Onboard the Fiction Express - Guest Post by Luisa Plaja

Ever wished that readers could give you feedback on your novel-in-progress, telling you where they’d like the plot to go? Luisa Plaja, author of several teen novels, talks about writing for Fiction Express

Fiction Express publishes online novels in weekly instalments - with a twist. At the end of each chapter, readers get to vote on what they’d like to see happen next. The writer then works on the subsequent part of the story according to the majority vote, and the whole process goes on for a total of eleven weeks.

I visited Strictly Writing back in May to talk about jumping on the Fiction Express. I’m now pleased to report that my novel, Diary of a Mall Girl, is complete.

And what an experience it was! Every Monday morning, I eagerly awaited the email giving me the vote result so that I could rush off to write. Except… it didn’t quite work that way. I’d spend the rest of the day thinking and planning, ending with a large amount of panicking about not having written anything. This was usually followed by at least one all-night writing and/or editing session, racing to meet the Thursday editorial deadline. (Of course, I’m sure the other authors weren’t like me. I imagine they all got their chapters in bright and early each week. Ahem.) I can’t pretend that writing this way was easy, but it was definitely a fun challenge. And somehow the story came together, with characters developing and plot twists revealing themselves in ways I hadn’t foreseen.

I write teen romance, and at the start of Diary of a Mall Girl, I wasn’t even sure who the love interest for my main character would be. Some interesting voting soon made it obvious which character the readers wanted Molly to be with… though not without complications and a few wicked vote results on the way.

You can read more about my experience of Fiction Express in an interview at Serendipity Reviews, together with a review of Diary of a Mall Girl. You can also read all the completed e-books at Fiction Express. The latest novel there is a steampunk adventure called Remy Brunel and the Ocean of Light by Sharon Gosling, and as it’s in progress, there are still many chances to influence the course of its plot.

Think you’d like to try writing this way yourself? A Fiction Express editor writes:
“Fiction Express is always looking for enthusiastic authors, so if you're interested in being part of the project, please email authors@fictionexpress.co.uk . Although our current e-books are targeted at teens, we are looking to launch some titles for younger children later in the year, too.”

First chapters of all novels are free to read, with subsequent chapters costing one credit each (from 59p). The Fiction Express team is kindly offering ten free credits to readers of Strictly Writing. To claim this special offer today, register (for free) at http://www.fictionexpress.co.uk, click on “add credits” and enter the following code: STRICTLY10

Happy reading and writing!


Helen Black said...

Wow it sounds like you had a blast.
HB x

Caroline Green said...

Really sounds like fun, Luisa. And I loved reading Diary of a Mall Girl!

Susan Mann said...

What a great idea. Off to check out more. x

DT said...

What an innovative idea! How do you ensure that you have an informed audience though?

Luisa Plaja said...

Thank you for your comments!

Derek, the audience just has to enjoy reading stories...

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Luisa, this is so intriguing - what fun it sounds (though I'm sure it was darn hard work in reality) - but the interactivity angle sounds fab.