Find your voice
At last, I’m getting close to a final draft of my play Martini Bond. Thought I was there a few weeks ago but it transpired I was nowhere near the final chapter. This has been a long haul. Five months, five drafts and counting. But a writer/colleague reminded me that that was nothing. It can take him years to write a book – the research, the rewrites, the rejections… The hardest thing for me has been the comedy: the laughs, the cries (of the jokes are so bad) and the puns (they’ve had to go).
But I couldn’t have done it without help. And the latest help I’ve had is from Iain Pattison, a former journalist and now an author. He went through my play line by line. “That joke is terrible.” “So’s that one.” “Oh, I heard that one in the Seventies.” “There’s a false ending…” But one thing he did say to me was: “You have a gut instinct for stand-up comedy. You know what makes people laugh. You have to find your voice.” And that was the best thing anyone could have said to me.
I’ve approached the latest rewrite from that perspective. It’s buoyed me up and given me the confidence to ditch the puns and write the kind of jokes I like to tell. Stupid. Observational. Sometimes Topical. Never puns. I found a new kind of freedom of expression. The gags kept coming. Now I’ve got the third readthrough this weekend – this time with all the cast (it’s now written for three, not two) and the director. I’ll make any final edits based on their reactions.
But now there’s one thing I’m sure about: I’ve found my voice.