Friday 17 May 2019

3.00 pm – 3.30 pm
Registration/ Afternoon Tea

3.30 pm – 5.00 pm

Kick Start your Writing:
Facilitator: Roby Aiken
Roby Aiken takes you through a practical nine step 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!

From the Writer’s Toolbox – Skills and Devices to Engage the Reader
Scenes up close!
Facilitator: Wendy Haynes
Pull apart the elements of what makes a scene effective, using a selection of techniques, in this interactive workshop. You will build a picture to engage the reader, look at applying strong Point of View (POV), add dialogue that is only recognisable to a particular character, select a character type and determine why it is important, and embed effective character moments to keep the reader turning the page. Participants can send a scene to Wendy for comment prior to session (writingforkeeps24@gmail.com by 20th April)

5.30 pm – 6.00 pm

6.00 pm – 8.30 pm
Optional Barbecue*separate payment
Chill Out Café, Coffs Harbour Community Village. Mingling event. $25

Saturday 18 May 2019

9.00 am – 10.30 am

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.
Keeping the Mystery in your Writing
Facilitator: Desley Polmear
Here’s a chance to create characters, a murder, a setting, and a motive. This will be a fun session with mystery writer, Desley Polmear, and everyone will leave with a short story.
Imagination begins with the writer, and finishes with the reader. 
In every story there is conflict, climax and a resolution. You will explore these in your stories and show that we each have our writing style: our word choice, tone, syntax and voice.
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.

10.30 am – 11.00 am
Morning Tea

11.00 am – 12.30 pm

Creating Picture Books for Children
Facilitator: Illustrator, Penny Pratley
Getting started - Subject / Character / Story / Research
Word Count - Beginning / Middle / End
Pages & Spreads - Planning your book
Keep It Simple - Don’t forget the pictures
Submit - Research who
publishes what
Winner - Making it through Acquisitions
What comes next - Publisher / Editor / Illustrator / Marketing / Online presence
Not just Poetry: Creating Imagery in your Writing
Facilitator: Gill Goater 
The techniques poets use will be helpful for anyone who’d like to lift their poetry or prose to a higher level. In this workshop we’ll look first at how to create lively imagery followed by a written exercise using a template to write a poem or evocative prose piece.

Conversation groups for sharing ideas:
1.     Writing about family. The joys, laws and pitfalls
2.     What’s your problem? Where’s your writing stumbling block?
3.     Story telling circle

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm
Book Launch: Desley Polmear: Shattered
1.30 pm – 3.00 pm

The Hero’s Journey:
Facilitator: Carrolline Rhodes
Hollywood knows that the way to box office blockbuster is to base its screenplays on the hero’s journey, which is said to be the basis of all storytelling. In this practical workshop Carrolline will demonstrate its effectiveness by presenting immediately recognisable examples that range from film to fairy story. It will bring you the tools to create memorable narratives as well as insight into what it means to be human; many will find this workshop profoundly spiritual.

Note: The Hero’s Journey and Flash Fiction (Sunday 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm) in combination are a master class in writing fiction.

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.
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.

3.00 pm – 3.30 pm
Afternoon Tea
Book launch Guy Hall:
Ribbons in the Wind
3.30 pm – 5.00 pm

Writing for Competitions Facilitator: Leonie Harrison
Writing competitions can be an adrenaline rush for your writing or they can leave you feeling like the proverbial deer in the headlights. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Join Leonie, serial competitor, as she guides and skills you through the maze of writing competitions for short story and flash fiction and explains how competitions can help to hone your writing skills. Key points include: why enter; the challenge of writing to a deadline and strict criteria such as word length and key words/phrases/themes; free versus paid entry and keeping track of your entries.
Continuation of session above:
Nailing your Story and Your Pitch
Facilitator:  Laurel Cohn

Igniting your Reader’s Curiosity
Facilitators: Wendy Laharnar and Rosalie Skinner
An action packed, practical session considering seven ways to ignite your reader’s curiosity so that he/she is drawn into your story and trapped! The group will work on examples that excite our unique creative spirit and have fun with lateral thinking.
Participants should bring along:
  • A 5 star rave review, written by you, of the novel you yearn to write.
  • A list of first lines that sparked your curiosity.
6.30 pm – 11.00 pm
Optional Dinner*separate payment. Park Beach Surf Club $35.

Sunday 19 May 2019

9.00 am – 10.30 am
Manuscript appraisals:
Laurel Kohn* separate payment and pre-bookings

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!   
Conversation groups for sharing ideas:
1.   Humour in your writing
2.   Writing about sex/personal relationships
3.   Travel as inspiration – more than just the touristy sites

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.

NOTE: These two workshops Writing from Life 1 and Writing from Life 2 are independent of each other.
10.30 am – 11.00 am
Morning tea

11.00 am – 12.30 pm

Making your Characters Come to Life
Facilitator: Yvonne Kachel
Develop your character in words and then act out the character. It will allow you to see your character through the eyes of the reader and the group. It could be a murderer, a child, an aged person, a beautiful heroine, but as the writer you need to develop a character that is believable. You will be able to use humour, suspense, darkness and intrigue. Bring along a short paragraph about your character to work with.
Yvonne is a skilled actress and writer so be prepared for fun!
Writing like a Journalist
Facilitator: Leonie Henschke
Learn how to think like a journalist in your approach to blogs, publicity, short articles for newsletters and magazines and even your family Christmas letters and emails!
Number one tip: always put the most important information in the first line.

Real Life as a Basis for Fiction
Facilitator: Lisa Milner
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. This practical and inspiring workshop introduces you to ways that you can use real experience and research to bring inspiration and authenticity to your fiction.

12.30 pm - 1.30 pm

1.30 pm – 3.00 pm

Writing for Young Adults
Facilitator: Fiona McDonald
Join noted children’s and young adult fiction author (and dragon lover), Fiona McDonald in a fantastical and fabulous exploration of what works for each age group.
·       a brief introduction to the world of YA fiction
·       some warm-up exercises in getting the right voice for the audience
·       plotting a novel opening to hook the reader
·        general discussion at the end of the session

Flash Fiction:
Facilitator: Carrolline Rhodes
Hemingway is credited with writing the following six-word story (although authorship is disputed): For sale: baby shoes, never worn.  Flash Fiction - which ranges from extreme brevity up to 1,000 words - has become the flavour of the moment and there are many competitions that offer worthwhile prizes. This workshop isn’t about prize money, although that’s a good spinoff. It is about telling compelling stories that are like a vodka shot: they have punch. If you long to write fiction, but struggle, this workshop will bring you the insights you need to succeed.
Note: The Hero’s Journey and Flash Fiction in combination are a master class in writing fiction.
A Plan of Writing Action for the Future
Facilitators: Rosalie Skinner and Wendy Laharnar
Keeping up our level of enthusiasm for writing is the objective after we leave a weekend such as Grassroots. What works for you? Critique groups, beta readers, writing sites and writing meet ups (online and face-to-face). We will be looking for what participants feel they need and if possible, create solutions from the Grassroots group.

3.00 pm – 3.30 pm
Afternoon Tea

3.30 pm – 4.00 pm

Wrap up Panel:
Discussion Points: why join a writers’ group

Your questions

Close of weekend


  1. Do you have to book in to the workshops, or is it first in, best dressed?

    1. Book in when you register for the weekend. The spaces for each workshop are limited.