Thousand Islands Writers Festival 1st Annual Storefront Writing Contest

The inaugural Thousand Islands Writers Festival Storefront Writing Contest is now just a memory. It was great to see it come to fruition. In the early days of the registration process, we weren’t sure what to expect and at one point there was talk of cancelling due to lack of participation. Thankfully, it didn’t come down to that.

Writer’s Ink was well represented with a number of the members out – Dorothy Bush, Sylvia Perry, Catherine Durnford-Wang, Marike Harris, Chris Hanna, Joe Mossman and me filling out the total number of thirteen.

I entrusted my husband, Don, with my camera since I couldn’t write and take pictures at the same time so he made sure the day was well documented.

We met at the local library at 9:30 where we drew our locations and were assigned a number. Even though we were writing under pseudonyms, the possibility existed that the judges might recognize us… hence the use of numbers.

Anxious participants waiting for the library to open

Our prompt was chosen by W.I. founder, Bunty Loucks. It was “if Sylvia had the faintest idea of the consequences of her action, she would immediately have written ‘Return to Sender’ across the envelope and dropped it in the nearest mailbox.” We had from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm to come up with our up to 2,000 word short story.

Getting our prompt and other pre-contest business
Drawing location and getting assigned my number

Seven King Street merchants played host to us. From west to east – Reliable Home Furniture (current and old location), Echo Clothing, Picket Fences, Tiny Prices, Alan Brown’s, National Rent to Own and Golden Soles.

Sylvia Perry at Tiny Prices
Catherine Durnford-Wang and Chris Hannah at Echo Clothing
Tari Pyke of Reliable helping Marike Harris get set up on wi-fi
Wendy Millar in one of the windows at Picket Fences
Melanie Robertson-King (aka Heather Park on this occasion) in the other window at Picket Fences
...and from inside the store

I have to say that Wendy and I were extremely well received and treated at Picket Fences. Jennifer made sure we had everything we needed, including the location of the washroom which was extremely important since we were going to be there pretty much all day. When she made the pot of coffee we were welcome to help ourselves to a cuppa.

Two more participants (Kirsha Martelle & Cindy Dopson) at Alan Brown's
Dorothy Bush at National Rent to Own
Joe Martelle at National Rent to Own
Joe Mossman at Golden Soles
Chris Wood at Golden Soles

We temporarily lost one of our participants. She ended up at the old Reliable Furniture location on the south side of King Street. She was eventually found and joined us at the Grindstone Tapas afterwards where we downloaded our compilations onto Thousand Islands Writers Festival committee member’s, Doreen Barnes, laptop.

Getting our files downloaded for transfer to the judges

While we waited our turn to get our files downloaded and answer some questions about the experience, we chatted amongst ourselves and everyone agreed they would do it again. We also talked about how we wrote our pieces… did we start at the beginning, the middle, the end. Did we outline? Did we pants it? I started with the end so I knew where I had to go, the journey there would be the fun part. I’m already looking forward to next year and hope I can draw the same location again. It was a lot of fun. And, a wee tidbit… my piece was 2,000 words on the nose!

What do we win for our day of “sweatshop” writing?

1st prize – Dinner at the Brockville Country Club with authors Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady during the Thousand Islands Writers Festival on Friday, October 14.

2nd prize – A pair of tickets to one of the presentations by the Brockville Concert Association

3rd prize  – $50 from Leeds County Books (our independent bookstore), donated by a TIWF member

The top three writers will be notified by phone that  they are invited to the Terry Fallis, Two Books, One Community event on Monday, September 26 at the Brockville Council Chambers where they will learn where they placed.

4 thoughts on “Thousand Islands Writers Festival 1st Annual Storefront Writing Contest”

  1. What a great write-up Melanie. And a great series of photos showing us all hard at work. Well done to you (and the manservant for his remarkable photo taking abilities and stamina. He was up and down King Street ALL day!)

  2. You were brave taking on a day of being seen writing in a shop window! Not sure it wouldn’t get me banned, from either weird look on my face or hysterical laughter, depending on what I was writing. Though not sure brain would work under those conditions. Well done, Melanie and all the authors!

  3. Congrats Melanie and all other authors !! Very well done and very well explaination of the the event after !!! Nice pictures taken by the Joe. Happy that it a was a success and u had a great time !!

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