Going too far?

Several years ago, I heard about a competition called, The 3-Day Novel Contest. It happens every Labor day and involves writing a rough-draft of a novel, and submitting it at the end of the weekend.  The comments from past participants range from, “A great opportunity to do something that I’ve always wanted to do”, to, “Who was the twisted S.O.B. who first came up with this idea?!” This quote is on the competition’s website: A coffee-fueled, plot-weaving literary juggernaut.” Playboy Magazine.

I don’t know if I’ll do this or not, but there is something very appealing about it to me partly because it so “unknown”. I like the idea of pushing myself past what I think I can do, not knowing if I even can do it, and wondering if maybe I will find some hidden strength that I didn’t know I had.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Eliot

For any of you that think this sounds like an interesting idea, the details are below!

35 Years and Still Notorious

 It began as a dare, became an act of defiance, and today, 35 years after its birth, the 3-Day Novel Contest still reigns as one of the world’s most maddening, compelling and exhilarating challenges for writers.

30 thoughts on “Going too far?”

  1. judging from the many postings on this site, it seems there might be other novelists in addition to Mary who might want to consider this challenge.

    1. I agree with you Mary (maybe we’ll hear from some of them too!)

  2. Going to far? Hmmmm…I don’t think so. Feels to me like ‘taking the leap’! And I believe you will fly!

    1. I heard a minister say once that you need to crawl way out on a limb of faith and pray that God grows a tree under you, …but I think that I like the idea of wings a lot better …thanks so much Kathye!

  3. There is nothing like a deadline bearing down on me that makes me get the work done! – I love the idea of this challenge – and where it could lead. It brings to mind a quote that was a life changer for me…

    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
    Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von

    1. Thank you Lynne for that quote and your encouragement…I love the idea of this challenge too!

  4. Dear Mary…indeed, go for it! Jack and the critters can be your support group, providing food,(well, actually food would be Jack’s department since I don’t think crunchies or feline morsels would provide the best nibbles), cheers and good will. And of course the flock will be there with you in spirit. You have a wonderful writing style and a delightful sense of the sublime. I’d love to read any novel you create!

    1. Thank you Debra (Jack is on-board too!)…when I first told him about it he said, “Enter. I’ll even pay for it.I think it’s a great idea.”

  5. “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”. T. S. Eliot
    All I can say to thisis…. if you don’t try, you won’t know if you can succeed. No experience is lost. When I was 43, a friend, who was photographing my textile work for an exhibit, said when he was finished: “you really ought to consider going to art college”. I immediately thought of all the reasons I shouldn’t…but the next morning before my feet hit the floor the thought struck me that if I never tried, I’d never know if I might have had a chance of being accepted at art college. Timing, helped. Student interviews were coming up the following month. I set up an appt;, the first two instructors to review my work looked as though there might be something slightly ‘off’ beneath their noses; the third, looked at my work, asked what I hoped to study if accepted, set up an appt. with the design dept. head; I was accepted. Maybe I filled their quota of older students but it was the best experience I’ve evern had in my life and I’m so grateful that some little voice inside my head said: TRY. I’ve always learned more from negative experiences in my life, painful as some have been, than positive ones although positive ones are a great bonus for my ego. The sum total of it is, go for it Mary if it’s something that you’d like to try out. What do you have to loose?

  6. Mary, if the thought of doing this makes you feel challenged and excited, then do it. Your posts are so good, I know you can carry that over into this! No matter the outcome, it will change you in some way, stretch you further, open you to another rung on the ladder. Nothing to lose here! And you’ve got your flock right beside you.

    1. those are the feelings Suzanne, and I can feel the support behind me…a lovely feeling indeed!

  7. Do it!!!!!
    A friend of mine once did a writer’s novel workshop like this that our home town held. Afterward she told me that it ‘absolutely turned my brain inside out and that is EXACTLY the exercise my brain needed to give it a good stretch.’
    I think every author should give their brain this kind of workout on a regular basis.

    “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~Sylvia Plath~

    1. what a great way to look at an exercise like this….stretching the brain! Just wonderful,…thank you Catherine

  8. Absolutely go for it Mary, you’ll shine. Like Mary S. said there are other members of the flock who should also join in – I see so much talent here.

    1. I see a lot of talent here too (and thanks so much for your encouragement Myrna!)

  9. Looks like you have the whole flock behind you Mary! We’ll be the wind beneath your wings as you soar to new creative highs! So this contest has been going on since 1977? I was thinking about how quickly our fingers can run over the keyboards now – hardly the old clunky typewriters of high school years – and many writers prefer still the pure blank page staring at them as they await the Muse. And writing by hand. What do you prefer Mary?

    1. I think I’ll be on my little Mac book…thanks Susan for the encouragement!

  10. There’s another one out there where you have to write so much each month and submit sometime in Sept. A friend of mine did it and it got me going to the point where last year I started my 1st serious try at writing. After a death in the family, serious illness with hubby, and a heart attack of my own, I’m once again contemplating another try at a new story lineDoing research into some of it already, so who knows! Good Luck Mary, Love your Blog so I’m sure it will be a fantastic journey for you!

    1. Thank you and I’m sending the “good luck” wishes, right back your way Chip!

  11. This, too, began as a dare—Write a six word short story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. The result: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
    Ernest Hemingway took that challenge and wrote what he thought was possibly his best work. Go, Mary, go!!

    1. I must say that I love this Cheryl…and even the words, “took the challenge” feel like an opening to me, thank you

  12. I’m sure you can do, Mary!

    I might try something informally. At best it would be a novella. More likely a short story. Labor Day weekend is very busy here in Vacationland.

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