue to produce story collections, giving members further opportunities to work cooperatively, learn about the submission and publishing processes and book marketing, and see their work in print.


16. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GROUP’S BIGGEST FRUSTRATION?

Dealing, on rare occasions, with members who wanted the benefits of project participation but were unwilling to contribute fairly and abide by basic rules, or who were unwilling to support the group's objectives.

17. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING THE GROUP?

One of our members quit after relocating interstate, but nevertheless still travels to attend our meetings once a month.

18.  HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITERS GROUP?

Sucessful publications, hard-core of regular members and constant improvement in the writing and writing output of members




19. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?

Recognition of writing by a wider audience.  Publication of best sellers.

20. ARE ANY MEMBERS OF YOUR GROUP PUBLISHED AUTHORS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT?

Yes. Several members have published books, which we list in the back of Crime Stories.

Carol Jell has published children's stories, Maddie and Mackie Stories, and a book of poetry, available from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/goldieinoz

Helga Parl has published Pixels, a collection of short stories.

Joe Sheridan has published a historical novel, A Roman Boy, available from www.inspiringbookshop.com

Lorraine Cobcroft has published a children's book, Melanie's Easter Gift, and a biographical work of social history (creative non-fiction) titled The Pencil Case (both available from www.rainbowriter.com or on Amazon.) Lorraine is currently finalizing arrangement to publish Mortgaged Goods, a work of women's fiction.



21.  ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

Our program incorporates organized study using assignments created by members, sourced from the Internet or provided by courseware suppliers. Each assignment is accompanied by explanatory articles on a particular writing topic, eg. characterization, writing dialogue, setting the scene, etc. Each member studies the article and examples, then writes a piece up to 1000 words demonstrating their understanding of the technique. These pieces are circulated among the group and critiqued by each member in turn, following set critiquing rules designed to ensure honest, helpful, supportive and encouraging feedback that builds member confidence.

We often ''pair up'' outside meetings to exchange writing pieces and critique each other's work by email. Membership in the group has led to some rewarding friendships.

The group is grateful to Brisbane City Council and Local Councillor Nicole Johnson for their generous support for our activities, and to the staff at Fairfield Library who provide meeting facilities and extensive support and assistance to stage workshops, seminars and product launches. 



Clancy's comment: Wow. This writers group is not letting the grass grow under its feet. Well done, guys. I wish you all tremendous success; personally, and as a group.

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