NIC English Instructor Steve Schoenhoff is organizing the college’s 11th annual 3-Hour Fiction Writing Contest for Dec. 1. ‘I wanted to give short story writers an opportunity to show what they can do under pressure,’ he said. Photo provided

NIC fiction contest returns to test what you can write in 3 hours

11th annual literary contest will have category for youth and adults

Join North Island College (NIC) on Sunday, Dec. 1, for the 11th annual 3-Hour Fiction Writing Contest, a literary competition designed to see what you can write in three short hours.

The contest takes place in Tyee Hall (Room 114) at NIC’s Comox Valley campus. There are two contests – the first starts at 10 a.m. and is for writers over 18 while the second begins at 2 p.m. and is for writers under 18.

“It’s amazing what can happen when you lock people in a room and ask them to write their way out,” said Steve Schoenhoff, NIC English instructor and organizer of the contest.

The winner of the morning contest receives a $300 NIC voucher for a Creative Writing course. First prize for the under-18 writers contest is $100 and $50 for second prize. Winning stories will be published in the NIC student magazine.

“The doors close and writers will be given elements that must appear in their story,” said Schoenhoff. “It might be a psychological problem deep in the heart of the protagonist, or a conflict for control of the universe.”

Schoenhoff brought the competition to the Comox Valley 11 years ago, after hearing about Vancouver’s notorious three-day novel-writing contest. There were more than 40 entries in NIC’s very first contest.

“The quality of work has been great every year. This is the second time we have a contest for young writers,” Schoenhoff said.

Writers craft their story in NIC’s computer lab and print their work at the end of the three hours. A panel of NIC faculty and staff will judge the stories based on readability, creativity and the degree to which they weave the required elements into the story.

“I wanted to give short story writers an opportunity to show what they can do under pressure,” said Schoenhoff said.

Registration is by donation to the NIC Foundation. Proceeds support creative writing students through the Stephen Schoenhoff Creative Writing Scholarship. Register before Nov. 30 by contacting Steve by email: stephen.schoenhoff@nic.bc.ca.