Writers' Group Announcement by Ester de Boer
Only two of us for writer’s group this month! Megs and I met up at the Redbook Café in Traralgon. Why? Because the coffee is great and, well, it’s a book café- so it doesn’t get better than that. My favourite seats were occupied by a couple of latte-sipping yuppies, whom I eyeballed to discomfort while circling like a shark, waiting for that split second when their designer bums released contact with the upholstery and – BAM! In I Leapt!
While they minced indignantly out the front door, I claimed my territory, spreading out my belongings- bike helmet, notebooks, laptop etc. onto every free surface of table and pouffe within a square metre of my seat, before strutting to the counter and saying airily “I feel like something different… surprise me”. (Yes, I am one of those people, but I promise it’s my one pretentious tendency). Megan had her own complex, allergen-free caffeinated concoction, and we both settled back smugly, occupying the only two lounge chairs in the shop.
It’s been a fascinating evolution of an original idea of Megan’s story, Raymund and the Fear Monster, from the first story and sketches, to editing, reediting… while I’ve sketched and put my own two-bob’s-worth into every version of the text. I’ve felt like the nervous dad, pacing helplessly back and forth outside the maternity ward for our “baby” to emerge.
Megan and I are polar opposites in way of approaching things. She’s an organiser and is great at making connections, using social media for promotion, etc. My brain is a creative idea factory badly in need of a floor manager. While I usually make it my policy not to do projects with friends, somehow this combination seems to work. By December, I’ll finally be able to plan the illustrations. I’m working in just black and white, so I can lean on my strongest skill- drawing.
Raymund is more than just a funky picture book idea. It’s designed to introduce kids to some simple strategies for managing stress and anxiety. They’re methods which I have used effectively with children for close to twenty years working kids with special needs, so you could say that it’s a “social story” in the guise of a super-fun, cool picture book. So keep watching this space!
My two cents by Megan Higginson
Yes! Finally! After much talk and discussion, Raymund and the Fear Monster is getting published.
I tried for an Art Grant last year to obtain the funds to self-publish my story, Raymund and the Fear Monster, and did not get it (I was up against published authors). I looked into crowdfunding (it is a lot of work and I was not sure that I had the energy to put into it to make it work). By mid this year I was not sure if I would ever get Raymund published.
However, each perceived setback I looked at as an opportunity to hone and refine Raymund. I took him to school, teacher friends have read them to their respective classes, and I have read Raymund to various people that I have meet around the creative writing field. Everyone loves Raymund. I’ve taken various suggestions on board to make Raymund as good as it possibly can be. And now, Ester and I are taking the plunge together into the world of self-publishing.
I love Ester's work and I know that the illustrations for Raymund and the Fear Monster are in fantabulous hands.
I am thrilled that it is finally happening and I know that Ester can’t wait to make a start on the illustrations. So, this week, I will be sending Raymund off to my editor for a final look over, before sending the manuscript on to Ester to get started. I am so excited.
So, people, watch this space. Raymund will be arriving (barring any unforeseen circumstances) late next year. Yay!
A monster that eats fear, is terrorising Raymund’s village. Raymund is small and not very brave. Will Raymund be able to overcome his fear, defeat the monster and save his village?
This book has proven strategies to overcome fear.
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