Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Marathon Novel Writing On Writing

Win a Novel Marathon – We’ll Show You How!

The 20th Anniversary Muskoka Novel Marathon is this coming JULY!

The 20th Anniversary of the Muskoka Novel Marathon is Open for Registration! Save the Date: July 16 – 19, 2021

Have you ever thought about taking part in a novel writing marathon where you set aside a whole 72 hours to do nothing but write? It IS possible to have all or most of a first draft manuscript completed within that time period. I’ve done it several times. And if I can do it, anyone can.

Usually an in-person event, with meals and coffee and snacks and friendship and outings into the wild and into a lovely northern town, this year’s event is ALL VIRTUAL…thanks to the bitch known as THE NEVERENDING PANDEMIC.

So what this means to writers anywhere in the world, is that you too can attend the 20th anniversary marathon! There will be Zoom meetings throughout for bolstering, socializing, etc, etc, etc. And there is a coveted BEST NOVEL AWARD trophy. All manuscripts handed in at the end of the 72 hours are judged by a panel of industry professionals. They pick a BEST NOVEL out of both a child/youth category AND an adult category. Both of these BESTs move forward to a publisher for consideration and professional feedback.

On June 3rd I will be a panelist on a panel/lecture about putting your best foot forward during the writing period of the marathon…and winning that coveted BEST NOVEL AWARD. Joining me on the panel is Jennifer Turney and Shellie Westlake. Between the 3 of us, we have won 8 of the novel marathons…that’s just shy of HALF! We may have some tricks and insights to share with you in order to help you achieve that coveted win.

See above for the lecture’s description.

The Active Learning Centre in Huntsville, Ontario, where the Marathon usually takes place.

HOW TO WIN THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON is free to attend and it’s an online event in ZOOM. We’d love to have you aboard! Whether you’re registering for the marathon or not, I’m sure we’ll have some great advice to help you in your novel writing path.

Click HERE TO VISIT THE EVENT PAGE.

If you want to know more about the Muskoka Novel Marathon, you can CLICK THIS LINK RIGHT HERE! For 20 years writers in the Huntsville, Ontario region (MUSKOKA) have been assembling for a long weekend in JULY to write novels…but the main goal of the marathon–outside of the grossly beneficial writing time experienced by the writers–is a fundraiser. Each writer gets sponsors and we collect money for the literacy programs in the area. This is no small fundraiser…in the previous 19 years we have collected over $200,000.00 for these programs. By literacy, I don’t only mean those who struggle with reading and writing, but also new Canadians, ESL, computer literacy skills for elder students…the programs help SO MANY PEOPLE. We, the writers, are thrilled to be able to help in this small way to bring much needed funds to the YMCA literacy programs that help so many. We are writers helping readers.

2 happy MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON BEST NOVEL AWARD WINNERS – 2016 – Best YA Novel (Lori Hanson for Ned & Nora Stone), Best Adult Novel (Kevin Craig for I Will Tell The Night)

While I have you here, I will share my MNM profile page and my own fundraising page, if you’re so inclined to donate to this much needed cause:

MY MNM BIO PAGE WITH WINNING MANUSCRIPT INFO

MY DONATION PAGE FOR 2021

Join us on JUNE 3rd, 2021 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm for HOW TO WIN A MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON. Shellie, Jennifer, and I hope to see you there!

Categories
Literacy Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Novel Marathon On Writing Writing Writing Life Writing Retreat

It’s a Novel Writing Marathon – And You’re Invited!

It’s time, once again, to register for the annual MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON!

I have been attending this event for years! Pride Must Be A Place was written at a Muskoka Novel Marathon.

Every July, for 72 hours, a group of 40 or so writers have gotten together in the small but glorious northern Ontario town of Huntsville. Every July, they hole up in a space together and they each attempt to write a novel over the course of a three-day weekend.

THIS YEAR it’s the 20th Anniversary of this event!

Some of the 2017 Muskoka Novel Marathon writers!

