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

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Moose tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northwest Montana

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana

Nelson receives over $400,000 in gaming grants

The annual funds are handed out to non-profit sports and arts organizations

Kootenay Patricks assemble to take on Montreal Canadiens alumni

The charity game takes place Jan. 23 in Nelson

Nelson council members display their October household plastic

The initiative was part of plastic awareness month

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

Grand Forks residents protest on bridge to call for ‘fair’ compensation after 2018 floods

Demonstrators also criticized how long it has taken to be offered land deals

B.C. taxi drivers no longer exempt from wearing a seatbelt

Before, taxi drivers were allowed to forego a seatbelt when driving under 70 kilometres an hour

Car dash covered in papers not an excuse for speeding, Delta police warn

After pulling driver over for speeding, police found his speedometer blocked by a stack of papers

B.C. woman seeks return of jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was stolen from a storage locker

Vancouver police officer charged with sexual assault in apparent off-duty incident

Jagraj Roger Berar, 51, of Surrey, charged in incident alleged to have happened in Whistler

Most Read