Sunday, 8 May 2011

Fiction Express - a writing venture where you choose what happens next! First chapter reviews for Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Playa, The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross, Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf, and The Symbol by Rebecca Morton

The other day I received an intriguing email, about how readers can change what happens next in the story on Fiction Express. Here is the information on the Press release sheet which explains it perfectly: 

Fiction Express - offering truly interactive fiction to teens

New, exciting online fiction service, launched on 6th May 2011, allows readers to control plotlines in real time. 

  • Gripping e-fiction written chapter by chapter in real time
  • Online voting determines the course of the plot
Providing high quality fiction targeted specifically at tweens and teens, Fiction Express holds their interest with a gripping twist. At the end of each weekly-released episode, readers are given options and can vote to determine what happens next in the plot. With episodes released every Friday at 3:30pm, readers have until 10 am the following Monday to cast their votes. A challenging but exciting prospect for authors, they will write each new chapter in real time according to the most popular reader choice. 

The list is launched with four titles: 
Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja (Split by a Kiss and Extreme Kissing) 
The Soterian Mission by Stewart Ross (Timewarp Trials & What if the Bomb Goes off?) 
Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf (The Chronosphere)
The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton

Each e-book will be published in 11 weekly episodes. The first is available for free, and the subsequent episodes sell from as little as 59p.

Fiction Express also gives readers the opportunity to submit their own ideas for incorporation into the plot, and there will be competitions to become part of the story itself.

How cool is that! It's a truly inventive idea which has readers playing more of a part in the stories. It reminds me of when I was at school and the read the books where at the end of each chapter you had to make a choice, then go to the relevant page number.

 I've only read books by Luisa, her stories are funny and she's a very friendly author too (*waves hi at Luisa*) 

I'm reviewing the first chapters of the books. Here we go! 

Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja

6th May 2011, Fiction Express
17 pages, e-book
Review copy 


School friendships, teen crushes, perils of family life, dilemma, surprises, lots of humour 

Summary from Fiction Express
The mall is the heart of fifteen-year-old Molly’s suburban town. Most teens hang around with friends there, get their first job there, experience their first kiss there. And Molly? She actually lives there, in the complex’s residential wing. She has hundreds of the best shops and amenities right on her doorstep. But is living in a massive shopping centre as much fun as it sounds? Well, yes... and no. Find out the whole truth in Molly’s private diary...

Reasons for loving Molly - she's such a drama queen, a little like me when I was younger 

Is there another character that deserves special mention? Yes, Molly's mother, who is a single parent and somehow remains calm around her whirlwind of a daughter as well as her son. 

How evil/nasty is the enemy? For now, it's Molly's friend who said nasty things. 

Are there lots of plot twists and surprises? Yes, made funnier by Molly's reactions. 

One of my favourite parts the beginning when Molly's chatting with her mother, because it's a sweet mother daughter scene.

For the story so far, I give it 9/10 

The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross

6th May 2011, Fiction Express
17 pages, e-book
Review copy

Children's, dystopian

Fugitive, terror, community life, difficult decisions, world in peril, mild violence & gore, compassion, lots of action & edge of seat moments

Summary from Fiction Express
In a post-apocalyptic world where no-one lives beyond their teenage years, the Constant residents of Della Tallis are surprised and fearful when stranger Roxanne appears in their midst, pursued by the barbaric Zeds. She carries the Zed tattoo on her forehead, but claims to be a Constant. When she explains that she has come to save them, and tells them the story of the Soterion, the Constant council must decide whether to trust her or kill her as a spy. Will Roxanne survive long enough to find the legendary Soterion, or will it be left to Cyrus and the other Constants to continue the mission? And there is every chance that the Zeds will get there first

Reasons for loving  Roxanne: She's been through so much and remained strong spirited.

How evil/nasty is the enemy?  Roxanne has two enemies with different intentions - one wishes to kill regardless, the other is kind enough to consider her argument.

Are there plenty of plot twists and surprises? Yes! Very much so 

One of my favourite parts was: when Roxanne saw her salvation

For the story so far, I give it  10/10 

Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf

6th May 2011, Fiction Express
15 pages, e-book
Review copy 


Isolation, countryside, unknown enemy, recovery, family betrayal, high levels of anticipation, scare factor, 

Reasons for loving Estelle: she's been through a horrendous time, yet finds a way to bend the rules so she can get help. 

Is there another character that deserves special mention? Sandor - despite the horror's he's seen since the last time the two of them met, he doesn't doubt Estelle and rushes to help her. 

How evil/nasty is the enemy?  Majorly creepy - my skin was tingling and its a book I won't read when its dark.

Are there many plot twists and surprises? Most definitely lots of surprises, I was on the edge of my seat most of the time. 

One of my favourite parts was...when Estelle related to Sandor how well she had come on in her treatment - she's on her way to recovery from that eventful time in her life, although will she recover from the next few hours? 

For the story so far, I give it  10/10

The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton

6th May 2011, Fiction Express
18 pages, e-book
Review copy 

Children's, fantasy

Coming of age, mystery, government officials, magic, temptation, bonds of friendship, domineering father, school, decisions 

Summary from Fiction Express
Miko Agnosta lives in a world where 13 year-olds' futures are determined by a government machine. When his best friend Lok is banished, Miko begins to question the system under which he lives. His eyes are abruptly opened when he next meets Lok and discovers a forbidden world that he never knew existed. With his mind full of questions, which path will Miko choose to take? Who can be trusted? Is anyone telling Miko the truth?

Reasons for loving Miko: between his father's expectations and his friend's slightly deranged ideas (from my view), Miko is emotionally hemmed into a corner. 

Is there another character that deserves special mention? Yes - Drina, Miko's sister is extremely cool! I wish there could be a story about her life in the military academy 

How evil/nasty is the enemy? So far not too nasty, but there's a lot of fear, mystery and suspicion about the officials, the blues and the enhancers, probably from a lack of knowledge.

Are there many plot twists and surprises? Early days, but yes a fair few surprises.

One of my favourite parts was...when Drina checked if Miko was okay - she clearly cares about him. I only hope she will get to feature more in the book 

For the story so far, I give it  10/10

So far the first chapter for all four books have most definitely caught my interest. The appeal of Fiction Express, aside from reader participation, is that it is international so everyone can take part. Go ahead and try it! 


Stewart Ross said...

It is hard to exaggerate what reviews like this do to an author's spirit! Sunny day and soaring! So glad the world loves my Roxy ...

Nayuleska said...

You're welcome! Thank you for creating a character who is easy to care about.