Sadly, it’s also the 2nd year that the writers aren’t quite getting together. At least, not in the same way. Last year was our very first ONLINE EDITION. And this year will be our second online marathon.

There are AWARDS handed out for BEST NOVEL in Adult and Young Adult/Juvenile categories. A panel of industry judges reviews each of the manuscripts submitted at the end of the weekend. Invaluable feedback is given to each manuscript.

I’m not going to lie. IT’S NOT THE SAME. Imagine the energy of having 40 writers in one room together for 72 hours. It’s frenetic, it’s chaos, it’s practically euphoric. We help each other with plot bunnies and holes, we urge each other on, we tease and joke and laugh and cry. And we also break bread together…as we are served 3 meals a day. All we have to do is stop writing, leave our writing stations, and go to the mess hall for food. It’s all set out and ready for us hungry writers to dig into.

You just can’t get that online.

BUT…it’s still an amazing journey. Writers meet through Zoom frequently. We have smaller breakout groups. We support each other. We even have silent Zoom meets where all those who attend just quietly type out their words together. Trust me…those are super helpful. I got a lot of words down during the silent Zooms. I didn’t think it would work, but it did.

The gorgeous dock at the in-person event space. Sadly, we will miss this in 2021…but it’s there waiting for next year!

We make the best with what we have. What we have during this pandemic is online camaraderie.

The good thing about ONLINE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON is that it’s open to more than the usual 40 writers…and you don’t have to travel to HUNTSVILLE to attend! You can register and participate online in the comfort of your own writing space! AND you can be from anywhere in the world.

So think about spending a productive writing weekend with a group of writers dead-set on writing an entire novel in 72 hours.

The details (from the MNM website):

The 20th Anniversary of the Muskoka Novel Marathon is Open for Registration!
Save the Date: July 16 – 19, 2021

Due to the on-going situation with the pandemic, we will be holding our second (and hopefully last) all online Muskoka Novel Marathon. Join us for a ZOOM event. No seat limit! Tell all your friends!

This event is also a fundraiser for local (Muskoka) literacy programs. READ THE ABOUT PAGE HERE FOR ALL DETAILS AND HISTORY OF THIS EVENT.

There IS a nominal fee to register. This will cover all the expenses the organization incurs for organizing the event. Registration is $25 and there are also cool MNM T-shirts you can pick up if you wish.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Think about joining us this year. It’s so much fun to get online together and urge each other on! There’s also an evening during the weekend where anyone who wants to can read an excerpt from their MNM work-in-progress in a safe nonjudgmental environment.

You’ll have to make your own coffee…but what this organization puts together for this weekend is worth your attending. It got me through in 2020…and I’m looking forward to attending the 2021 event. It will be an opportunity to see old friends from previous MNM events…and meet new ones in this safe virtual creative space!

I’m guessing a good portion of my blog posts on this site are about the MNM. This will be, I think, my 13th marathon! I’ve written about many of them. Just search Muskoka Novel Marathon on this site to read more about it. And spend some time at their site:

MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WEBSITE

I hope you’ll join us for the 2021 marathon! Take advantage of this burst of creativity this July!

Categories
Duet Books Interlude Press Kevin Craig Museitup Museitup Publishing Muskoka Novel Marathon Pride Must Be A Place The Camino Club Young Adult Young Adult Fiction

Pride Must Be A Place Review…

For some unknown reason, My Google alerts chose today to send me an alert on a PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE review from July. Maybe Google knew I needed a boost in spirit?

Anyway, I’ve been talking so much about my recent release, THE CAMINO CLUB, that I sometimes forget how happy I was to have PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE published. I absolutely loved writing that story about the inception of a Gay Straight Alliance in a small town high school! I wrote half of Pride at the 2015 Muskoka Novel Marathon. Then, Michael and I stayed at his sister’s cottage for a week later on during that same July and I finished the manuscript. It was a fun ride!

