I’ve dropped everything to work up to a decent level the first chapter of a novel about a guide dog. I’ve done the story lining for it but nothing else.
It’s got the working title BASKET CASE which I like, but I bet it changes. I’m off on a comedy writing weekend tutored by Helen Lederer in a couple of weeks and we’ve been asked to pre-submit about 1,000 words. I’ve been mulling over this for ages; whether to email something which I know works and then talk about work in progress when I get there or pop in something rough round the edges. I decided I’d get best use out of the time if we work on something where it’s fluid and needs a good bit of work.
Comedy I’ve worked on before has been very intuitive. I’m not a gag mule although I can turn an occasional one liner. I like slow burn, subtle and engaging. The very best humour demands a high level of trust. People listening need to believe that you will take them to a place where they will ultimately find laughter. The journey there can, I think, be dark or edgy, light or side splitting but the end is always the same – a shared moment of release.
I like comedy that points at what it is to be a human in all our complexity and insularity. The Two Ronnies, Mapp and Lucia, Inside Number 9, Boy Meets Girl, Big School, Ed Reardon, Old Harry’s Game and anything John Finimore touches… The list is endless.
Revue material I’ve worked on has usually been playful or just plain quirky. It feels very different attempting a much longer piece.
I’m now back working on SLEIGHT OF HAND hopefully the final draft or as it feels today – ‘I-just-want-to-get-this-finished’!
Actually that’s not accurate, just now I’m drinking coffee, talking to you and stroking Connie, who likes it when I settle in one place as she does far better in the cuddles and inane chatter department when I’m working flat out.
I’m having to dig deep for SLEIGHT. It’s now about getting it as good as it possibly can be. That feels like an honour but also a huge responsibility. I’ve learnt so much through this process. Mentoring has beein invaluable. My mentor has kept the focus of the piece amazingly. She has made a very precious contribution.
Now, last gulp of coffee and settle down to Miss Paradise’s preoccupations. Bless her rabbit slippers. Let’s see if we can get these plates spinning!
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