Well, I survived writing for the International 3-Day Novel Contest and am now here to tell you the tale.
Teach Your Children Well was date-and-time stamped Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, 8:09 p.m. (although my computer was still on Calgary time – the actual time on Bequia was two hours later, but still within the midnight deadline). My novel is 91-pages, double-spaced, and 21,317 words. Light for a novel, true, but it’s a complete storyline and I wrote all that I wanted to write.
The novel is about Sondra, a teenage girl who encounters bullying in her new high school and discovers that bullying doesn’t stop at graduation, but can continue throughout adulthood – even her own mother is a victim. So Sondra sets up a bullying-awareness campaign to try to stop all bullying in its tracks. I hadn’t intended to write this for a teen audience, but I hope now it will work as a cross-over or bridge novel, appealing to both teens and adults.
This was a story I developed a couple of years ago and had always planned on writing (as I explained here in an earlier blogpost) so I’d given the storyline a lot of thought before the weekend. I loved the experience though of writing on the fly, filling in the details, getting to know the characters, creating new characters and incidents and business that I hadn’t thought of previously, like making Sondra’s family, who moves to Toronto, French-Canadian, and in just playing with it all on my computer for three days. I hope that readers like reading it, but mainly because I really enjoyed the writing process. I know it’s cliche to say that the novel wrote itself, but this one almost did just that. Never once during the three days did I think, “What have I gotten myself into – again??? Am I crazy?” It was actually a pleasure to write for hours at a time, then even better when it came around to beginning the editing process – although I did discover a major gap in the timeline that needed patching, and I hadn’t thought, before submitting the manuscript, to check one of the jokes that was supposed to be spoken in French and make sure it was actually as funny in French as it would be in English. (It was – phew!) But I believe I caught all the major gaffs and typos, problems with formatting, etc., and if nothing else, I gave myself a crash-reminder course of what it takes to edit a novel.
So, a worthy way to spend a 3-day long weekend (although Monday was not a holiday here on Bequia) and I came out in the end with a novel that, while it may not win any awards in this particular contest, is something I’m happy to have written, proud to attach my name to, and that I know will be marketable and published at some time or other.
Thanks, 3-Day People!! See you again next year!