Anyway, Google sent me an alert for a beautiful review of Pride that was posted at Muskoka Style Magazine in July. The reviewer, Kaitlyn Sutey, actually suggested it for a Pride Month read. It’s really a gorgeous review and it reminds me that I have written other books. We lose sight of that when we’re in the thick of publishing The Next Novel.

Click the photo from the article below to be taken to the review: Pride Must Be A Place, A Summer ReadIf you haven’t yet read PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE, you can pick it up at any of the below links (there’s also a link to Goodreads, where you can add it to your shelf and read what others are saying about Pride:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Depository | BookShop | Indigo-Chapters | IndieBound | WalMart USAGoodreads

While you’re here, I did just release a novel a week ago! The Camino Club, from Duet Books/Interlude Press, is now available everywhere!

Here’s what American Library Association’s BOOKLIST has to say about it:

Pick up your copy today at any of the following links!

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Depository | BookShop | Indigo-Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | Interlude Press/Duet Books | WalMart USA | Target | Blackwell’s (UK) | Booktopia (Aus) | APPLE Books | Goodreads

Categories
Best Young Adult Novel Best Young Adult Novel Award Honorable Mention Muskoka Novel Marathon Young Adult

Chapter One – One More from the Muskoka Novel Marathon!

The Muskoka Novel Marathon organization has posted another of my winning Chapter Ones! The Best Novel Award winner from 2010!

THAT’S ME IN THE CORNER is not yet published. It won Best Novel Award in 2010. I have never sought publication for this one. I haven’t even written a synopsis for it. In a nutshell, it’s about a group of friends who prepare for a trip to Kenya where one of the boys falls in love with a Kenyan boy. As homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, there are some issues that arise.

No book cover to share for this one. (-:

CLICK HERE TO READ CHAPTER ONE OF THAT’S ME IN THE CORNER ON THE MNM WEBSITE.

Categories
Best Young Adult Novel Best Young Adult Novel Award Muskoka Novel Marathon Young Adult Fiction

Another Chapter One From Muskoka Novel Marathon…

The Muskoka Novel Marathon people are posting CHAPTER ONE previews for the first 20 years of BEST NOVEL AWARD winners, as well as honorable mentions and runners-up. A few more of mine were shared recently on the MNM blog. Here’s one from one of my published novels. I will share the others (which remain unpublished) in another post. You can pick up HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN at Amazon (link below).

Half Dead & Fully Broken was written during the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon. It won BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL that year. If you click on the book cover, you can go to the MNM site and read CHAPTER ONE!

Here’s the SYNOPSIS: Carter Colby is the most unpopular teen at Jefferson High. This would be easier to deal with if his identical twin brother, Marcus, weren’t the hottest, most popular boy in school. When Marcus is killed in a motorcycle accident, Carter discovers the one thing more painful than trying to compete with Mr. Wonderful: wearing his dead brother’s face. He felt invisible before the accident, but with Marcus dead, everybody turns away from him in mourning. How can he blame them? He can’t bear to look in the mirror. When Carter begins to see Marcus’ ghost, Mr. Wonderful’s quest to save the world and spread happiness may not be over after all, even in death. Marcus knows that Justin Dewar, the boy who drove the truck that crashed into his motorbike, is struggling with the guilt of taking a life. Melanie, Marcus’ mourning best friend, was also hit hard by the tragedy. Marcus wants to make things right before it’s too late. With Marcus’ help, Carter experiences love and friendship for the first time in his life. But is Mr. Wonderful’s helping hand enough for Carter, Melanie, and Justin – three kids fully broken by the tragedy – to save one another?

CHAPTER ONE AT MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON

AMAZON – HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN

Categories
Chapter One Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Excerpt Novels Sebastian's Poet The Reasons

Read My 1st Chapters at Muskoka Novel Marathon Website!

As part of their First 20 Years Celebrations, the Muskoka Novel Marathon is featuring the 1st chapters of some of their previous BEST NOVEL AWARD winning novels, along with Honorary Mentions and Runners Up. In those 20 years I’ve been extremely fortunate to have won the BEST NOVEL AWARD five times! And I also had a few HMs and RsU.

