IT was smooth sailing for the year 9 students at Terra Sancta College who plotted hooks, twists, and turns aplenty as they wrote and illustrated an entire book in one day.
The students turned out a more than 4000-word crime fiction work an hour before the 8pm deadline for the "Book in a day competition", which supports The Kids Cancer Project at Westmead.
Cormac Lamb, 14, was in the team of nine students who wrote the book.
"We're all friends here so we work well together," he said.
"The hardest part is that everyone writes their own chapters so, being individuals, you write in your own style and everyone has to incorporate that and try to make it flow."
Teammate Allanah Sako, 14, said students were given a setting (billabong), issue (magical healing), and two characters to incorporate into their tale.
Five random words — molten, scribble, precarious, encourage and curiously — were provided, to show that they had not pre-written it.
Allanah met the challenge for a third year.
"I felt really self-conscious about my writing but it's hard to feel that way [now] because you'd never get anything done," she said.
"It helps you to trust yourself a bit more."
The book is about a skinhead, Ivy, who is sent to a town called Billabong for community service after stealing something from a museum.
While there, she discovers her magical ability to heal and forms a father/daughter-like bond with the cancer-ridden police officer who escorts her to the town.
He adopts her following a riot which shows her criminal parents to be a poor influence.
‘‘Because we’re older we’re getting on to more mature subjects and advancements in our lessons so it helps with the writing experience,'' Cormac said.
‘‘It’s a confidence builder as well. If you can write this book as a team then it’s building skills like time management, a coperative nature and the way you can adapt to what others are thinking.’'