Saturday, April 17, 2004

Sat 17 Apr 2004

Got the write stuff for a Rankin tale?


• TV series lets viewers end tale by crime author

• Other famous writers taking part in interactive show

ASPIRING authors are to be given the chance to write the ending for one of Ian Rankin’s thrillers.

The Edinburgh-based crime writer is taking part in a new interactive BBC series which will see the public asked to write the conclusion of half-finished tales.

Along with the Inspector Rebus creator, well-known writers such as Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend, comic Alexei Sayle and Chocolat author Joanne Harris will be providing short stories for the BBC3 series.

Rankin said today: "I think there is at least a short story in everyone, I’m not sure there is a book in everyone though.

"The intriguing thing about this is that you are given half a story to start with. I have got absolutely no idea how the story I have contributed is going to end.

"I can see about half a dozen ways in which it could end, but I’d be curious to see whether people see them too or if they come up with something totally different which I had not thought of."

Rankin has written a six to eight-page story and describes it as "an intriguing tale of an Edinburgh ne’er-do-well who may, or may not, be using supernatural powers".

The story centres around a "lowlife" and has a criminal element, but Rankin stressed it is also "completely new" and does not feature Rebus. "He is not there, but people could bring him in. That will be interesting too. I’ve tried to keep it as vague as possible," he said.

The novelists’ half-finished stories will be published in a pamphlet which will be distributed across coffee shops, libraries and on the internet next month.

Readers will then have six weeks to try to complete the tales and get their entries judged.

The eight winning stories - which will be judged by a panel including author Muriel Gray and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah - will be showcased on BBC3 in the autumn.

A selection of entries will also be broadcast on Radio 4.

Rankin added: "As a writer you tend to think of yourself as having a particular style, so it will also be interesting to see whether people try to mimic that style or if they bring their own twist to it, and whether readers can spot the join between the two halves of the story.

"I agreed to do it because I don’t think there are enough outlets for short stories. When I got started it was in short stories. I’m doing this to try and get more people interested in the genre."

Like most authors, he occasionally suffers from writer’s block, which he tackles in two different ways. "I either put the story aside and just hope that inspiration will eventually strike, or I talk it through with people, in the pub over a drink, saying: ‘This is the story...’"

BBC3 controller Stuart Murphy said the channel wanted to uncover the next generation of writing talent across Britain.

He said: "This project is very exciting for anyone who has read a book and thought they could do better.

"With the stories covering a variety of genres there’s something to suit everyone’s style of writing. This series could change the path of some people’s lives."

End of Story... will be launched on BBC3 and BBC2 this weekend.

The eight half-stories will be fully revealed in a launch programme on BBC3 at 9pm on Sunday, followed by an airing on BBC2 at 10pm.

Winners will meet the authors whose work they have completed and may even land a publishing deal.

This article:

Ian Rankin & Rebus:


Ian Rankin (official site) News - Entertainment - Got the write stuff for a Rankin tale?

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