2 of my CHAPTER ONEs have been featured to date. I’ll share the links here, if you want to drop by the MNM website for a read or two.

Both of these books are on AMAZON only. They were both originally published by MUSA PUBLISHING. When they closed their doors, I made the novels available on Amazon.

sebastianspoetSEBASTIAN’S POET was my very first Muskoka Marathon novel. I wrote it during a 48hr marathon in 2007. At that time, entrants were able to choose between 48hrs and 72hrs. I wasn’t comfortable giving 72 whole hours over to writing at the time. It felt to selfish of me to do so. So I only did the 48hr marathon that first year. In that time, I wrote the entire novel (I later bulked it up a bit, but I wrote it right to the ending at the marathon).

CLICK THIS LINK TO READ CHAPTER ONE!

CLICK THIS LINK TO VISIT THE BOOK ON AMAZON!

 

 

The-ReasonsTHE REASONS was my second year at the Muskoka Novel Marathon! I gave myself a break and wrote for the entire 72hrs for this one. The first year was a dizzying thrill-ride, but this second year really cemented my love for this form of novel writing. All in one sitting. It’s a spectacular to connect to a story in this magical way. No distractions…just done in one!

CLICK THIS LINK TO READ CHAPTER ONE!

CLICK THIS LINK TO VISIT THE BOOK ON AMAZON!

 

I’d like to take a moment to say a few words about the marathon. I’ve been doing it on and off now for 12 years. 40 writers meet in one room for 72hrs and write 40 novels. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that, CREATIVELY. It’s a yearly oasis for writers. The event happens every JULY in Huntsville, Ontario. The Marathon organizers feed us, allow us to sleep on the premises (where there are showers), and provide an endless stream of coffee. We become a family for 3 days every year. The family changes year to year, but the sentiments remain the same. It is literally the best thing that has ever happened for my creative life. I write books because of this amazing opportunity. If you’re a writer, you really should check it out. Registration usually costs $100.00 Canadian and it is SO worth it. Where else can you stay for three days, get fed 3 meals a day and sleep and shower and play and create all for $100.00? I’m not certain, but I believe the answer is nowhere. I am so grateful for what this organization and its lovely people have done for my writing life!

The marathon is also a fundraiser for local literacy programs provided by the YMCA. To date, the marathon has raised well over $200,000.00 for literacy. No small change! Every year, the writers are encouraged to collect sponsorship donations (donors get tax receipts).

Go directly to the MNM BLOG to read all of their posted CHAPTER ONEs.

Everyone wins with the Muskoka Novel Marathon. They are a blessing in so many ways.

The 20th Anniversary of the Muskoka Novel Marathon is coming soon!
Save the Date: July 16 – 19, 2021
Want to be kept in the loop so you can join us next year? Join their mailing list.

 

Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Marathon Novel Writing On Writing Writing Writing Camp Writing Life

My After-The-Marathon Post

This past weekend was the 2020 Muskoka Novel Marathon. It was the…wait for it…QUARANTINE EDITION. Cue the creepy crawling dark and dreary music…

QE-logo-200x300

The novel marathon is usually 40 writers getting together in one intimate space and writing 40 novels over the course of a 72 hours weekend in July. It occurs in Huntsville, Ontario, the heart of the Muskoka region. Cottage Country.

This year? Not so much. We sat in our own houses. We wrote on our own.

But the Marathon organizers did a SUPER FANTASTIC ABSOLUTELY AMAZING JOB motivating the housebound writers! They are to be commended for thinking outside the box during this, the year of impossibilities. Covid-19 changed EVERYTHING, including the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON.

I know we won’t raise as much money for the YMCA literacy programs this year. It’s pretty much a given. But writers still did their best, we still did some fundraising. Hopefully, we raise enough to keep some of the programs funded. The yearly injection of funds that the Y gets from this marathon is no small change. We often raise upwards of $30,000 per marathon year.

