Monday, 11 March 2019

Welcome to Grassroots 2019


We would like to invite you to the 2019 Grassroots Writers’ Weekend hosted by Coffs Harbour Writers’ Group at the Coffs Harbour Community Village from the 17 to 19 May 2019. It is a fabulous weekend of hands-on, practical workshops held each year in our region. Starting on Friday afternoon and finishing on Sunday afternoon, the ‘doing’ sessions and conversations are available to everyone from school students to seniors, everyone who loves storytelling. Places are limited so please make your bookings early.

The aim of this weekend is to provide affordable, practical workshops for the beginning, the aspiring, and the published writer. It’s only $25 for the whole weekend with a barbecue and dinner optional paid extras.

Participants will also have the opportunity to have manuscripts and story pitches assessed for an additional fee by well-known editor and manuscript development consultant, Laurel Cohn.

Roby Aiken


Roby Aiken
Roby Aiken is the author of The Traders Series, an epic fantasy trilogy. She has written many short stories, and is currently working on a suspense thriller set in the Australian Outback. She has been a member of the Nambucca Valley Writers’ Group for twenty years, and is proudly their current President. 













Kick Start your Writing:
Facilitator: Roby Aiken
Roby Aiken takes you through a practical guide to make sure your writing resolutions for 2019 stick! Roby has a number of published works and speaks from the experience of knowing what works!
Where do you begin? How do you start? Do you schedule your writing time? Are you a plotter or a ‘pantser’? How many words do you write each day? How many do you need for your WIP? 
This discussion will look at these questions and more, and will help both experienced writers and new writers find out how others write and what works for them. 

Greg Barron


Greg Barron
Crime, terrorism, history, international politics and the wide open spaces of outback Australia are all passionate interests of author Greg Barron. He has lived in North America, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. His books, published by HarperCollins Australia and Stories of Oz Publishing, are gutsy page turners that tell the truth about the world, then and now. Rotten Gods was long listed for the prestigious Ned Kelly awards, and has been lauded as "one of the most sophisticated geopolitical thrillers ever written." Savage Tide was described by ABC Radio reviewer Rob Minshull as: "Both supremely intelligent and written at breathtaking pace."

Camp Leichhardt is the first of his Australian Stories , and was serialised in 2016 to wide acclaim. Rotten Gods, Savage Tide, Voodoo Dawn and Lethal Sky all feature Marika Hartmann, the Australian intelligence agent who won the hearts of readers all over the world.



Writing Historical Fiction


Facilitator: Greg Barron
Make your historical fiction ring true with tips from widely published author, Greg Barron. The authenticity of historical fiction depends on your knowledge and use of historical detail but also your characterisation, your creation of setting and use of language. You must build the world of your characters and make the period and the characters come alive

Elizabeth Bond


Elizabeth Bond
Elizabeth Bond is the copywriter behind Whirlybird Words, and she’s on a mission to grow innovative business in regional Australia, one word at a time.
As a self-confessed word nerd and marketing junkie, she enjoys crafting engaging, strategic and search-engine-optimisation (SEO)-friendly content that helps businesses genuinely connect with their ideal customers. 
She’s been writing professionally since 2003, and has qualifications in media, journalism, marketing and training. She lives on a property by the beach with her two dogs (office managers) in the spectacular Nambucca Valley, NSW.




Marketing for Writers
Facilitator: Elizabeth Bond
Does marketing your work make you tremble? Whether you’re self-published or have a publishing contract, you’ll need more than just a great book.
Having a personal profile helps engage your audience, expand your network and makes you appealing to publishers.
Filled with practical tips, this dynamic workshop will cover: your audience, personal brand, online profiles, social media, networking and more.
With the power of technology, it’s time to start building yours now!    

Michael Burlace



Michael Burlace
Michael Burlace is a newspaper sub editor who is learning fiction writing as he goes. He teaches others to write, edit and rewrite so their work flows and draws the reader along. This method liberates writers from their pesky inner critic and allows them to drop habits that interfere with good writing.
His workshops are fun and full of useful tools and techniques for writing, editing, publishing and promoting works.











Engaging your Reader
Facilitator: Michael Burlace

The most important character in your book is the reader.
How do you get that person to stay in the story all the way from the title to the final lines that wrap it up neatly?
Editor and writer, Michael Burlace, will look at how to carry a reader along with you and what turns them off!
Bring some of your writing. Also bring a novel you've read and love re-reading.

Laurel Cohn


Laurel Cohn 
Laurel Cohn is an editor passionate about the power of stories to communicate. As a developmental editor she has been helping writers since the 1980s prepare their work for publication. She spent five years with one of Australia’s top literary agents and four years as Consultant Editor to the NSW Writers’ Centre before turning freelance. She works with individual writers, publishers and self-publishers, and is a popular workshop presenter. She has a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies. www.laurelcohn.com.au










Nail your Story and your Pitch
Facilitator: Laurel Cohn
In a world of communications dominated by headlines and key words, it is crucial to pitch your project to others concisely. You may be required to give a verbal pitch as well as one in writing or asked for a one-liner or for an extended synopsis. The key to a successful pitch is a clear and fundamental understanding of what it is you are writing and where it fits in the publishing world. This is relevant whether you are just starting out on a story idea of whether you are well under way.  Sounds easy in theory, but in practice, encapsulating your writing project in one sentence, a short blurb or even a 500 word synopsis can feel more difficult than writing a book-length work. This workshop offers tips and tools to help frame your work for different publishing opportunities, and shows how synopsis writing can help you develop your ideas from an early stage. Whether you are applying for a mentorship or grant, entering a pitching competition, submitting work to an agent or publisher, self-publishing, or just beginning your writing journey, your ability to pitch your work well and appropriately plays a crucial role in success.




Graeme Gibson


Graeme Gibson
Graeme Gibson has a background in adult learning, principally in the environmental and   community services sectors. His approach to learning is that that people learn from and with each other, not just from a teacher. He also works as a group facilitator and mediator, getting close to people’s core concerns. Most of his writing is non-fiction with a focus on nature, community, politics and their intersection. He has published essays, contributed to and edited a number of short story collections, and self-published Beyond Fear and Loathing: Local politics at work. This account of local politics and community activism is based on personal experience.
Graeme has been presenting writing workshops, including life story and writing about place, since 2013. These have been mostly in regional areas – he likes to get around. Another interest is Little Literature, poetry or prose responding to or interpreting art, place or events, real or imagined. Graeme and his partner relocated to the NSW northern rivers in early 2016.







Writing from Life 1: Memoir, Biography, Personal Essay - wherever your creative non-fiction takes you
Facilitator: Graeme Gibson
  • Starting/overcoming any blocks
  • Consider voice – active/ passive
  • Openings – finding a hook
  • Contrast narrative (facts) with plot (story)
  • Using sensory language
Bring an idea or an empty slate and see what happens.

NOTE: Writing from Life 1 and Writing from Life 2 workshops are independent sessions not repeats.



Writing from Life 2: Memoir, Biography, Personal Essay – wherever your creative non-fiction takes you
Facilitator: Graeme Gibson
Show, Don’t (Just) Tell Participants should be familiar with the term “Show, don’t tell,” before the workshop: if not, Google it. Bring an idea or an empty slate and see what happens.