3-Day Novel Contest

by kipress

This coming long weekend is the venerable 3-Day Novel Contest. It started with a group of Vancouver writers in 1977 who wondered if it were possible to write a novel over a weekend. And they found out that yes, it is. The contest has been handled by a number of different publishers over the years, offering  a publishing contract to the winning novel. It’s become an international phenomenon.

I’m challenging my students to enter this year. What better way to kick-start a creative writing course–and the first year of a program so intense that you’ll feel a lot of the time like you’re being asked to write the impossible?

It’s probably the only way I’ll be able to get anyone to do any sustained writing, seeing as how pressed for time we are, as always. I only expect a few students to take up the challenge, but even a few would be great. (Especially since I can’t really read more than a few!)

Writers can be as clean and neat as this fellow.

Writers can be as attractive as this fellow.

A bonus to taking up this challenge: you might just end up with something you want to use later, maybe for the second-year Independent Professional Project. Or, hey, maybe you’ll win the contest.

In other ways, it’s too bad that the contest is so close to the beginning of the year, because otherwise I’d do more prep for it in class, and hopefully get more takers. As it is, I’m springing it on them 2-3 days before the contest starts.

My Excuses

Do I have the guts to do this contest myself? I’ve considered it many times, my friends, but now is definitely not the time, not unless I can convince my husband to take the girl off my hands for a whole three days. Which isn’t going to happen. But the contest’s set-up would fit my writing style exactly: when writing prose, I tend to just spurt things out in an ill-thought-out stream of consciousness, and deal with the consequences later.

Sometimes I even prefer not to look at the screen: I just type away, looking off into space, and then run the spellcheck later, accepting all the automatic changes, and see what happens. It helps that I type like the wind (I had a brief career as a transcriptionist).

Not this year. Tend the flame for me, guys.