Line by line online as Silvia goes live

Silvia Hartmann, authors
Silvia Hartmann, authors

AN AUTHOR is aiming for a world first by letting readers watch her typing her latest novel live on the internet.

Silvia Hartmann will begin work on her new book on Wednesday (September 12) and readers will be able to follow it as she types, as well as offer feedback and comments on the story as it is written.

And the Eastbourne-based writer could not be more excited about the project, which she has dubbed The Naked Author.

Speaking to the Gazette she said, “This is an amazing opportunity for me as an author to push the boundaries of the author/reader relationship. It will be amazing to write knowing that people will be viewing each word, paragraph and chapter, each backspace as I go along.

“Some authors plan their manuscripts in advance, but my stories tend to have a life of their own and I look forward to seeing what unfolds with everybody else.”

The first session starts at 9am on Wednesday and readers can follow it by using the Google Docs cloud-based office suite. The author will start with a blank document and begin to write. Fans will be provided with a public-accessible web page to see the book being written before their eyes. This represents a completely new level of interaction between readers and their author and was made possible by the advanced collaboration tools built into Google’s software.

Silvia continued, “Google Docs is a fantastic, freely available tool that allows readers to communicate directly with their author. It is bit of a dream come true. Scary – and exciting.

“Traditionally once a manuscript has been written and gone through a series of agents, editors and publishers, a finished book can read quite differently to how it started and in some cases even have a different ending.

“Through this project, readers engage with this process of writing and editing in real-time, literally collaborating as the magic unfolds.”

The author has also already begun accepting suggestions for the title, with a signed copy of the completed first edition book as a prize for the winner. This project is expected to take between four to eight weeks to complete, depending on the final word count.