We were excited to have the opportunity to interview writer, editor and host Rebecca Shaw for the Milligram blog! Rebecca Shaw is a writer for SBS Comedy, contributing editor for Kill Your Darlings and host of the fortnightly comedy podcast Bring a Plate. She also runs a successful parody account @NoToFeminism on Twitter, which is becoming a book later this year. This year she’s part of the Melbourne Writers Festival kicking off the #Microreview project – 140 character reviews of books!
Q. Your podcast, Bring a Plate, alongside Peter Taggart is a lot of fun, while also tackling some larger issues, including LGBT, feminism and keeping up with issues in the news. How do you find this balance where it works so well; and where did it all start?
It actually all started when we met on Twitter and quickly realised we had pretty good banter and very similar frames of reference. We wanted to infiltrate the ‘two straight dudes talking’ podcast scene, and decided that discussing the issues we care about while keeping it funny (and talking about the 90s obviously) would be a good niche for us.
Q. Your humour and quick wit is apparent in all your writing. Are there any particular writers (or comedians) you particularly enjoy?
Thank you! I am a huge fan of Mallory Ortberg’s writing; I think she is the perfect mix of irreverence and intelligence while being ridiculously funny. Kelly Conaboy at The Hairpin is hilarious, and Reductress has some truly great stuff as well.
Q. Any writing or publishing advice for aspiring writers in the Milligram community?
My best tip is to really tune in to what it is you love to write about, and to know what things make you most angry or passionate or happy. I’ve found that it’s those things that are easiest to write about, and it helps you produce your best work.
Q. Do you have a particular writing process you follow?
When I’ve pitched an idea, I usually start out by writing down, in an extremely vague way, the main points I might want to cover in the article and the general kind of order in which I want to do it. Some writers write in bits and pieces and kind of fit it together, but I just really start from the introduction and write, trying to hit on the points I’ve thought about.
Q. Did you ever receive any writing or storytelling advice (or read a book/saw a speaker) that proved invaluable? And anyone you’re looking forward to seeing at MWF this year?
Probably the best writing advice I have received is that writing is a skill, and so to be good at it you have to keep doing it.
Besides the absolutely incredible people on the lineup at the Queer Literary Salon with me, I would love to see Molly Crabapple and PJ Harvey. I would also love to see Charlotte Wood talk, and I’ll be trying to get to the Late Night Letters and Numbers that has hilarious people like Celia Pacquola on the line-up.
Q. Who are you enjoying reading right now?
I’ve finally taken everyone’s advice and started reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which is now stained with my many tears, so I don’t know if ‘enjoy’ is the right word. I’m also reading some of the old The Baby-Sitter’s Club books on an app on my phone because I’m co-hosting a podcast soon called The Baby-Sitter’s Club Book Club. It’s been a real nostalgia trip.
Q. Do you make writing-related notes on paper or only on your computer?
I mainly use my computer when actually writing, but I will often make initial notes on paper. I am also not a fan of using calendars, so I will generally have a few lists going of upcoming deadlines and dates as well lying around the place on paper.
Q. Can you imagine doing anything other than writing? What would that be?
At this point I really can’t, especially taking into consideration all of the different kinds of writing I want to try. Is professional cat lady a thing? It would be that probably.
Q. Now we have to ask – do you have a favourite notebook?
I haven’t really ever treated myself to a special notebook, but I generally go for a hardcover lined one in muted colours. That is also a description of myself.
Q. And maybe a favourite pen or pencil?
I’m a simple gal, with simple taste. Give me a retractable smooth black ballpoint pen and we’re onto a winner.
Q. Finally, what can we expect from this year’s MWF #MicroReview project?
A whole lot of clever people trying to out-clever each other, resulting in an array of excellent microreviews for you to enjoy.
Be sure to catch Bec at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival: Queer Literary Salon
Moleskine is sponsoring the #Microreview project at the Melbourne Writers Festival, which runs throughout the festival: Saturday 27 August to Sunday 4 September. If you get involved and post a review, you could win a set of the 2016 MWF Limited Edition Moleskine notebooks.