Ok...first, I must confess that I am a reality TV fan. Ok, don't shoot me or call 911 just yet. I have my favorites and can live without the rest. For me, the hit TV show Survivor has reigned supreme since it's inception. And I will even admit to following along with The Amazing Race for a few seasons--especially when Rob and Amber from Survivor were on. And I'm an Idol Fan--Canadian and American. And yes, I voted for Eva Avila!
Reality shows are big! And they're addictive.
But there's a new kid in town! A new kind of "Survivor". And it's one I can identify with.
The 3-Day Novel Contest: The Series. "12 Writers, 12 Novels, 72 Hours".
The 3-Day Novel contest is the most grueling challenge a writer can face. I've heard it be said that one would have to be "crazy" to want to submit themselves to that kind of mental anguish and stress. Well, grab me a straightjacket! Purple preferably.
Last September, over the Labour Day weekend, 12 contestants gathered together at the South Point Chapters in Edmonton, Alberta, which by the way is the same store that will be hosting my Whale Song Book Launch in April. (See? I knew I could segue that in!)
I had entered the contest last year and applied to be a contestant, but (maybe mercifully) was not selected to participate. Instead, I appeared on the new TV reality show series, A Total Write-Off, which was a total blast. However, I did attend last night's special screening of the first episode of the 3-Day Novel Contest reality show, which premieres on BookTelevision, one of my sponsors for the Whale Song Book Launch (segue #2), on Sundays at 7:30 MT/9:30 ET.
In the back of South Point Chapters, rows of chairs were set up in front of a big screen TV and we enjoyed an excellent array of catered munchies. And then the show began with an introduction from Tate, the show's producer.
My first impression was: Wow, awesome photography and a great mix of suspenseful music! My second impression was: Oh my God...what those poor people endured!
Well, since I won't be giving away much here, you're just going to have to check it out for yourselves. This aint your momma's reality TV show...and it aint for woosies!
Ok, so there weren't the physical challenges, like running an obstacle course as in Survivor or racing through a muddy swamp as in The Amazing Race. But the mental challenges that faced these writers are not to be taken lightly.
Imagine trying to write a novel in three days.
Imagine living with 12 other people (ok, Big Brother move over!) while trying to write.
Imagine sleeping in bunk beds in one room...with a snorer, or two. (They have no idea what life would have been like if I had been accepted because apparently--although I will deny it--I snore like a forest filled with logging trucks.)
Imagine being in a huge bookstore overnight that is haunted by a ghost! Hey, the people working there claim it's a co-worker who passed on and doesn't like people disturbing the books. So she knocks them off the shelves herself every now and then and unplugs the vacuums just to be mischievous.
Imagine staring at a blank computer screen, waiting for the right words...any words...one word.
And imagine sitting next to someone who constantly hummed (and not in tune apparently) while working. (Ok, another reason why they should be damned happy I wasn't accepted...but at least I can hum and sing in tune! And you know who else can sing in tune? The wonderful, fabulous Alexia Melnychuk, who will be performing at my Whale Song Book Launch on April 7, 2007...yup, another segue.)
Meet the 12 contestants of the 3-Day Novel Contest: The Series
* Timothy Anderson, a "starving artist", student and published novelist, worked on a novel titled Juggernaut. I'm thinking that Timothy may have reeked a little havoc on his fellow writers...a bit of troublemaker, perhaps? Guess we'll have to watch and see.
* Ali Riley, a community rehab worker and book reviewer (hmmm, maybe I can get her to review Whale Song) from Nanton, AB, wrote a novel titled Hag. This is one witty woman!
* Darren Zenko, a freelance writer and radio host/DJ (If you interview me on your radio show I'll give away a copy of Whale Song:) from Edmonton, AB, who wrote a novel titled The Perpendiculars. This young man has a penchant for drinking out of goblets--and I don't think it was water!
* Catherine Ford, a retired journalist for the Calgary Herald from Calgary, AB, wrote The Pine Street Conspiracy. Now she knows how to write a 25-word tagline or synopsis!
* Tyler Morency, a copy editor, proofreader and journalist from Edmonton, AB, wrote The Strange Ballad of Curtis Aberdeen. He's the young puppy of the group.
* Mar'ce Merrell, a writing teacher and children's chapter book author from Edmonton, AB, wrote Drive Carefully. Entering this contest was her 40th birthday gift to herself (uh, Mar'ce, you may want to try a root canal next time; it may be less painful and stress free :)
* Felicia Pacentrilli, a student, poet and actor from Calgary, AB, wrote Quote Me. This bubbly redhead had never entered this contest before.
* Mark John Hiemstra, a cook and avid blogger from Jasper, AB, wrote The Most Beautiful Noose. Here is a guy who has risen above a past of drugs and living on the street. KUDOS, Mark John!
* Jill Battson, a poet born in the UK who now resides in Guelph, ON, wrote The Design of Everyday Things. This woman is one tough cookie!
* Wayne Arthurson, a writer and published novelist from Edmonton, AB, wrote Fuzzy Logic. This guy's done everything from working as a security guard to a house painter to a clown and a punk rock drummer.
* Laura Kjolby, a graphic artist from Vanocuver, BC, wrote Cured. I'm wondering if it's the story of a writer who entered a grueling writing competition and decided never to do it again.
* Ron Yamauchi states his profession as a Crown representative. This "ex-punk musician/government officer/freelance critic" from Vancouver, BC, wrote MEOW: A Thriller on Four Legs. He has attempted the 3-Day Novel contest twice in the past.
And then there are the three judges: Todd Babiuk, a novelist and journalist for the Edmonton Journal; Jenn Farrell, author, freelance writer and editor; and Minister Faust, author and freelance writer.
And last but not least, the host of the show, Kim Clarke Champniss, whose successes include being cast in the role of the alien child in the sci-fi classic Village of the Damned, managing the band Images in Vogue, and interviewing varaious bands such as U2 and The Sex Pistols.
On behalf of the viewers who were invited to this private screening, thanks to Rachel Sentes, the wonderful manager of Chapters South Point. This gal knows how to put on an EVENT! I don't know where she gets her energy, but as an author who's had the pleasure of working with her, I admire her dedication to everything she plans. I can't wait until my book launch! Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, it's the Whale Song Book Launch, held at Chapters South Point, Edmonton, AB, on April 7th from 7:00 - 9:30 pm. It's going to be Edmonton's BIGGEST and BEST BOOK LAUNCH ever!
For more information on air dates and times for the 3-Day Novel series, please go here.
View the trailer here.
Don't forget to check out my new website for information about my Whale Song Book Launch!
And for those of you who just can't get enough of reality TV, be sure to check out my fellow Kunati author Derek Armstrong and his tongue-in-cheek thriller The Game, a novel that takes a hard look at reality TV.