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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

Two men killed in Hwy 3 collision west of Castlegar

The single-vehicle incident happened Thursday morning

Nelson considering new Hall Street pier as part of COVID-19 economic stimulus plan

Pier needs replacing, with possible designed public space added

Central Mountain Air to offer flights out of Castlegar

The company will be offering Castlegar to Vancouver flights October 1.

Health ministry to hire 33 new practitioners for Kootenay Boundary

Over 15,000 people in the region don’t have access to a primary care provider

Housing situation in RDCK very difficult, says report

One in five RDCK households are living in homes costing nearly a third of their income

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

In the last year, 104 cuts have been approved near Revelstoke in caribou habitat

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Most Read