3DNC Journal!

This was the second year in a row that members of Ekphrasis either participated in the international Three-Day Novel Contest or at least used Labor Day weekend as an intensive writing retreat. You can read last year’s journal here. This year, here’s what we were up to:

Betsy G generously offered her cabin as a retreat site again, and she, Sharon, Marian, and I were there at various points during the weekend.

Betsy finished writing Dragonhoard, which she began exactly one year ago. It is a young adult novel — a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” and it is 40,624 long, with twenty chapters and an epilogue.

Marian finished writing Aakroveil, a fantasy novel with twenty-nine chapters and an epilogue; it’s 100,314 words long.

Sharon wrote an entire play in two days! It is a two-act entitled Rifton Diner, and it’s 17,447 words in length.

Andrew worked on Lullaby, a novel he began last year, and also on Noose, an epic steampunk fantasy with eight point-of-view characters.

Stephanie worked from home on a new novel.

Jeff had to be at his job all weekend, but continues to work on revising The Pale of the Sun, last year’s 3DNC novella.

I almost finished doing a major revision job on The Four Senses, last year’s 3DNC attempt. It now has thirty-seven chapters; 102,200 words. I’ll soon be looking for beta readers, so let me know if you’re interested! (I will also schedule a full read-through soon, so stay tuned for news of that).

And please attend our meetings if you want to hear some of these works read aloud.

What follows is the journal kept at The Coffee Pot, the cabin where some of us were. I recommend caution while reading this; it may be hazardous to your health!

Transcript: 3-Day Novel Contest Journal, 2014

11:45 – Arrived and got set up. Mrs. Gahman provided Beatrix Potter sheets! –SPBG
12:00 – Writing time! –SPBG
12:15 – Sunshine on the water is proving to be very distracting. –B
2:41 – Picked wildflowers & scouted out wild grapes. Sharon isn’t being as ‘militant’ this year! –B
4:30 – We decided that we aren’t as interesting – just the two of us – next year it must be the Four Musketeers! –SPBG
5:25 – Watched a wood-bore struggle helplessly as it slowly roasted to death in the fire. –B
“You will munch no more!” (Direct quote from B while she glared at the flames). –SPBG
5:30 – “How do you spell ‘Protestant’?” (Sharon) –B
Betsy magnanimously forgives me for not knowing how to spell Protestant (and probably magnanimous as       well, or at least I hope) and for having to use the bathroom all the time. –SPBG
5:59 – I’m sick of thanksgiving! –SPBG
7:15 – “What is a common Wild West name for a man? Bill! Bill works.” –B
7:32 – 30,000 words! –B
8:01 – Yoga time! –B
8:57 – Listening to the Star Wars cantina music. –B
9:30 – Sharon finished 1st half and gets ready for bed! –SPBG
9:40 – Betsy finished Oberon’s vest. Bedtime. –B

7:30 – Internet hunting –SPBG
Nevermind. –SPBG
8:40 – “Marriage is a destroyer of friendships.” (Direct quote from Rifton) –B
10:00-11:00 – Internet search –found at Dunkin Donuts, determined Sharon wasn’t that nice because she only paid for Betsy’s coffee. –SPBG
11:40 – After Betsy offered me shampoo – “I probably won’t because I hate bathing.” –SPBG
3:00 – Betsy caught a dozen crayfish to put on Hob-Goblin’s costume. Not – the costume part. –SPBG
3:30 – Sharon decided that next year she would be militant again – making it a bi-annual attitude. –SPBG
5:30 – We grill chicken & cook carrots in the fire – we are gourmets! –SPBG
7:00 – Sharon stares down a bear – Betsy runs after it with a camera. –SPBG
7:15 – Betsy saw said bear but wasn’t able to snap a photo. –B
8:10 – Finished 1st draft of Rifton! –SPBG
8:15 – Decided we need Christian LARPing. –SPBG
10:03 – After deciding not to stay up late, we proceeded to watch HTTYD [How To Train Your Dragon], while Betsy sewed and Sharon edited Rifton. –B

3:00 [am] – Bear tries to break in. –SPBG
3:15 – Betsy declares her hair is keeping her up. –SPBG
7:03 – Both of us get moving; very bleary-eyed; overactive imaginations kept us awake after the bear left. –B
11:09 – Finished Dragonhoard! –B
11:24 – We decide Sharon should get a selfie with the bear. –B
12:16 – Waiting for Marian. –B
12:30 – Sharon promised to have better handwriting. –SPBG
1:30 – Betsy found a beautiful worm and decided it should go on a hook – alas, she found no fishing equipment. –SPBG
2:00 – Marian’s here! –B10603535_700399110030948_5196494214912980204_n
2:15 – Betsy forgives Sharon again for – something. –SPBG
3:15 – Marian decides we need to kill Betsy’s conscience. –M
3:40 – Betsy & Sharon argue about fishing –SPBG
3:41 – “The chipmunk is pregnant: it has a baby in each cheek.” (direct quote from Sharon) –B
4:20 – Sharon left. L -B
4:30 – Left in search of extension cords. –B
5:39 – Returned w/ extension cords & PIZZA! –B
6:00 – Marian cheers for “funky bunttuns.” –B
6:38 – Marian actually gets some writing done! And laments her sappiness. –M
6:40 – Marian and Betsy have a bonding moment where Betsy reveals she can be inappropriate around Marian because she won’t judge her. –M
7:01 – Marian breaks the 90,000 word mark! –M
7:58 – We discuss Dorian’s awkwardness. –B

