Tag Archives: 3 Day Novel Contest


humpty-dumptyWords – I love them. I even love the great huge portmanteau words (a la Alice in Wonderland) that carry loads of meanings between their consonants. I am gently mocked by friends and stared at by strangers when my three-syllable ones tumble out instead of shorter, clearer phrases.

It’s my sloppy brain filing system. I reach back for a word like orange and find titian, or ocean and find briny deep. I’m not happy, I’m exuberant. I have been known to galumph.

I blame Anne of Green Gables. I grew up like her – a little lonely, odd, wrapped in books and words like Aloysius. I read on my own, so my pronunciations are a bit dodgy. Poor Aloysius the fox lived for years as Alloy-si-us…

But there are some words that seem to be universally hated. Moist is one of them. It’s moisthard to find a pleasant use for the word, unless maybe in describing a cake or a towel, but otherwise, moist is tied to sweat, sweimages-35aty dark places, mouldering bread, dampness where none should be.

This is a moist summer. Offensively so. I honestly don’t think there is a spot on my body that is not moist at this very instant. Even my fingernails seem damp. The weather predictors use terms like humidex (ours uses the much more telling ‘frizz factor’), but really they are talking about moistness. How much there already is in the air, how much you shall personally generate, how much you will appreciate the drying effects of air conditioning.

I have never been so ready for the crispness of fall when I will feel my brain drying out again. I feel like I’ve been moist for far too long and the condensation and rising damp has seeped into my cerebrum.

I feel certain that, were someone to poke into my brain, it would feel like left-out-too-long zalivinoe, jellylike and fishy, with odd ideas floating around in it as the aspic melts in the heat.


borogoves_by_knot_a_typo-d7ot988At present, the old creativity-inducer seems positively mimsy.

“Well then, “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable” (there’s another portmanteau for you).” Humpty Dumpty, explaining the poem ‘Jabberwocky’ to Alice.

I’m going to have to thrash it out of somnolescence soon – this is the weekend of the famed #3DayNovel contest, and I have foolishly signed up again. Been told before this is a somewhat pointless exercise, not important, but for me, it is a reclaiming of the grey matter and white matter I’ve eaten holes through with my MS and the dang moistness…Some get tattoos, some walk across the Rockies, I throw myself at a computer and write. Hoping I can unmimsy my grey cells and leap in…twistedbrain_main-800x533


Writing my life, or why is it no one speaks to me anymore?

I’m having challenges lately.  You see, it’s coming up to 3-Day Novel time and I haven’t the slightest whisper of a plot line, and yet, come Labour Day weekend, I have to churn out a sizeable novel of 120 pages or so and it has to be a complete story and all that and also slightly lucid and coherent.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the 3 Day challenge, and I love the permission and command to do nothing but write for three days solid. It’s gleeful, it gets fun, and always in some part of the writing my characters start to misbehave and shoot innocent bystanders or have rambunctious sex or lose their minds or plunge to the depths of despair. (usually at the same time I do). It’s about the most fun you can have while sober, or drunk, or hepped up on caffeine.  I recommend it highly, and on occasion it has resulted in workable manuscripts that I’ve floated in novella contests.

The tough part is that, when writing true, I marshall events from my life, from the lives I observe around me, from what I see when I perch at a coffee shop watching others interact.  It’s tough cos some of my ideas are reflected in my blog writings and people see themselves in them. I try to be fair and kind to the people who get mentioned in the blog, but over a three day novel process, well, everything breaks loose and my brain is not responsible for what it cranks out. I deny responsibility.

Of course, the good thing is, the likelihood of a three day novel being published without severe editing is scant.  In fact, the chance of winning the contest is pretty scant.  I still have to make the short list, though I came closest last year when I wrote “true”, when I wrote about something close to my heart, when I ended up purging parts of myself with the writing.

Other years when I’ve tried, I had full-blown characters by this point, and a vague idea of a story. They were silly stories, with crazy characters and foolish adventures and they were a hoot to write, but probably not very good. Often the winners of the 3 daynovel contest write odd things, and so I figured I’d try odd and go from there. Odd is easy when you are hepped up on caffeine and very little sleep and you’ve been hanging with your characters and no other humans for days.

This year, I’m stuck.  I had an idea, but can’t do that one – not wise enough.  I am reading about rats, who are fascinating creatures, but I don’t know if I want to spend 3 days with them in close proximity.

I have another idea, one closer to the heart, but it’s not ready.  My character has stepped out and spoken to me, but I don’t know her well enough yet to write about her.  She’s wandering about in my head, picking up little ideas, turning them over, placing them back tidily where they were, like she is cruising through a gifte shoppe in some little touristy town.

I need her to get serious, reveal herself to me, share with me her sorrows and joys. Some of those will seem like similar sorrows and joys of friends, family, acquaintances. Writers steal.  They listen to you and then part of what you say becomes part of them, becomes part of the characters they create.  They don’t steal all of you, just a smidgen, and then they stick it to parts of other people so that it’s not really you they are writing about, it’s a conglomerate of people all of whom have one thing or another that fits the character.

But sometimes it can seem like too much of a person is stolen. I do apologize if I’ve done that in this space. Rest assured it’s not you about whom I speak, and that there is fiction in this blog as everywhere. It’s not intentional if you feel like I’ve done a sketch of your heart and mind.  After all, I don’t know your innermost thoughts. My character’s thoughts , I will know, when she gets ready to share them with me.

Which I wish she would.  The weekend is creeping closer!