Hey there! So, you want to write a one-person show? You’re in the right place! And if you’re not in the right place, well, maybe you’re in the wrong place. But let’s assume you’re in the right place.

Now, let’s talk about Part 6: Kill Your Darlings. No, not literally. We’re not advocating for any murderous activities here. But if you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard this phrase before. It means that sometimes, the things we love most about our writing are the things that need to be cut. Ouch.

I know, it’s tough to let go of the parts of your writing that you’re most attached to. It’s like saying goodbye to a really cute puppy that you’ve raised from birth. But sometimes, that puppy just doesn’t fit into the rest of the story. And that’s okay.

For example, let’s say you wrote a really funny joke about a giraffe who walks into a bar. Hilarious, right? But if your one-person show is about your struggles with addiction, that joke might not fit. Sure, it’s funny, but it’s not relevant to the story you’re trying to tell about alopecia. So, you gotta cut it.

I once wrote a 75-minute mockumentary about stand-up comedy. It was my pride and joy, my baby. But when I showed it to a friend years later, he recut it down to 40 minutes. And you know what? It was better. There were 30 minutes of pure self-indulgence that I couldn’t see at the time. But with some distance and a fresh perspective, I was able to let go of my darlings and make a better product.

So, be honest with yourself. What’s in your writing because it’s truly brilliant, and what’s in there just because you love it? What’s relevant to the story you’re trying to tell, and what’s just a distraction? And most importantly, what can you cut to make your writing even better?

Remember: it’s better to kill your darlings than to let them kill your show.

Need help figuring out what to keep and what to cut? I’m help people create killer shows. Book a free consult if you’re serious (about being funny and powerful on stage).

Alicia Dattner

Comedian and Creatrix Alicia Dattner is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning performer who loves to help others use the power of humor to transform their lives and write a new unfolding story for the world.


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