Thoughts on the 2012 3-Day Novel Contest

by syaffolee

While sensible people relaxed on Labor Day Weekend, I got sleep deprived and stressed out because I had signed up for the 3-Day Novel Contest, a weekend long writing marathon of madness. I’ve done this for a couple years now although this is only the second year in which I’ve officially entered and submitted a novel.

Was it worth it? Of course. I managed to churn out a manuscript in three days. Productivity-wise, it’s far better than sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. Because there’s this deadline, you have to write. There are no excuses.

However, I’m not expecting too much after I’ve submitted the manuscript. Looking at the previous winning entries, it looks like the judges prefer literary fiction. And my story is definitely not that. It’s straight up contemporary fantasy.

As for progress during those three days, I wrote quite a bit on days 2 and 3. The only thing I worried about was finishing on time because by then, the story had already solidified in my head. Day 1, however, was very problematic. Because I had neglected to do an outline beforehand, I spent my morning planning out a story. (It was a modern retelling of the fairy tale Twelve Dancing Princesses involving foodies and cross-dressing which I’ve been punting around for years now. I’ll get around to it, eventually.) But when I actually sat down to write, another story which had been brewing in the back of my mind for quite a while took over, and the outline I had been working on got set aside.

So, The Guardian of Tranquility Cove was finished at 11:57pm on Monday, September 3 with 31,700 words (137 pages in manuscript format). I came up with the title after I wrote the manuscript. It’s not brilliant but then again, the title isn’t deceptive either. The main character is a sea serpent shifter who lives in a small west coast seaside town called Tranquility Cove. She sells antiques and strange magical objects to unsuspecting tourists. But it’s very early on that she gets suckered into investigating incidents involving murderous mermaids.

This particular story had been floating around in my head and various scraps of paper ever since I had first visited Steveston, British Columbia about seven years ago. Steveston is the town on which Tranquility Cove is based. So I guess this year was the year that it finally got written.