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This is an Everything Public Service Announcement.

In the interest of feeding the deranged poetic drive and fictive impulse of those in the E2 community with resonating novelist potential, the above mentioned International writing Contest will be unraveling normally sane folk all over the Continent in just under a month (all the registration information you'll find below, or at http://www.3daynovel.com).

The Three-Day Novel Writing Contest is one of the most grueling, self-loathing, perfidious experiences one can be put through in a 72 hour period, comparable in many ways to protracted, non-anaesthetized dental extraction at the hands of flatulent Satanic nuns or repeated forced exposure to televised glow-in-the-dark bowling; however, while agonizing, it is a transcendent, cathartic, cleansing, invigorating sort of 'grit your teeth and scream into the tempest' kind of pain, and while relatively inexpensive (though there is a price), the sheer rush of the endorphin-laden panic comes widely recommended.

Essentially you lock yourself in your apartment for 72 hours, while most people, normal people, decent social human creatures are out enjoying the last long weekend of the summer (you've seen the scene in Trainspotting where Rent-boy's about to try and kick, you know "...12 cans soup, condensed, to be eaten cold; 5 gallon tub, ice cream...", well it's the same sort of deal). You unplug your phone, you disconnect your TV, you stock up on everything you could possibly need or find yourself distractedly obsessing over. You 'let that which does not matter truly slide'. You systematically eliminate all distraction.

And then you write...and you write...and then you write some more. You'll go fetal in a quivering ball, you'll cry tears of blood, you'll take cold showers while banging your cranium against the porcelain tile as well mind you, but largely this in an intellectual exercise, a linguistic triathlon, to see just how many ideas (of some fleeting substance) you can give birth to in three days & just what manner of shape and structure you can give those words (if linear narrative is even remotely your thing). Think playing soccer drunk in the rain is exhausting? Think German Expressionist film festivals are emotionally taxing? Pah! You need to take all your literary ambitions, the ones you've been letting fester away inside of you for aeons, the little voices that have been making little rapping noises against the inside of your skull, and you need to purge. You won't be alone. Think what good nodes they might make.

PRIZES

1ST PRIZE - An offer of publication from the associated Presses or sponsors, i.e. your name in print.
2ND PRIZE (1ST RUNNER-UP) $500
3RD PRIZE (2ND RUNNER-UP) the agony of defeat

RULES

Entrants must complete a registration form (http://www.3daynovel.com/) and return it to "The International 3-Day Novel Contest, 200 - 341 Water Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B8, Canada" along with an entry fee of $50.00 CDN or $40.00 US (non-refundable). The contest is, along with the prized publication, in this regard kind of self-funding. Registrations must be postmarked by Friday, August 29, 2003 to qualify.

Registrations must be postmarked by Friday, August 29 to qualify. Entrants begin writing no earlier than 12:01 a.m., Saturday (basically, Friday night), and must stop at or before 12 midnight, Monday, September 1. Novels may be written in any location (yes, the honour system still exists!) and using whatever method you choose (by hand, typewriter, word processor), as long as the copy submitted is typed, double-spaced, on 8½ x 11 (or A4) white paper, with pages numbered. (No folders, clips, or staples please.)

Send finished novels to address above, postmarked no later than September 7, along with: (1) a non-legal statement signed by a witness confirming the novel's completion over the Labour Day Weekend, and (2) a self-addressed envelope large enough for the novel's return (if desired).

If mailed from within Canada, include enough postage for the cost of return. If mailed from outside Canada, a cheque or Postal Money Order in the amount of $7.00 is required for the manuscript's return.

The Grand Prize Winner will be announced November 30, 2003. All entrants will receive a press release regarding the outcome of the contest. The jury consists of an editorial board and past guest writers and editors.

FURTHER GUIDELINES


1. Outlines are permitted prior to the contest; however, the actual writing must take place during the Labour Day Weekend.

2. Collaborations are permitted, but no more than two per novel.

3. There are no limits as to the novel's length, but entries average 100 typewritten pages, double-spaced. Published copies of past 3-Day Novel contest winners may be ordered by visiting the Orders Page.

It turns out there is such a thing as the International 3-Day Novel Contest, which is basically NaNoWriMo on speed. You are given three days to write an entire novel.

So assuming a novel is 50 000 words, and you'll be sleeping / doing other things 8 hours out of every day, that leaves you with 48 hours to write the novel - 1042 words per hour, 17.4 words per minute. Of course, I would never try this, since I struggle with RSI and this would be a certain way to permanently damage my hands. But I couldn't resist seeing how much "story" I could write in five minutes. So, to the amusement of my friends, I set myself a timer and started typing. This is what I wrote:

Jeremiah Applegate stared at the door and considered his options. He still had a few shells left, but the aliens were coming in through more of the entrances now. The hospital was otherwise deserted, and he was sure that the sirens outside heralded similar invasions elsewhere.

He sighed and reloaded his shotgun. Time to kick some alien... butt. (There would be time for anatomical lessons later.) He opened the door and poked out his gun, aiming for the first of the slavering alien beasts. A quick shot dispatched the creature.

He was about to take aim at the next monster when the simulation suddenly ended.

"Dammit Karen, I was enjoying that!"

"Your psych profiles suggest that you are in need or a quiet time, maybe a simulation of a japanese tea ceremony."

"Karen, my profiles suggest that I want to have sex with you, and you are a computer."

"Point taken."

"Anyway, what's up?"

"The trade delegation from across the Thames is here. They say they have several barrels full of poultry they'd be willing to give us in exchange for some hydrogen."

"Tell Jake to check out the meat and see if it's actually chicken or something like that."

Jeremiah took of his sensorsuit and changed back into his uniform. Time to take on the office of North Kensington Inquisitor once more. After all, there were mouths to feed.

We went downstairs, careful not to tread on any of the less-stable parts of the iron stairs of the old warehouse. One day, he told himself, there would be enough nanofactors around to fix up the stairs. Or someone would do it for him, as a favour. After all, that was what public office was about, right? Favours!

Let's just say there was much giggling when I passed it around.

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