The other elements of this event, outside of the fundraising? The WRITING. The camaraderie. The silliness. The emotions. The food. The coffee. The love. The words. The sunshine and the rain. While in Huntsville every year, the writers usually sneak out to explore the town…either on their own or in groups. We have a pub night, we take the old fashioned train at the historical HERITAGE PLACE TRAIN STATION. We do an amazing BAREFOOT CREATIVITY WALK with BAREFOOT SUE! We do all these things and more. We are a family gone on a long weekend vacation together. 40 of us. We click and clack in the writing room day and night. We stop writing long enough to break bread together three times a day (Called to the kitchen by the flickering of the writing room lights and presented with delectable food for every meal provided by volunteers and sponsors). We huddle in small groups and large ones, talking about writerly and nonwriterly things. We do a MIDNIGHT READING on the SUNDAY NIGHT…sitting around a large table in the kitchen (let’s just call it a mess hall) reading the fresh unedited words from our manuscripts to the other gathered writers. We are, for 3 short days every year, a family.

Enter 2020.

MNM2020
A screenshot of yours truly during one of the MNM 2020 Quarantine Edition WRITING SPRINTS. I chopped out all the other little Brady Bunch ZOOM squares. Our screens were filled with writers writing…quietly together. ❤ It really works, people! Motivates!

We did ZOOM meetings this time around. We wore pajamas and goofy hats and ate together and laughed. It was different. It was very different. But thanks to the gracious and tireless organizing committee, our family found to a new way to be together…to reach out and share. We even did the Midnight Reading.

MUCH THANKS AND LOVE TO: Karen Wehrstein, Colum McKnight, Jennifer Turney, Heather Cotic, Krystyne Taylor-Smith, Shellie Westlake, Sharon Bacon, and, David Bruce Patterson. These generous souls brought our happy family together in a new and vibrant way. Much things have been cancelled during Covid-19. Thanks to this group who thought outside the box and made the changes necessary to keep our little light aflame. The MNM did not happen in Huntsville this year, no. But we carried on…we came…we wrote words. We persisted.

There’s always next year, right? HUNTSVILLE CAN WAIT.

See you there, MNM family!

Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon On Writing

Kill Him or Keep Him? When Manuscripts Act Up…

During the 2019 Muskoka Novel Marathon I wrote a novel that I titled The Époque of Ethan going in (I always start my novels by writing the title at the top of page one). I almost NEVER change the title after it’s chosen.

The novel is the story of two characters, Cooper who is the nonbinary love interest of the dead guy, and Topher, who is the dead guy’s best friend. I won’t make you guess the dead guy’s name. It was, wait for it…ETHAN.

I had Ethan dead prior to the beginning of the novel. He actually jumped from a highway overpass. It was messy. Topher witnessed it and suffered much trauma.

The truth about that jump? It was a prompt from the lovely Wayson Choy during one of his workshops at an old Ontario Writers’ Conference event. I can no longer remember the prompt, but I wrote this scene about the Topher character looking back to the jump and how it made them feel. I actually got to read it to the group during the course of the workshop. It felt like something I could use later. I liked that its origin story is WAYSON.

Fast forward maybe eight or ten years later. I finally wrote 50,000 words of the story at the novel marathon last year. And I’ve been struggling with it ever since.

I rewrote a version where Ethan doesn’t die. He takes pills and ends up in the hospital. But I struggled with that one too.

Recently, Michael said, “Why don’t you make him disappear?” Or something to that effect. So now, I’m going through and rewriting AGAIN. This time Topher and Cooper don’t know if Ethan is dead or alive. The authorities assume he’s dead after some time passes, but the characters don’t know. They don’t want to lose hope. The story is really about what Ethan (disappeared or dead) reveals to them about why he made the choices he made.

Oh wait! I began with the TITLE and how I went into the marathon with the title The Époque of Ethan. Well, scrap that. After a short discussion mid-marathon with a fellow marathoner, the book (as of yet not fully written) was renamed. Say hello to the new title, mid-marathon!