8:33 – The caffeine contained in an entire Monster is not powerful enough to keep me awake. –B
9:19 – Betsy has gone to bed, but I (I’m tired of writing in the third person.) am still writing. I’ve finished chapter 27. Does this book ever end? –M
10:37 – I’m done writing for the night. I’ve gotten quite tired. But I wrote 2,593 words today. Not bad for me. Bed… -M

6:50 – Contacts in, fire started, Marian still slumbering, off to do devotions. –B
9:50 – Went for more drinking water. –B
10:15 – Dominion time! –B
10:40 – Marian names a caterpillar Melvin. –B10355385_700399303364262_109022656870513689_n
10:45 – Betsy sacrifices a Beggar on her Alter. –B
10:54 – Marian does the same. –B
11:15 – Dominion scores


+ 6

11:20 – Time to get to work! –B
12:20 – Clean hair! –B
1:00 – Found out Sharon & Sorina are coming to visit!!! –B
1:14 – I’m super hyper from all the caffeine. I might need to take an improve dance break. Why is writing a thing? –MJB
1:16 – Marian fears that the crayfish will steal her soul. –B
2:40 – Betsy assists Marian in washing her hair. The things friends do for each other. –M
2:52 – Marian is an amazing person and gave me a back-rub. –B
3:12 – Sharon & Sorina arrive! –B

3:24 – Back to work! –SPBG
3:26 – “She’s wearing her underwear. Why, aren’t you?” “I’m not wearing her underwear…” –M
3:2?We’re going to kill all the ugly things. –M
3:3? SH: “What are the first two instruments you think of when I say ‘symphony orchestra’?”
B: “Violin.”
M: “Tuba.” –SPBG
3:58 – Marian doesn’t want to marry Robbie. –SPBG
4: 26 – “What do you call a man who has a lot of muscle?” “…muscular?” –M
5:54 – Sorina’s book, “A Ready-made Grave”, is a best seller – they’re all sold out – there are no copies. –SPBG
6:50 – Sorina & Sharon left. Some work got done. It was great fun. –B
8:09 – Marian immerses herself in the gore of war. –B
9:00 – “You sang a hymn and now I’m singing Doris Day…” (Betsy to Marian) –B
9:00 – We had a lovely break out by the beautiful fire. We sang and chatted as we watched the dancing flames.
10:00 – Betsy has gone to bed, but I’m still writing. It’s unfortunate that I do my best writing at this late hour. I’m listening to The Village soundtrack which is super inspiring. Still in the battle scene. SIGH. –M
10:46 – Draven is dead! Eeeek! –M
11:36 – Betsy terrifies Marian by appearing suddenly on the couch. (Marian had headphones in and was very surprised). Betsy apparently was really hot and couldn’t sleep. Marian inquires as to whether Betsy is ill since she seems a little delirious. Betsy says no. Marian asks if she needs water. Again, Betsy rejects this. Then Marian suggests Betsy changes from her long-sleeved thermal and sweatpants into short sleeves and shorts. Betsy feels stupid at this obvious solution and retreats back to the bedroom. Marian saves the day and Betsy’s sleep yeah! –M

1:01 [am] – I can’t believe it…I’m in the epilogue. I literally have a few more pages to write. But I’m tired and will probably write better in the morning after I get some sleep. I can’t believe how close I am. I wrote 6,062 words today which is a personal record. Goodnight. –M
7:19 – We’re both up & pretty groggy. Had to tell the mice in the ceiling to be quiet at 4:40 this morning. Fire & coffee are going, so life is good. –B
9:07 – Finished preliminary edits to Dragonhoard. –B
9:51 – Finished first draft of Aakroveil!!! –M
10:02 – Cleanup commences. –B
10:18 – M: “I love donuts. I love bad things.” B: “Like you love bad men. What is it with you and bad things, Marian?” M: “I know. Give me a bad boy with a donut and I’m sold. Like this.” *imitates a bad boy resting against a door-post suggestively eating a donut* M: “Man, I want a poster.” –M
11:06 – All cleaned up and ready to go! After a minor heart-attack, my car started and we were able to head home! What a great weekend. –B



About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."

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