Good morning, you lovely thing! How’s your weekend going so far?
Life takes you to some very strange places. For example, my first play was written in a blind panic over two days because we needed a play to perform for an assessment, and we ended up doing it at the Edinburgh Fringe. A few months ago I sat down in a sulk and started writing a scene that is being performed tonight as part of a new writing showcase. Who’d have thought that having a hissy fit would be so productive?
It’s not as simple as that, of course. Life is full of twists and turns and very confusing states of affairs, all of which combine and conspire to get us places. The scene that’s being performed tonight may have started off as my exorcism of a bad mood, but it’s turned into something very different. The actors have definitely made the characters their own, and the original source of inspiration is all but obsolete.
It can be very difficult to let your ideas change, but most of the time we have to trust that they are changing for the better. As time goes by your attitude changes, you hear other people’s opinions, and you adapt to circumstances. For example, the piece that’s on tonight (and tomorrow and next Sunday, just by the by) is called Irresistibly Drained, which is a reference to a Conan Doyle quotation that sounds a lot more emotionally fraught than it was meant to. When I originally came up with the title I thought it was fine, but as time passes I feel less and less comfortable about it. It kind of sounds like I’ve written a romantic melodrama worthy of Mills & Boon.
Letting your ideas change is something that comes up a lot for writers in particular, because you can imagine a line being spoken one way, but then an actor will interpret it completely differently. Lines that I didn’t realise could be amusing in Chris is Dead (which will be on at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, just FYI) were made hilarious by the actors’ performances, and I loved that.
The main thing about letting your ideas change and develop is that you have no way of knowing how much better it could be. Letting other people make their mark on your work could open it up to all sorts of possibilities, and you might unlock a huge amount of your own potential.
Whatever you’re up to today, have a glorious Sunday. If you’re around in Kennington at 6pm, do swing by and see the new writing festival. Details are here.