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3-Day Novel: Bleeding at the typewriter

All week we've been looking into the 3-Day Novel Contest, a decades long tradition that yearly engages writers in a 72-hour sprint towards a completed novel. 

Yesterday we presented a list of survival tips by former winners. We thought if might be interesting to hear from novices as well—men and women who have risen to the challenge and decided to fight the frustration and fatigue in the hopes of coming out with a complete manuscript.

Today we speak with Sheldon Seigel about his regimen of sit-ups, jumping jacks and high-speed motorcycle racing, as well as the characters he plans on inviting to the party.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m tall, dark, and handsome. Some say mysterious. I wear my Fedora slightly tilted toward my left eye.

What do you write?
Cheques, mostly.

What made you decide to sign up for the 3-Day Novel Contest?
I have self-destructive tendencies. And a penchant for growth.

Do you know what you will be writing about?
"Know" is a funny word. I have an idea who I've invited to the party. What they do when they get there is anyone’s guess. What it turns out to be about may be outside of my control.

Do you have characters in mind? An outline? An ending?
Characters, yes. Nick is in jail. Lenny is in a wheelchair. Jenn’s too precocious for her own good. Laura’s bound for the witness protection program. Ben has newly outed himself and is gunning for Arthur. Arthur is the heavy. Outline? Nope. Ending? That’s a pretty good idea. I should write that down. Sure, I’ll have an ending.

What else have you done to prepare for the 72 hour task? 
I've been following a carefully prepared regime of sit-ups, jumping jacks, high-speed motorcycle racing, and mind-bending fantasy football. I've also been studying the drawings of Ralph Steadman and eating a mostly hydrogen-free diet.

How do you plan to stay focused?
I've given specific instructions to my dog Cruiser to give me the eye if I seem comfortable or complacent or particularly prolific. He’s also been trained to identify abscesses of alliterations.

What do you expect will be the hardest thing about this experience?
Is it going to be hard? Nobody told me it was going to be hard.

What do you hope to accomplish by participating in this competition?
I’ll write a novel that I otherwise would not have written. That should be enough. But I’ll also measure myself against others who will do the same. And catch up on some sorely needed stress.

Do you generally have trouble finding the time to write? 
That’s the thing about writing cheques. If you don’t do it, they come looking for you. There are only two things in life: doing, and writing. I try to give each activity proper representation.

What was the best writing advice you were given?
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingstein said that. He didn't say it to me. But I took it anyway.

Sheldon Seigel has the following:

LLB degree
BFA (writing) in progress
Too many years-not enough time
Worked some
Written some
Read some
Did stuff
Been places
Big plans for the future

For information how you can participate in this year's competition, visit http://www.3daynovel.com/


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