The 3-day novel contest
I was first introduced to the 3-day novel contest by a friend in my writing circle. He is the kind of writer who writes mathematically: he sets a goal for a number of words he will write each week, and somehow manages to pull it off (most of the time) because he's able to just let go and write something utterly terrible that he can later sculpt like a topiary into something spectacular. He sent me a facebook invite to the 3-day novel contest some years ago. I didn't enter; I am a complete failure at timed or wordcount-based writing projects.
This failure is due, in part, to the fact that I've never really written a short story longer than 5 pages (my undergrad writing professor used to call them haiku stories), but also due to the fact that word processors have ruined me. I can't just write a draft and come back to it later; I re-write each sentence incessantly, and cut and paste paragraphs in a seemingly endless dance. It's a terrible way to write, but damn it, when it's done, it's done! (Actually, it's never done. Every time I open a story, I manage to find at least one word to change—or change back. But that's mostly because I'm insane.)
Which is part of the reason that I never make enough time for my writing.
So I can understand the appeal of the 3-day novel contest. It forces writers to break their own bad habits and pound out a novel over a long weekend. There's a certain allure to countless unbathed, over-snacking writers all over the world working in isolation together to power through writer's block. The average 3-day novel is 25-30K words in length! That's incredible. I'd just rather walk over hot coals on feet full of thumb tacks.
If you're better disciplined, or are simply a glutton for punishment, registration for the 3-day novel contest is currently open (the $50 registration fee goes up to $55 on August 15). The contest itself takes place on the Labour Day long weekend, and the grand prize for the best novel is publication by 3-day Books.