LVR students had to write and edit one story for 24 hours inside the high school with no internet or phone access. Photo: Tyler Harper

LVR students had to write and edit one story for 24 hours inside the high school with no internet or phone access. Photo: Tyler Harper

VIDEO: LVR students take on 24-hour short-story challenge

Young writers had one day to write a story while camped out inside the high school library

By hour two, Amy Schellenberg had her story idea. By hour seven, she knew how it would end.

Of course, that still left her 17 hours to write a suspense tale about a protagonist who killed her attacker but was now once again being pursued.

Spoiler alert: “She’s going to die,” said Schellenberg, who was wearing pyjamas and sitting hunched over her story in a darkened part of the L.V. Rogers library that on this night included sleeping bags, an elaborate blanket fort and the pecking of keyboards among the stacks of books.

Schellenberg was one of 25 students participating in the school’s annual 24-hour writing contest this month. The competition required students to write while being sequestered in the high school without phone or internet access.

LVR English teacher Kari Kroker said the contest originated eight years ago with an idea from Nelson librarian Anne DeGrace.

“Writing is pretty solitary, so it’s nice to have a community of writers,” said Kroker. “I don’t think kids have that opportunity as much as they would like, so we try to build that writing community here.”

The contest is popular at LVR. Kroker said there’s a wait list of eager wordsmiths, many of whom don’t understand the challenge they are signing up for.

“Staying up for 24 hours is really hard and I don’t recommend it,” said Kroker. “They tend to nod off on their computer. A few kids have hit the delete button while they are sleeping and erased their entire story. Every year someone loses their whole story and has to start again the next morning.”

Kroker also adds a number of twists to make the writing more than just a literary endurance race.

This year, students in grades 9 and 10 had to end their 1,000-word stories with the final line from Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, while Grade 11 to 12 students were required to write 1,500 words and conclude with the last sentence from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Selkirk College creative writing students then visited the school at 7 p.m. to provide editing suggestions. The LVR writers were surprised yet again later in the evening by another visitor who made them add in a specific object to their plots.

Once it’s all done, the stories are critiqued and a few are selected to be judged by local author Roz Nay. There are $100 prizes for first-place winners, and $50 for second place.

Jaime Lord, who teaches Grade 9-10 English, said she is always surprised by the quality of the finished stories.

“Every year, I’m just amazed at what they come up with,” she said. “They are beautiful stories, better than I could write myself. Sometimes I’m intimidated when I read their stories at the end because they are so thoughtful and insightful and beautiful.”

But at this point, Schellenberg wasn’t finished writing. A Selkirk student had advised her to cut down on a particular pronoun and to make her writing more direct.

At some point, she also needed to sleep.

“I’m tired,” she said. “There’s a lot more coming, so it’s going to be fun.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Creative writing students from Selkirk College dropped in to provide feedback during the annual contest. Photo: Tyler Harper

Creative writing students from Selkirk College dropped in to provide feedback during the annual contest. Photo: Tyler Harper

L.V. Rogers students work on stories in a makeshift blanket fort during the high school’s 24-hour writing competition. Photo: Tyler Harper

L.V. Rogers students work on stories in a makeshift blanket fort during the high school’s 24-hour writing competition. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Nelson City Council decided against granting a backyard chickens exemption to a Rosemont resident at its June 15 meeting. Photo: Zachariah Smith/ Unsplash
Nelson council says no to backyard chickens

Chickens attract bears and rats, say experts

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

We are serious journalists.
VIDEO: Wednesday Roundup

Tyler and Bill talk about chickens, sled dogs and other newsy news

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read