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Open Team finds a novel challenge in ‘Write A Book in a Day’

Write a Book in a Day (WABIAD) is fast becoming a stalwart in schools all over Australia. But the thrill of competition coupled with the challenge of actually writing a book within 12 hours isn’t limited only to school students. Each year Open Teams, teams with participants aged 18 years and over, are increasing in number.

One WABIAD Open Team member, Tarran, tells their story. “My friend Bernadette (Bernie) is a teacher who coordinated eight student teams for WABIAD. Seeing their enthusiasm prompted her to create her own team. She reached out to me and friends Rachael, Cameron, and Mike to see if we would be interested. We said yes, and the rest is history!”

Team Building 

Even though the team is creative and cohesive Tarran says it didn’t always feel like that. “I’m glad we seemed that way! When it came to dividing up the work, we spent considerable time in our very first session figuring out what would work best for us.” 

Tarran recalls how, after a few false starts, things soon fell into place.

“Bernie is naturally artistic, and her amazing illustrations supported the writing styles of both Rachel and me, which are different but complementary.  Mike and Cameron were the editors and publishers. They ensured the final draft was error free, looked good and told a cohesive flowing story. This was no mean feat, as part of the WABIAD competition includes parameters and using random words, which was slightly terrifying, but we pulled it together.” 


The team used their different skill sets to work well together. So much so they decided to enter WABIAD again.  

We submitted our first story “Took” in the 2019 open competition which picked up the National Open Division Best Story award.”
“We won again in 2020, the National Open Division Best Illustrations award for “The Ballad” – not that we’re bragging or anything,” grins Tarran.

Team Tips 

The team’s process includes carving out the core storyline before breaking it into meaningful chapters. Once the story develops, the illustrations are created to give the stories added meaning.  

Their hint to success is to ensure initial planning happens at the start of the day. And, at the end of the day have a final draft PDF that lays out the story showing how the text wraps around the illustrations and how those two elements work in combination to tell a compelling and entertaining story. 

Another hint is to have a large screen or monitor for that final collation so the whole team can see what’s happening in those urgent last minutes before the deadline. 

The Final Chapter 

Tarran says that having now completed three WABIADs the team’s learning experience has been astounding.

“WABIAD is a brilliant competition that encourages intense teamwork towards a common goal, both that of the story being created, and raising funds for The Kids’ Cancer Project to support research into childhood cancer. Plus, sick kids get to read our stories. We wouldn’t change a thing!” 

Funds raised through the Write a Book in a Day competition support pioneering research projects that aim to find more effective and kinder treatments for kids with cancer.