Author: writenote1

10 things I learnt about the London Book Fair #LBF17

The London Book Fair is the “global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels”. It took place from March 14-16 at Olympia, West London. Basically, it’s a place where publishing professionals gather together to make connections and forge new business directions. It’s also showcase for books of all sorts, from 10kg coffee-table books at 600GBP apiece, to educational books; from commercial fiction to niche publishing. I was in book heaven, at least until practicality kicked in and phrases like “baggage allowance” popped up in my head. I went there not as an author, but as a small publisher (Serenity Press). And, boy, did I learn a lot, from a publisher and an author’s perspective (one of those is that major editors are not interested in your manuscript at this event – they are too busy dealing with agents). Here are 10 things I can tell you: It’s big. Really big. On the day we went to set up, we walked around in circles for ages …

Behind the scenes at a writer’s retreat

I’ve just arrived back in Perth after two whirlwind weeks in the United Kingdom: the first at the Serenity Press Retreat in Crom Castle, Northern Ireland; the second at the London Book Fair, representing Serenity Press (more on the book fair in my next post). For me, the Serenity Press retreat was part of my job (not that I’m complaining about getting to work and sleep in a castle for a week). I was there with my Serenity Press hat on, and that involved getting up early to cook breakfasts, look after everyone in the castle, and lots of organising. Karen, my business partner, was amazing – she acted as driver and grocery shopper, in between being mum to her children who accompanied her to Ireland. But, despite the long days, the retreat was much more than “just a job”. It was a memorable experience that started from the moment I arrived at the castle’s West Wing to await a grocery delivery and meet owner John Crichton, 7th Earl of Erne. After a quick familiarisation …

JASPER JONES, BOOKS TO MOVIES: A Q&A WITH CRAIG SILVEY

Originally posted on Write Note Reviews:
I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to interview Craig Silvey this week. We met at Little Lefroy’s in Fremantle, a place I know well, for an informal chat covering the Jasper Jones movie adaptation to writing processes. Craig is a fantastic guy – warm and generous, despite being tired from weeks of film-related commitments – and I really appreciate him giving me this time. Jasper Jones is one of my all-time favourite books, so I admit it was a bit of a fangirl moment, but Craig had no idea … until I asked him to sign my book.  I was also fortunate to attend an advance screening before the interview and in a word, it’s BRILLIANT. This adaptation had all the feels, all the chills, all the lingering thoughts that accompanied the book.   ? Monique: Tell me, Craig, how do you feel about your journey with Jasper Jones – from idea to novel, to stage adaptation to film? Craig: I’m feeling very hopeful about the release of…

So, last week I wrote a rhyming picture book

Where do your ideas come from? Children (and adults) love to ask this question when they meet authors, not realising that sometimes the answer is not that exciting. And sometimes they are! Last week, a picture book idea came to me in the shower. I do a lot of thinking there – it’s as good a place as any, right? I’d already had the seeds of the character after I finished writing Fergus the Farting Dragon – “What about a bunyip who burps?” I asked my illustrator friend. I filed the idea away for another day, which turned out to be last week. There I was, in the shower, rub-a-dub-dubbing and the beginnings of my bunyip story unfurled in my mind. The night-sounds are creepy – even sweet magpie chirps, But nothing’s as scary as the Bunyip Who Burps. I wrote notes after the shower and thought about it all the way to work – where I scribbled more notes before turning my attention to what I was being paid to do. What initially started …

Six things I want from a writer’s retreat

I’m heading off to my first-ever writers’ retreat at Crom Castle, Northern Ireland in March. In 19 days, to be precise. Am I excited? Hell yeah! I’m also working very hard to convince my husband that this is not going to be a holiday since a) I’m co-running the retreat as part-owner of Serenity Press, b) I’m working at the London Book Fair for three full days straight after the retreat, and c) see a) and b). He’s not convinced. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s in Ireland and we live in Western Australia. And the inside of the castle looks like this: And this: Or maybe it’s because guests include Deborah Burrows, Juliet Marillier, and Sheila O’Flanagan (she’s staying for one night and I’ll be interviewing her). Or it could be the gala dinner … Anyway, my (new) suitcase is out (still empty), my passport is ready, I’ve written a packing list and I may have bought a few new clothes (I’m going to London, after all). For someone who chose …