No Visible Damage. Tada! The fellow marathoner that helped me come up with the title–which was a line from the novel that Topher used incidentally and then reflected, ‘that would be a great name for a band’–was Colum McKnight. Not only did he steer the ship that changed the title, but he later went down to the village with a broomstick in his hands…wait, no. Oops. He went down to the village–the town–and had the title magically lasered into one of the bookmarks we were all given. It was official! Just like that, The Époque of Ethan became No Visible Damage. Done deal.

At that point, Ethan was still very much dead. There was a funeral and everything. I can attest to that.

Fast forward a few months and I have this niggling feeling that Ethan maybe shouldn’t die. First rewrite ensues. Hospital scenes. Rewrite everything to fit the change.

Fast forward almost an entire year after struggling to come up with an ending, while preparing my upcoming novel release for its big debut. No go. The ending eludes me. Whether he’s dead or in the hospital, I just can’t make it work.

Bang. Michael makes a comment about a disappearance. Dead or alive? Who knows? No one. Not the reader, not the characters. No one.

Another rewrite. YAY.

Oh. And, guess what? Another title change. It had to be.

Welcome to Where oh Where is Ethan Sinclair? I feel like it’s sacrosanct to change the title again, but I also feel like I can’t NOT change the title again. I mean, the title is literally written in stone. I mean, it’s not stone, but it is leather. I mean, well, not leather, but a fake leathery thing. It’s written in a bookmark. Sorry, Colum.

All this to say WRITERS STRUGGLE EVERY DAY. All we want to do is get the story right. I’m working my way towards the end of what’s written in the manuscript again. Not the ENDING, just the stopping point where I’ve been stuck. This time there’s another plot point wrapping itself throughout. Is Ethan dead or alive? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out if the train keeps on moving past the previous stop point. At any rate, this ranty post is just here to show you how hard it can sometimes get.

Don’t think for a second I threw the whole Époque of Ethan thing out the window, because I didn’t. I refused to. It became the name of Ethan’s blog, which is how Ethan fills the two main characters in on things in his absence.

I don’t know how this will play out. I really don’t. But I’m willing to find out. To be honest, a part of me has been full on pretending the novel is finished. I’m a great pretender.

Stick around. Maybe we’ll one day find out if I kill him or keep him. Or maybe it’ll be another manuscript for the Big Manuscript Burial Ground. One never knows.

(PS: The 2020 Muskoka Novel Marathon takes place July 17-20 and it’s a pandemic version. This means it’s online and anyone can register and participate. Writers should check it out! Just click these words!)

Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Writing On Writing Writing Camp Writing Life Writing Retreat

YOU TOO Can Participate in the 2020 Covid Inspired STAYATHOME Muskoka Novel Writing Marathon!

It’s time for the Muskoka Novel Marathon once again!

Presentation1

So, the marathon is different this year. It usually takes place in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada…in ONE ROOM. 40 writers gather for 72 hours and write 40 novels. But with the little pandemic and all, that’s not possible. This will be the first time it hasn’t happened since its inception 19 years ago. Tragic, yes. We DO LOVE OUR WEEKEND NOVEL WRITING GETAWAY IN PARADISE. It’s a highlight of the year for us regulars.

This year, anyone can participate. You can REGISTER HERE. If that link doesn’t work properly, you can click the clickable link to register on the home page, which I linked above.

Fundraising this year is not mandatory, but they do hope we each bring a little something to the table. Poke around on the site to learn more about the marathon. Essentially, it’s about writers getting some quality writing time while raising funds for area literacy programs. It’s actually quite incredible–we eat all our meals together, we click away at our laptops in the same room, we drink endless amounts of coffee. It’s a pure unadulterated blast!

4783072_orig-300x273

This year, it’s from the comfort of your own home. They’ll have some communication going on online. It won’t be the same, but the connection will still be there. The writing will still be there.

It’s open to all who wish to register. Give it a shot. What are you doing the weekend of JULY 17-20? Stop everything, get your bum in chair and write some words!

