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Romance writing, Whistler style

18 writers, 36 hours, 1 romance novel in The Collective Novel Experiment

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What: The Collective Novel

When: April 20-22, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Where: Telus Conference Centre

Passionate kisses and naughtiness under the covers will come together in one bed for public viewing this weekend at the Telus Conference Centre – literally speaking, of course.

No, the Boot Ballet isn’t relocating. The Whistler Writer’s Group – a.k.a. The Vicious Circle – is penning a romance novel in three 12-hour blocks this year at the second annual Collective Novel Experiment, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20 to Saturday, April 22 at the conference centre.

Eighteen writers will rotate in and out of a bed in the conference centre over the course of 36 hours, each contributing a consecutive chapter to what will eventually become A Whistler Love Story, and a bit of written history from this year’s Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

Few will admit to flipping through the pages of a Danielle Steele novel, but many of us have a dog-eared paperback stuffed under the bed. And did you know of all popular paperback fiction sold in North America, romance fiction accounts for 53.3 per cent of sales?

From Sex-and-the-City-style single books to who-done-it super spy women fantasies, the romance novel encompasses a multitude of genres within the category. What form the Collective Novel Experiment takes will be anybody’s guess, with a blank computer screen awaiting the first writer Thursday morning.

However, Chapter One, written by Pique Newsmagazine’s cankerous wordplay contortionist G.D. Maxwell and published in last week’s paper, sets the scene for writers. Where else would you set a Whistler romance, but in a basement suite, with the main character waking up hung over and relieved last night’s "zipless fuck" had vacated before getting ready to vollie for the "Whistler Ski and Skid Festival"?

Chapter one introduces writers and readers to Whistler party gal, Diana, who lives below daddy’s multi-million dollar mansion. From the messages on her answering machine the reader learns about the character: it’s her birthday; she is a high school substitute teacher, but secretly aspires to be a librarian; her roommate Rob, to her chagrin, is hopelessly in love with her; Diana had a little one on one girl play with best friend Slash, alias Sally, who was disappointed when Diana didn’t join her in her coming out party; and lastly the beautiful disaster of train-wreck Jack Wieckowski, a tree-spiking, monkey-wrenching ex, is still leaving bitter messages on her answering machine, eight years later.

Watch the story type out before your eyes at the conference centre, where computer screens will allow the public to read up as it happens.

People can also get involved by scribbling a love haiku to win an overnight package for two at the Adara Hotel. Participants can submit their entries on line at the conference centre .

Read up personal-ad-style bios on the writers at www.whistler2006.com/novel.

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