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The 3-Day Novel Contest is a notorious event where authors attempt to write a novel in only three days.. Originally written as an entry for the peculiar contest, Deep Nights is a fast paced story; a tale of guilt and redemption in a small Texas town. Routine calls, a hostage situation and working the night shift short-handed bring adversity to the officers of Duncan Switch, Texas. One of them finds the biggest challenge of the night, still ahead.
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You will find Deep Nights is different from a typical crime fiction novel. Here's why.
The creation of Deep Nights
Not wanting to venture out, I sat in my wife's Beijing apartment on a dusty and polluted spring day. Browsing the internet, killing time while I waited for her to come home from work, I came across a writing contest called the 3-Day Novel Contest.
What? How can anyone write a novel in three days I asked myself? I'd been working on my first police procedural novel for several months and the story still wasn't finished. I was intrigued by the thought of writing something on such a tight deadline. The more I learned about the annual contest, the more fascinated I became. I decided to take up the challenge of writing a complete novel in three days.
The contest was held early in September on the three day Labor Day weekend. Again in Beijing I hunkered down and prepared to write. At the stroke of mid-night I began. Most 3-Day novels average around 20,000 words - maybe eighty or so pages. I wasn't sure I would be able to type that many words in three days let alone put them into an interesting enough form to compete.
Prior to the start of the contest writers are allowed to create only a brief outline of their novel. So I came up with a fictional police story loosely based upon personal experiences and incidents I heard about from other cops. After a bit of work, I had my novel outline. Later, less than half way through the contest I threw it away. The story carried me along, not the other way around. I wrote as fast as I could for three days. With midnight approaching on the last day of the contest I scrambled to put the finishing touches on my story. I met the deadline having written over 20,000 words in three days. Satisfied with the basic story, but without enough time for proofing and correcting my hurried writing, I doubted my entry would win. Victory in the contest was never my main goal. I just wanted to complete a novel by the deadline. Mission accomplished.
I put the story on the shelf for about six months. Other projects occupied my time and I wanted to let Deep Nights settle and age. A few months later I dusted off the manuscript and read it straight through. I still liked the basic story but Deep Nights needed a lot of work. I started on the normal corrections for spelling, punctuation and sentence structure but I faced a more difficult decision.
The hard choice became what did I want the Deep Nights to be?
The deadline created a sense of urgency that changed my writing style and story creation. My choice was to turn the tale into a regular novel length piece of genre fiction, matching the current buying patterns of the major publishers or to make a few changes and additions while keeping the same basic story.
In the end I chose the latter. Deep Nights is a bit shorter than a typical crime novel, has fewer characters and sub-plots and doesn't completely develop the mystery novel angle as thoroughly as many books. In some ways it's more of an action-adventure novel than a mystery. Deep Nights tells a story as if told by the people involved.
The story was fun to write. I enjoyed creating something in three days and appreciate the different type novel that is the result. I'd like to write a series of similar size stories telling tales of street cops and the people they meet in their day to day adventures. Whether or not Deep Nights and its different style find any success determines the future. If you like the story and want to see more please let me know. If you don't, I need to know that also. Your interest will determine if there are more similar stories to follow on.
I'm putting the finishing touches on my next crime novel Two Minutes Late. While still a tale about street cops, you'll find Two Minutes Late more like other mystery novels on the bookstore shelves. I hope to have it finished late this year.
Steven Sloan was born in Canada and grew up in Texas. He learned to fly while still in high school and soon thereafter became a flight instructor. During an aviation downturn, with his instructing opportunities dwindling to nothing, one of his students, a Dallas policeman, suggested he knew where Sloan could find work. Sloan attended the police academy and became a policeman. He worked the interesting, exciting streets for several years but eventually returned to flying. Since that time he's entertained his flying colleagues with tales of his police days. Eventually deciding to write stories based on events he experienced, Sloan's becoming a prolific author of police and aviation stories. His first police story will be published in the fall of 2010 and a second crime novel will soon follow. Sloan's first aviation story is in development with a publishing date to be set soon. Steven Sloan lives in Hong Kong where he continues to fly jets for a Hong Kong airline. For more information visit stevensloan.net
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Book Description Cloud Dancer Publishing Ltd 2010-11-08, 2010. Perfect Paperback. Condition: Good. Book. Seller Inventory # 067160-4
Book Description Cloud Dancer Publishing Ltd, 2010. Perfect Paperback. Condition: Used: Very Good. Seller Inventory # SONG1935735012