The ripping point aka re-writing agony

I reached the ripping point last week. Literally and figuratively. I started the week feeling excited and purposeful about the rewriting work I had ahead – killing darlings and adding a few new darlings. I inserted some new character perspectives – and had a great time writing them. One in particular is the antagonist in Wherever You Go and it turns out I love writing her. I ripped out words and sentences and even a few scenes. And then I hit the wall. I felt a bit like this. Like I had nothing left to write or say. Like all my words and ideas were being blown away on the wind. And even if I had any to share, I didn’t feel like it. It had been a hectic week professionally. I was writing marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on one hand, and preparing for a retreat in Ireland on the other. By the weekend – when I have the most free time to write – I was exhausted. At one point the house was empty for a …

Showing up to write

This week I joined a writers’ accountability group. We’re the secret seven – a small group of writers (some published, some not) who are troubled with two issues: PROCRASTINATION and FAFFING. Okay, so it’s really one issue, but still … Each of us has a writer’s goal (or goals) we want to reach, whether long-term (write novel), others are short-term (finish edits), or time-based. And each week we share our weekly goal/s and support each other in our efforts to get there. My short-term goal is to work on some possible rewrites for Wherever You Go, based on suggestions from the first agent I sent it to. I’m working in another perspective and killing some darlings. I’d like to have this finished by the end of February, before I go to a writer’s retreat in Ireland, and the London Book Fair. But it’s so easy to faff about and do all sorts of other things, especially when your thinking is blocked – which often happens when I drag myself out of bed for 45-minutes’ writing before …

Keep going – hardest part of a writer’s journey

‘In writing, the hardest part of the journey is to keep going.’ – LAURIE STEED Author and editor Laurie Steed shared that nugget of writer-ly wisdom with me when he finished assessing a short story I’d written. A week after receiving a “not yet” rejection from an agent, I’m struck by how true those words are. It’s so easy to lose enthusiasm, motivation and confidence when you have a setback. But here’s the thing … you don’t have to. Allow yourself to feel the deflation, pain, sadness, confidence-burst, frustration – whatever it is – but don’t let yourself be knocked over. My rejection was not an outright no. Here’s what the agent said: “You have created very real and sympathetic characters and the world of a small town is terrifically realised. But I felt the novel was far too long.” She made some suggestions about how I could rewrite a few parts (including cutting my dinner party scenes – gasp!), and then said she would be happy to re-read if I wanted to tackle those …

The writer’s struggle is real

“It must be tough, I thought, making it as a writer only to realize your struggle is just beginning.” Malice, Keigo Higashino This week I’ve been reading Malice by Keigo Higashino, a clever cat-and-mouse murder mystery, that is more about the why than the who. But what struck me, even more than the smart writing, were the parallels between my own writing life – indeed, most writers’ lives – and two of the characters. Two novelists, one unpublished and the other already published and an award-winner, have this exchange: ‘I was worried that without any real connections in publishing, I’d have to start sending in submissions blindly and hope for my own new-author award.’ ‘Oh, don’t bother with those. They’re a pain in the ass. Half those things are just luck. If what you wrote doesn’t suit the tastes of the underlings reading the slush pile, your novel will simply get cut in the early stages and never even see the light of day.’ ‘I’ve heard the horror stories.’ ‘Yeah, it’s brutal.’ Malice, Keigo Higashino When you’re at the start of …

#Haiku: Seeds of hope

Haiku inspired by these dill seeds in my herb garden, radiant with afternoon light. At the time, I thought of how words, like seeds, could sow, grow, nurture, inspire, cut, wound and more. Seeds: pregnant with hope on the cusp of a new beginning. What harvest awaits? © Monique Mulligan 2017 What do I want my words to sow? Not just those I write, but those I say. I wrote the draft of this haiku while sitting in a waiting room with a friend at hospital last night. And at the time, I was thinking, ‘Give me words, the right words’ to say to my hurting friend.