Artwork and Article by Cathy Yan, Age 15, Canada
Almost everyone in the writing world has heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a thirty-day race in November to complete a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel. It’s gruelling, fun, and produces immense amounts of pride when you finally behold the finished manuscript. However, it’s difficult to stick around for thirty days when the rest of your life is pulling you away. You’re back in school, your extracurricular activities are picking up, and your pile of homework is steadily growing. All that and almost 2,000 words a day? The thought alone is enough to drive anyone crazy, yet the challenging thrill of it still calls to you.
Enter the 3-Day Novel Contest, the faster, more competitive alternative to NaNoWriMo. It takes place on the Labour Day weekend every September and offers writers a chance to show off their skills without heavily influencing their normal life.
For three days, writers all over the world scribble their brains out for this gruelling race. The challenge is to write a full novel in three days. No starting before Labour Day, no writing after Labour Day. It is the perfect challenge for all those who just cannot write a first draft.
In Polly Wants to be a Writer, Polly has problems getting started on her story. She’s looking for perfection on her first try, and, because she believes she’s got a lot of time, she thinks every phrase can be better. If that sounds like you, then you may want to sign up for this 3-day novel challenge. With only seventy-two hours and over a hundred pages to fill, there is no time for second-guessing. With the short timeframe, your passion for your subject won’t have time to run out. Before you know it, your first draft will be done, and you can edit to your heart’s content.
If you’re done editing before September 13th, you can send your manuscript in for judging. The winner gets published, and second and third place winners get cash prizes. How’s that for motivation?
For such a popular and quirky contest, it has a humble beginning. This challenge was thought up in a bar in Vancouver, BC in 1977, when a group of writers challenged each other to complete a novel in three days. For the first two years, no one could complete the challenge, but as the contest gained international recognition, more and more people were signing themselves up and finishing their manuscripts. Now, 500 to 600 people register for this event from all over the world, with two-thirds finishing a novel. Not bad odds, considering how intimidating the task is.
If you’ve been thinking of writing a novel but don’t know where to start or don’t have the time for a monthly commitment, then the 3-day novel contest may be just what you need. How cool would it be if you could, when you went to the Junior Authors Writers Conference in Richmond in October, say you were able to write a full novel in just three days? The bragging rights alone should be incentive enough for you to enter. With a little determination and a whole lot of caffeine, you could have your dream novel done in just a long weekend—no fuss, no mess, just a whole lot of writing.
Cathy enjoys reading, writing, acting and volunteering. She seeks to further her personal growth through challenging activities in the personal and academic areas of her life. She is a member of the LTC Team.