Can you write a novel in…

Can you write a novel in…

By Jennifer St. Clair Bush
Poetry Moderator

©2001, Jennifer St. Clair Bush 

This year I participated in the 3-day novel contest held by Anvil Press. Compared to that, the Book in a Week and the Book in a Month contests look tame, but they might be just the things to get you up to speed. Participating in these contests might not net you an immediately publishable novel or short story, but it will allow you to write on a deadline and see how well you do. If you decide to participate in any of these contests, drop a note on the Forward Motion Discussion Board  so the community can give you virtual support! ( 

November is National Novel Writing Month, and there's a contest to match:

 National Novel Writing Month Contest Nov. 1-30, 2001

Participants try to complete a 50,000 word, or 200 page, novel in one month. There are no prizes, other than the satisfaction of finishing the work. Last year the contest drew over 140 participants, but only 29 crossed the finish line! That's not a very good finish rate, but I'm sure it will be better this year. There are already quite a few people signed up. It costs nothing to join, and you can post your word count throughout the contest. 

People from Forward Motion who are taking part in this year's run (drop by the Discussion Board to see us complain... see how we're doing!)

Jennifer St. Clair Bush

Robert Sloan


Lazette Gifford

Julia Pass

Fiona Shearer-Hann

Caroline Allard

May-Lee Sia

Nick Bronson

Crista Rucker

Vicki McElfresh

Gayle Garrod

Kent Jensen

Deb Osorio

The 3-Day Novel Contest, held over Labor Day. Next contest: Labor Day weekend 2002.

More details can be found at 

Participants in this contest try to complete a novel in three days. The Grand Prize Winner is published by Anvil Press, and there are cash prizes as well -- and a large turnout. The contest entry fee is $25. The average page count for submissions is 100, so that’s a fairly short novel to write in 3 days. Last year there were over 500 manuscripts turned in at the end of the weekend. Very large turnout!

The Book in a Week Writing Challenge

Painted Rock Writers' Colony holds a Book in a Week (BIW) writing challenge at the beginning of each month. The person who has written the most pages at the end of that week wins a prize. 

For those of you interested in short stories more than novels, there's also a

24-hour short story contest:

There's a limit of 400 participants per contest and $5 entry fee.  The contest offers cash prizes as well as books. They supply the topic, and you write a story to fit the subject matter. The story has to be written in the contest time frame. Hmm, this might be one to enter! The site does say that the contest fills up fast, but check out those prizes to see why! The next contest begins Jan. 26, 2002.