If you're an aspiring crime writer, or an emerging or experienced writer in any genre, you might be interested in a course I'm leading as part of the excellent Writing School East Midlands programme this autumn. I'll be taking a look at techniques of crime and thriller writing, like misdirection, surprise endings and unreliable narrators - and how they can be applied to writing in all sorts of genres.
It's probably the first creative writing course I've done where I need to issue a warning that there will be spoilers!
For more details on this or other courses, check out the Writing School East Midlands programme by clicking here.
We're just over a week into the Edinburgh Fringe and I have performed my show Addicted to Fun nine times so far to audiences ranging from seven (on the first day) to 31 (a full house plus one). I'm really enjoying it. I change little bits most days, incorporating ad libs & adding audience suggestions - it's a living thing.
I've also done a whole bunch of shorter spots including fun shows called Shaggers - comedians doing material about sex - and Edinbra, a rotating line-up of female comedians. Next week I add an additional show, because I'm mad. All I Want is a work in progress about adult stuff, like pensions and the menopause.
What have I learned so far?
Audiences are really keen to support the shows in the Free Festival venues and take a chance on comedians they haven't seen yet.
Audiences can be baffling. I did a spot at EdinBra to a pair of lovely but incredibly literal older women, who fired me with questions throughout my set. It broke up the rhythm completely but it was a lot of fun. Afterwards they said: do you remember us from when we came to your show last year? Oh yes. I very much do,
The weather in Edinburgh doesn't get any more predictable with the passing years. It really is four seasons in one day, and generally very humid in all of them. At one point today I got soaked to the skin. Then the rain cleared and there was, briefly, a cool breeze. That was soon replaced by more rain then this afternoon the sun came out and it was glorious.
My feet hurt.
Mother India Cafe does great curry.
It's one of the most annoying things about the Edinburgh Fringe. And yet it's one of the most essential.
I'm talking about flyering - how you cannot walk down the Royal Mile or any street in the Fringe area without multiple people handing you bits of cardboard and inviting you to their shows.
I hate doing it. But I have to do it. I have a really good show that I'm dead proud of. But no one has heard of me. I'm not on the telly. You might like my picture in the brochure or read the show description and think "that sounds interesting." Or maybe you've seen me on Twitter.
But apart from that, I know that almost all the audience members in my show will be there because I struck up a conversation with them in the street and told them about my show. And something about me or the flyer or the description - or maybe all three - sparked their interest.
I don't like flyering. But every day of the Edinburgh Fringe I take a deep breath and get out there to spread the word. If a knackered-looking middle-aged woman runs after you, thrusts a bit of card at you and tells you she's doing a comedy show about sex, booze and anxiety, or some garbled combination of those words, be nice to her. Because that will be me.
So if you're at the Edinburgh Fringe, take my flyer. Come to my show. Take someone else's flyer. Go to see their show. Pick something each day that you hadn't planned to see but you like the cut of the jib of the flyerer.
Thank you. And sorry to be annoying.
The day before my show starts in Edinburgh is always a nervy one. I worry about things like: have my posters & flyers arrived? Will all the sound kit work in my room? Are they expecting me or is it all a huge misunderstanding?
Well, thanks to the superb organisation of the Laughing Horse Free Festival team, I arrived at the Counting House in West Nicholson Street this morning to see my posters already up on the wall, plus the room that will be home to Addicted to Fun all set up and working.
A quick soundcheck, then I got out my BluTack to stick a few more posters up in prominent places (like by the handdryers in the ladies' loos) and I felt as ready as it's possible to be. I'm a little more relaxed than normal because to start with I'm "just" doing the show I did last year - Addicted to Fun. Later in the Fringe I'm adding a second one-woman show at the City Cafe, and that's probably when I really will start panicking.
Anyway. I have a room, some posters, some flyers and a flat to live in. Tomorrow I shall start trying to drag in an audience... and then it will be full-on until nearly the end of August.
If you're interested in coming to my show, you can find more details by clicking here.
It's free entry, but I welcome donations at the end - either cash in the bucket or you can even pay by card as I have a card reader.
I chatted to the excellent Hannah Dunleavy for her podcast The Drink. We spoke about my issues with booze, anxiety, and why I decided to give up drinking completely in 2002.
Click here to give it a listen.
I'm performing Addicted to Fun twice at the Brighton Fringe - on Saturday & Sunday 1st & 2nd June at the Caroline of Brunswick. Entry is free, although I'll rattle a bucket at you on the way out because knowing Brighton it'll cost me about £97 to park.
Come and see me - here's the link with more details.
I'm delighted to say that I'll be performing Addicted to Fun at both the Leicester Comedy Festival and the Brighton Fringe in 2019.
The Leicester Comedy Festival is one of Britain's biggest comedy festivals and takes place in February. I'll be Upstairs at Firebug in the centre of Leicester on Sunday 10th February, at 4pm. Tickets cost £5 in advance or you can pay what you want on the day itself (I'll be rattling a bucket as you leave the show).
Click here for the ticket link if you'd like to book ahead (strongly recommended).
Meanwhile I'll also be doing two performances of Addicted to Fun at the Brighton Fringe on the first weekend in June. I'll be at the Caroline of Brunswick on Saturday 1st of June and Sunday 2nd June at 3.15pm. The shows are part of Laughing Horse at the Brighton Fringe. Entry is free (no advance booking) but as usual I will rattle a bucket and also a card payer at you so that you can pay what you think it's worth...
Thank you to everyone who came to see my show Addicted to Fun at the Edinburgh Fringe - and apologies if you tried to get in but couldn't. I was performing in a delightful but tiny room in the basement of the City Cafe and there were a few days when we played audience Tetris to try to fit in as many people as possible.
I was delighted to get a five star review for my show - you can read it here.
I'm now planning to perform it at a few other venues - look out for a London date this autumn. Plus I am planning to do it at next year's Leicester Comedy Festival.
You can hear me talk about my Edinburgh Fringe show Addicted to Fun on the Standard Issue podcast here. I’m one of four female comedians discussing our shows with Mickey, Jen & Hannah of Standard Issue. Give it a listen!