(MY DONATION PAGE HAS BEEN SET UP – IF YOU WISH TO DONATE TO THE CAUSE, HERE’S A LINK THAT GOES DIRECTLY TO MY PERSONAL PAGE! MUCH THANKS IN ADVANCE! 100% of the donations go directly toward the YMCA literacy programs!)

 

Categories
Muskoka Novel Marathon Novel Writing On Writing Writing Writing Camp Writing Life Writing Retreat

Muskoka Novel Marathon – Online Covid19 Edition

Well, now I’ve gone and done it! I told myself I was going to take a year off from the Muskoka Novel Marathon. I have a new book coming out (THE CAMINO CLUB) and I thought the 72 hour marathon less than 2 months before launch was just too much me-time to take. I wanted to remain open, just in case.

20190714_004105
The Active Living Centre in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada—where the yearly Muskoka Novel Marathon magic usually happens.

As it turns out, a pandemic has struck. So everything has changed. The whole world has changed. Including the magic of the Muskoka Novel Marathon. For the first time ever, this event will not take place in one room in one building in one little northern Ontario town. This year’s MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON will not be 40 writers in one room writing 40 novels in 72 hours.

20180713_180202
I will be sitting in the WRITERS’ ROOM in spirit only this year. Writing from home will definitely not be the same. I’ll miss my fellow MNM participants greatly. Here I was planning to give those poor people a break from my ME-ness this year!

We will be spread far and wide, in our own homes, eating alone or with our loved ones. It’s strange and shocking. I can’t fathom the world without the yearly escape of the MNM. It’s a rare event that, if experienced, all writers cherish. Writing in one room together, stopping for meals to break bread together, to laugh, to compare words, to cry, to vex, to prank. Sigh.

But I did say WE. As it turns out, I guess I do have the schedule that would afford me the ability to participate. I mean, I’ll be home anyway, right? ALSO—full disclosure: The biggest reason I wasn’t going this year was that I felt like I should give my fellow participants a break. I can be a little MUCH sometimes. When I’m doing something that is high intensity–SAY, WRITING A NOVEL IN 72 HOURS–I get a little high intensity myself. I know I can be exhausting at these things, because I exhaust myself. So, I was going to sit this one out to give them an extra year to recuperate.

Usually the marathon registration costs $100. This may sound like a lot of money to fork over for the opportunity to spend 72 hours writing. To those people, I just say, “You’re crazy!” Value your words. That $100 buys 3 meals a day for 3 days, as well as unlimited coffee and snacks. AND a place to stay for 3 days. AND the magical camaraderie of like-minded people. You’re camping in a room with 39 other writers for three days and being fed and caffeinated non-stop. Take my $100, please!

This year, registration is free. And though they ask registrants to participate in fundraising, it is not mandatory. As important as LITERACY is, there are a lot of people out of jobs right now–either permanently or temporary. Fundraising for literacy could prove to be a heavy unfruitful burden for sure. There are a few very important causes right now that should not lose our focus, including bail funds and Black Lives Matter.

So, the usual push for fundraising is gone. And as the marathon is online for the first time, I guess it opens it up for people outside the immediate area as well.

This will be my 12th marathon. I’m registered and counting down the days. Hopefully I can stay on track and get a few words written from home. I hear there’s some online things being planned too, where participants can interact. Maybe some ZOOMS, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing what the organizers come up with.

I DID ask for a DONATION PAGE. So if you’re so inclined I would be thrilled if you were to sponsor this cyber-MNM. I’m certain the marathon will fall WAY SHORT of its annual close to $30,000 fundraising achievement. Any amount will help support the ongoing literacy programs of Muskoka/Simcoe county YMCA.

We are WRITERS HELPING READERS READ. You can be READERS HELPING WRITERS HELP READERS READ if you wish. Do you have it in you?

I will be receiving a donation page soon and will share it once it’s live. In light of the current world situation, I will not be doing very much canvassing for funds. But I will make the link available. STAY TUNED!

Thanks so much in advance!