“OUT OF LEFT FIELD” is an (American) expression that is familiar to most, based on baseball terminology. As a form of slang, we use it to indicate an event that occurs unexpectedly, or as some form of surprise. It can be pleasant, or not.
Like many of us at the end of the year, I look back at the events of the last twelve months with a mixture of pleasure and sadness. Inevitably, there were occasions affecting me personally that invoked both those emotions. The death of my friend Colin Skipp, referred to in the last post, was
one of those. Balancing that was the discovery of two former friends of my wife, back in touch after nearly twenty years. Renewing and building friendships is hugely rewarding, and I look forward to future opportunities in the years ahead.
When something unexpected rocks our world, it can take time to adjust. The brain is accustomed to dealing with routine, and when that “curve ball” arrives out of left field, the instant reaction it needs is sometimes lacking. By the time we realise what is happening, events can move on. A drip from the ceiling? A crack in the windscreen? A pain in the leg? We weren’t expecting it, so our slow reactions can sometimes lead to a more serious problem.
To a writer of thrillers, left field is great methodology for plot development. I started writing my present project Sisters more than two years ago, but various events in my personal life have impacted on its progress. “Left field” events included. But all writers use life experiences to good effect, and it is often those twists and turns in the storyline that take the reader on a more enjoyable path. Believe me, it works for the writer too! I am presently writing a BIG twist towards the end of my story.
But here’s one LITTLE “twist” I will share right now: I’m changing the title.
Sisters will be re-titled The Titanic Document. Why? Well, because it is a more descriptive title for the subject matter within. There are still plenty of “sister” references within the plot, which was the reason for my first title choice, but the catalyst for murder, rape and political fallout is essentially one document relating to the tragic ship that sank in 1912. Historical facts are hugely relevant – as they were in The Murder Tree – but it is how they influence (and blend into) the fictional parts that occupy me as a teller of stories.
Not long to go now! (And keep an eye on that left field.)
Need to know:
I don’t just write fiction.