For three of the last four years I have spent Labour Day weekend cooped up in my basement office, scribbling away in my best attempt to write a short novel in only 72 hours. Each time I've done it, I have been pleased with the result and this year was no different.
In 2006, I wrote a story called The Platinum Ticket. It was a story about time travel, alien viruses, environmental issues and even Adolf Hitler thrown in for a little bit of fun.
In 2007, I wrote a story called Patriot. Patriot is a story about a Paraguayan dictator who faces his last 72 hours before execution. I am currently trying to flesh out Patriot to novel length.
In 2008, for a variety of reasons, I decided to take a year off from the contest.
Last year, in 2009, I wrote a story called Herne. Herne is the tale of an Ontario Conservation Officer who encounters a mythical antlered man in the wilds of Quetico Provincial Park.
Well, once again the winners have been announced and I am disappointed to say that I did not win the 32nd Annual Three-Day Novel Contest. Once again, I was not even shortlisted. Once again, I'm not surprised.
Over the last couple of years I have watched the Three-Day Novel Contest competition on Book Television. During the competition the writers are judged by Canadian authors ( usually from Edmonton) and contest officials. There are often comments such as, "This opening is just the kind of opening you expect to see in a Three-Day Novel." or "This prose just doesn't read like a Three-Day Novel." If this sort of sentiment is indicative of the attitudes of the judges of the Three-Day Novel Contest and your effort doesn't match a preconceived notion or template, then finding the winner's circle will be difficult to say the least.
But don't get me wrong, I have no sour grapes here. The Three-Day Novel Contest has, over three of the last four years, been a generator for three solid pieces of mid-length fiction for me.
Do I expect to win? No, never.
Was I disappointed? In previous years, yes. This year was different, however. This year my goal was to get the framework of a story that had been rattling around in my head down on paper. I achieved that goal in spades.
Now comes the hard part. Now I have to clean up and polish Herne and send it out into the world for publication.