You’ve written across a number of mediums including film, television, journals, magazines, books and for the stage. When you started writing, did you envision a career in which you would be writing across different platforms?
In a way, yes! When I finished high school, I was tossing up between studying writing, visual arts or drama. I was equally passionate about all of them, but I had a chat to my brother who’d done a creative writing degree at QUT and he made a good point in saying that writing was the genesis of many different forms of art, so I started there. When I started writing, I envisioned my career resembling something close to the career of my idol at the time, Miranda July, who is very cross platform in her work.
Writing is the genesis of many different forms of art, so I started there.
The mediums you’ve written for each have distinct formatting requirements, storytelling devices and structures. How do you keep across them all, is it easy to switch between mediums?
I have a whiteboard specifically dedicated to deadlines —that way I know what’s coming up so I can prepare well in advance for shifting mediums. Normally, I need at least a week to several weeks of only reading that particular form to reacquaint myself with it. It can be difficult switching between mediums but it also keeps the practice of writing exciting; if I get stuck writing in one form I can take a break from it and just switch to another project.
Are your projects dictated by medium or by story? Do you think of a story first and decide on the best medium for it, or land on medium first?
I work best when I’m given restrictions, so I tend to look at what competitions, fellowships or grants are forthcoming, and what kind of theme or medium they require the writer to work in. Once I have restrictions, I can challenge myself to think creatively and that’s when I start to feel inspired. Generally speaking though, when it comes to my own projects, the story comes to me first. I think the story must always come first because it’s the beating heart of the thing; if you don’t have a strong story, you’re not going to deliver a good piece, regardless of the medium.
In some of mediums you work in you write alone, whereas others are very collaborative. How does your process differ when writing in a group compared to solo writing? Which do you prefer?
I like both equally! Solo writing is fantastic for literary work because it requires you to be introspective and reflective, and having another voice in the room only serves to compromise your own vision. But I also love working in a group, say with screenwriting, because it requires you to completely do away with all ego, learn how to handle feedback, and prioritize what serves the work best. It’s great practise when it comes to self-editing because it discourages preciousness.
Do you have a favourite medium to write for? Are there any you haven’t tried yet that you’re keen to have a go at?
At the moment my favourite is probably screenwriting, but that changes from time to time. Dialogue is one of my favourite things to write and I also love the challenge of communicating big ideas and subtext in a visual way. When it comes to mediums I haven’t tried, I’d love to write a book one day, especially a YA novel. I’d also like to try writing a video game, a musical and an animation.
What’s next for you? What platforms can we access your works on in 2017?
You can see my debut stage play Single Asian Female, which is the first of La Boite Theatre Company’s 2017 season! It’s on from 11 February – 4 March and I’m very, very excited about it. You can read all about it and buy tickets here.♦
Michelle Law is a freelance writer of fiction, non-fiction, theatre, and film. She has won an AWGIE award for her screenwriting and is a recipient of this year’s Queensland Premier’s Young Writers and Publishers Award. Her debut play will be performed at La Boite Theatre Company in 2017. michelle-law.com
Published May 2, 2017
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