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Creating a Drama in Search of Reviews by Patrick Osborne

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Patrick Osborne

Patrick Osborne

As we all know, book reviews are subjective and we should take them with a pinch of salt. Having said that, we are mere mortals and we crave positive feedback. And while each and every one of us has questioned our ability as writers on the back of some negative review it is still better to hear something, anything, rather than imagining wiry tumbleweed rolling across some desolate literary landscape. If you are like me you could give Sky News a run for their money, checking Amazon, Goodreads and other social media outlets on the hour, every hour in the hope that some benevolent reader has taken the time out of their busy lives to post a review. Writing for screen isn’t much better. After jotting down bits and pieces over the years I decided to give the whole writing lark a proper go.

I became a member of Filmbase which used to be located in Templebar and participated in several other courses in UCD and the Irish Writers’ Centre on Parnell Square. I began to study the craft of screenwriting and devoured the information I was given. I love television and films and fancied the idea of having my own work showcased through this medium. I thoroughly enjoyed the process but the one main drawback I found was that the vast majority of your work will never see the light of day mostly due to the expensive production costs and this can be very demoralising. Almost two decades ago I wrote a six-part comedy drama called Baxter’s Boys about a neglected Dublin inner-city community and a dysfunctional pub football team that might just be their only hope! I sent it to the BBC, one of the very few places that will accept unsolicited manuscripts and while I received extremely helpful feedback it just wasn’t for them. I would encourage anyone who is interested in writing for screen to check out the BBC’s brilliant Writer’s Room web page. I decided to rewrite Baxter’s Boys in the form of a novel a couple of years ago and thankfully it has been very well received since its publication in 2020.

The most honest and immediate response I’ve encountered along my journey is writing for stage. It gives you the opportunity to hear firsthand what the audience genuinely think and feel. People can often be reluctant to offer an opinion on a piece of work if it’s contrary to the narrative which is trending on social media platforms and that is a shame. This is not the case for plays however as the audience know their own minds, are caught up in the moment and will let you know, good, bad or indifferent, exactly what they think. I co-founded a small, amateur theatre group called the Four Esquires’ Productions in 2019 and I’ve produced, directed and even reluctantly starred (starred being a huge stretch of the imagination) in a number of short plays which I have written.

My latest play, Bin Wars which premiered in the Gleneagle Culture Club, Killarney at the end of May received a standing ovation and this immediate response was like a booster shot in the arm. It is a darkly comic tale about two neighbours engaged in a war of words over their wheelie bins with devastating consequences. The play is set against a soundtrack of classical music giving the whole thing a kind of operatic feel. I have found that another enormous benefit of writing for stage is the continuous feedback from the actors you are working with. If you are open to suggestions and don’t have an ego then this sort of symbiotic relationship will really enhance your work. I would encourage everyone to have a go at writing and producing a short play. I won’t lie, it is very time consuming and can test your patience but it can be so rewarding to hear rapturous applause and maybe even a standing ovation.

Anyway, I haven’t given up on the screenwriting yet and am currently editing a draft for a feature-length script called No Time For Cowboys which I’m co-writing with Les Martin (actor and co-writer of the feature film Be Good Or Be Gone). I am also putting the finishing touches to my second novel (another dark comedy set in Dublin) and am working my way through the dreaded synopsis before trying to secure that all important publishing deal. In the meantime you can check out Baxter’s Boys which is available in Chapters in Parnell Street, Alan Hanna’s in Rathmines, Kenny’s of Galway, Eason in Killarney and a number of other good bookshops nationwide. It is also available on Amazon and Kindle.

(c) Patrick Osborne

Patrick will be a guest speaker at the Dingle Literary Festival this November and he has been selected for the duo mentorship programme run by the Irish Writers’ Centre for 2022/23.

About Baxter’s Boys:

The odds were never in their favour, but that didn’t stop them.

Davey Byrne spends his days working as a part-time courier and full-time petty criminal in Dublin, Ireland. In between flittering from one scam to the next, Davey lines out for the dysfunctional Sporting Les Behansa team of misfits which also includes a hitman, an armed robber and a very amiable drug dealer amongst others.

While striving to keep one step ahead of the law Davey is also trying to win the hearts and minds of the working class locals who live in the tower blocks that surround the pitch. Davey’s best friend, Fran Reilly, also has his fair share of problems, keeping custody of his only daughter being high on his list.

Despite the numerous issues which each of the players are going through, their dedicated Scouse manager, Pa Baxter, has somehow guided them to the latter stages of the cup. But with trouble always on the horizon, can the team keep it together long enough to collect silverware?

Baxter’s Boys is a rowdy stomp through the world of Sunday League pub football. Quirky with comic relief, this novel explores the underside of society in a way seldom accomplished.

“Packed with Dublin slang, it will appeal to fans of Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trillogy” – Irish Independent.

“The Snapper meets Fever Pitch with a dose of Shameless thrown in for good measure” – Dublin’s Northside People.

“The characters and situations are very funny and it would make good tv” – Declan Lowney (Father Ted, Little Britain, Moone Boy, Ted Lasso).

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Paddy was born in 1971 in the heart of Dublin’s Inner City and was educated at St. Paul’s CBS (Brunner). He qualified as an Amenity Horticulturist from the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in 1992 and now lives in Killarney. He is a referee with the FAI for his sins.

This is Paddy’s debut novel. He has written and performed three short plays to date: Sam Who? – The Irish Hangover (2014); Bar Flies (2018) & A Fishy Tale (2019) as well as writing the poem, Journey Through Immortality (2017) for the short film Immortal Souls.

His father, Paddy Snr is the current Vice President of the IABA while his mother, Joanie is a carer for the elderly. Paddy is one of six siblings along with Maria, Siobhan, Stephen (deceased), Deirdre & Elaine.

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