Friday, 12 July 2013

A bloomin' good adventure by Ann Evans

Well first of all, I just wanted to add my belated Happy Birthday wishes to ABBA. Five fantastic years of children's authors writing about writing.

Talking about writing and writing about writing are the two things that we seem to do best, so long may it continue!

Of course we have to get down to actually DOING some writing every now and then!

It's just too easy to procrastinate especially when the sun is shining and the garden beckons. However, and you may not know this, but it is actually vital to be out in the sunshine mowing the grass and pruning the roses and planting up a few more flowers, rather than sitting in front of a hot PC on nice days. I believe it is the law!

Thinking about it, gardening is a bit like writing. We have the seeds of a story germinating in our heads, we use our skilled fingers to plant those first tentative words out and see them blossom and grow. And then we prune, chop and weed out the unnecessary bits and perhaps recycle some snippets to use elsewhere.

Sticking with the gardening analogy, my writing has been a real hothouse of activity these last five weeks and I've been digging deep into the old brain cells for some fresh adventures for my characters in The Mysterious Indian Vanishing Trick.

In my blog last month I mentioned that I was writing the story in five 2,000 word chapters for Fiction Express which goes out to schools every Friday afternoon. I was just starting the project then and was understandably nervous knowing I had to write a fresh chapter in just two and a half days, after the kids had voted on which way the story should go.

And today, (Thursday as I write this) I've just finished chapter 5 – my final chapter and thought I'd let you know how it all went. First off, I was nervous when the first vote came in and I had to start writing while the clock was ticking.

I actually had butterflies in my stomach as I was writing chapter 2, but I got it done well before the deadline, and found that with Fiction Express's Paul and Laura really knowing their stuff and being fantastic editors, the chapter was edited so smoothly that it was literally painless.

I found that keeping one step ahead worked, and while the readers would have three options to vote on, over the weekend I would draft out three opening paragraphs, so I had one ready for whichever way the vote went. So then when the official vote came in on a Tuesday afternoon, I was already up and running, so to speak. So much easier than staring at a blank screen even though those opening paragraphs eventually got altered and re-worded.

Another really nice bit about being involved in this, is the blog, where the author gets to hear the readers thoughts almost instantly, and can reply back and produce a regular blog to keep the interest going. All good fun!

As for The Mysterious Indian Vanishing Trick itself. I first wrote the original story quite some time ago, but it never found a publisher. This new version still features my main characters, Jamie, Valinda and Rahul – and Jamie's daft mum and dad, and the mysterious magical book. But the plot has gone off in different directions and turned into a book that I'm more than happy with. The readers all seem to have enjoyed it too. So, all in all it's been quite an adventure.

So now that the words 'the end' have been written at the end of chapter five, rather than 'vote now' I can relax a while - and I know just the place to do it, providing the sun keeps shining, So, I'm off to sit in the garden for half an hour or so with a glass of wine and wait for another idea to germinate and grow.

How about you - is this fine weather helping you write or is it a distraction?


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Karen said...

I find the fine weather an inspiration, Ann. I love to sit outside and muse over ideas with a nice cool drink. Glad your story with Fiction Express went well. :)

Sue Purkiss said...

Sounds a real challenge, but an interesting one!

Ann Evans said...

Thanks Karen and Sue. It was a good challenge and nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be. Now if only I can keep up the momentum with the other stuff I'm working on. Deadlines really do help, don't they!

Enid Richemont said...

An interesting post, Ann. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBA - five today (or yesterday or whenever...)You're fab!