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

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

Public meeting Wednesday to discuss Cottonwood Lake logging

Concerned citizens have invited experts and politicians

Allison Girvan named Nelson’s 2019 cultural ambassador

Singer, performer, director, choral arranger has distinguished herself nationally

Free shuttle running at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Parking and main access have been ongoing challenges since KBRH construction began in October

Snowfall warning issued for Kootenay passes

Up to 35 cm of snow expected Monday night and Tuesday.

Business Buzz: The Buzz is Back in Nelson

Bob Hall is a volunteer director on the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Most Read