Thursday, 13 June 2013

Who mentioned deadlines? By Ann Evans

Newsroom and Features office Coventry Telegraph at the
Corporation Street premises 
When I worked as a feature writer at the Coventry Telegraph, there was always deadlines to meet. Very often there might only be a few hours to source an idea, interview, research, write it up and send it on to the sub editor to prepare it for the page.

At times it was a mad rush, but when there's a deadline looming as every writer knows, you have to just knuckle down and get it written.

With fiction it's usually a more relaxed (and civilised) way of writing, well normally. You have your pace that you like to write at and you stick to it.

 But all that's going to change for me over the next five weeks. I'll be writing 2,000 word chapters in real time, from idea to going live to schoolchildren in just two and a half days.

It's all to do with Fiction Express, an online publisher who team up with primary schools, to offer fiction that the children can contribute to.

Quite recently they accepted a story idea from me called The Mysterious Indian Vanishing Trick, and tomorrow, June 14th, chapter one will go live to thousands of children all around the country. The chapter ends on a cliffhanger and my protagonists have to decide what they should do next. There's three choices, and the schoolchildren vote on what the character's should choose.

The results are relayed to me by the following Tuesday, and then I write the next chapter and another three choices by the Thursday, ready for that chapter to go live the following Friday! Phew!

There's a great build up, and if you go to the website, you'll find a countdown clock, ticking off the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next chapter.  I got the screenshot below a few days ago, and by the time this blog goes out, I'll probably be a bundle of nerves, knowing there's only a few hours to go.


Eventually Fiction Express publish the story as an ebook, And I love the cover. As for the completed story, that's totally down to how the kids vote!

I must say the people at Fiction Express are great to work with, and so helpful. And of course, I might be needing that help if the old brain cells don't jump into action once I know the result of the voting choices.

So how are you for working to tight deadlines? Do you view them as a challenge, or do you prefer to take your writing at a more leisurely pace?


If you want to find out more about Fiction Express, here's the link.
http://schools.fictionexpress.co.uk/en

And my website is: www.annevansbooks.co.uk



4 comments:

julia jones said...

This sounds really fun - and what a challenge. I'm doing some work in primary schools myself at the moment so will defo tell them about it. Power to you!

Reb MacRath said...

What a cool idea. It does sound like a blast and I'm glad you've gotten to do it and shared the experience with us.

madwippitt said...

What an amazing challenge - and sounds like a great way of getting kids involved too.

And deadlines? Essential otherwise nothing would get done!

Lydia Bennet said...

Deadlines do concentrate the mind! This sounds a fun project. Good luck with it, it sounds like it will get your name into thousands of extra minds, no bad thing eh!