Last Minute Changes

It appears to be an unavoidable part of the writing life - last minute changes.

I was in London at the weekend, doing a talk to the Society of Civil and Public Service Writers, at their club in Whitehall -

Civil service club.JPG

I'd been asked to give a general entertainment type talk - incorporating lots of fun anecdotes - rather than a more serious writing specific one, but...

... over drinks, as I met some of the people, I realised they wanted far more in the way of insights into the writing process.

Which necessitated some fast re-jigging of what I planned to say - and that over lunch, whilst eating and talking to several of the guests. Now, who says men can't multi-task?!

Happily, the talk went down well (my thanks to everyone who came), even if some of it was delivered in what's technically known as a seat of the pants fashion, given the newly produced version.

On the train on the way home, I was left reflecting on the challenge of the last minute change. It's something which carries quite a risk, but can bring rewards.

My third novel, Evil Valley, was due to be called Evil Coombe (it's named after a real place on Dartmoor), up until the very last minute, when WH Smith said they thought it might hit sales, as people could be confused what a Coombe was...

... so came a rapid phone call to me from the publishers, a fast discussion and a last minute switch. And I think the novel felt more accessible and worked better for it.

It's happened before in books, stories and articles, when I've planned one ending and at the final paragraphs of writing seen that another might work better.

I suppose it's the instinct thing at work and we ignore it at our peril. It's there for a reason and sometimes we drown it with the cold water of logic. But it's all planned this way now, I've been thinking about it for ages...

It takes courage, but last minute changes can be fun and often work out for the best.

Witness this, finally -

I was going to get a taxi back to the station, but when I came out of the club it was a beautiful English autumn day, so I took a stroll instead and found my way across the Golden Jubilee Bridge...

London thames.JPG

One of the wonders of the modern world, the London skyline in a fine sunset. Thank you instinct, and your prompting of last minute changes, for a great writing day out.