Information for First-Timers
The Novel Marathon isn't just for novels (go figure). Although the name implies that novels are the only acceptable form of writing at the marathon, all forms are permissible including poetry, anthologies, short stories etc. There are no limits to the length of the manuscript. Collaborations of no more than two writers are permitted.
What to Bring:
- Writing implements: computer/laptop, pen, quill, chisel and stone tablet, etc.
- One page of outline notes (It has to fit on one page...how much of both sides of the page you fill is up to you. Teeny-tiny font is perfectly acceptable.)
- Pledges: Because the event is a fundraiser for YMCA Literacy Services, writers are expected to poll their friends, families and co-workers for pledges to support adult literacy initiatives in Huntsville. While there is no minimum amount required, our annual goal is $36,000, which is approximately $900 per writer. New for 2017: All writers that raise over $500 are eligible to win fundraising prizes and the top 15 fundraisers - who raise $1000 and over - earn a guaranteed reserved spot in the next year's Muskoka Novel Marathon (eg. if only 13 people raise over $1000, there will be only 13 guaranteed spots. If 17 people raise over $1000 it will be the top 15 who will be guaranteed spots). Top fundraisers can defer their spot for a maximum of one year.
What You Might Also Want to Bring:
- Books you have had published (to display or sell)
- Reference books: dictionary, thesaurus etc.
- A favourite lamp if you plan to write into the wee hours of the night
- Snacks (We'll provide food and water/tea/coffee at regular intervals. You won't starve. But bring your own snacks if you want to. And bring extras to share with your new-found friends. You'll have lots of them, especially if you bring chocolate chip cookies.) [Oh, and we try to provide a vegetarian option at every meal, but because we rely on the generosity of sponsors this may not always be possible. If you have strict dietary constraints, you might need to bring food in a cooler... there is fridge space for writers, but only a limited amount.]
- A sleeping pad, cot, sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair, unless you're a die-hard writer, who wants to stay up all night. We're serious. Some people do.
- Superhero cape, wizard cap, flying monkey... (yes, these have all made an appearance in the past)
What Not to Bring:
- Tables and chairs. We'll provide those. (Actually, some people have brought their own comfy chairs. You can, too, as long as you don't take up more space than a standard-size office chair.)
- Pets. We love our furry, four-legged friends too, but they'll have to stay home.
Where to Go:
- The 2017 Muskoka Novel Marathon will be held at the Active Living Centre (Canada Summit Centre) in Huntsville (20 Park Drive, Huntsville, Ontario). See the map at the bottom of this page for the location.
- Parking is free and there's lots of it. The venue will be available for set-up between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the first day of the marathon (Friday).
- A list of local motels/hotels is available on request. Unless you want to sleep on the floor or in a reclining lawnchair (that you may bring with you), which is acceptable, too.
How to Write:
- Writing may be done by hand, on any electronic device, or on a typewriter (just kidding...you won't make any friends this way!). However, submissions to the judges must be in Microsoft Word.
- Writers are encouraged to bring a one-page outline. However, the actual writing of the manuscript must take place during the specified dates at the event location.
- Otherwise, you're on your own.
- At the completion of the Muskoka Novel Marathon, manuscripts may be submitted to the judges who are allowed a six-week time frame to determine the winners in each of the categories – Juvenile/Young Adult and Adult. The judges may include authors, librarians, book publishers and book store owners as selected by the Muskoka Novel Marathon Committee.
- Winners are announced at a wrap-up party in September (date to be shared with writers). Each winner receives a prize and the opportunity to have their manuscript reviewed by a publisher or agent.
- Winners will be given a month to “tidy-up” their manuscripts before being submitted to a publisher or agent for review.
- Once the manuscripts have been sent to the publishing houses/agencies, the discussion will continue between the publisher/agent and the author directly. The Muskoka Novel Marathon Committee will cease to be involved from that point onwards.
Other Writer Awards You Can Win:
In addition to the winners of the two writing categories, there are coveted peer-nominated awards to be won.
- SPIRIT: awarded to the author who best embodies the spirit of the Muskoka Novel Marathon as voted by fellow authors.
- REMINGTON (REMY): awarded to the writer who has raised the most pledges/donations for the Muskoka Literacy Council.
- B.I.C. (Bum in Chair): for the writer who stays glued to their chair the longest. We don't actually recommend gluing yourself to the chair in order to win.
- MOST PROLIFIC WRITER: goes to the, um, most prolific writer. The one who has the most words by the end of the three-day marathon. There is no requirement for the words to all be coherent.
- ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: for the first-time marathoner who best embraces the spirit of the Muskoka Novel Marathon.
- TECHIE AWARD: for the writer who helps overcome technological issues.
- ROCKSTAR AWARD: for the writer who produces the most number of pages beyond 250.
A common area will be available for getting to know your fellow writers. It's where the food is, too. It's a popular place. Because we write in an open space, please be respectful of your fellow writers and take loud conversations outside or behind a closed door, especially during the hours of midnight to 6am (some people like to have undisturbed naps during that time).
Active Living Centre (Canada Summit Centre), 20 Park Drive, Huntsville, Ontario. See the map below.