"Chance Encounter" is a "choose-your-own-adventure" interactive novel for extremists. Initially designed as a digital novel, the book has seven chapters, each containing 600 words. At the end of each chapter, readers are faced with two options regarding how the story should evolve. In other words, at the end of Chapter One there will be two choices, so that there will be 2 Chapter Twos, 4 Chapter Threes, 8 Chapter Fours, 16 Chapter Fives, 32 Chapter Sixs, and 64 Chapter Sevens.
As a result, "Chance Encounter" will have a total of 127 chapters as micro stories, each serving as one-seventh of a storyline but with its own plot twists and a climax that prompts careful choosing by readers. One book, 64 fascinating tales. Your choice.
Not only will “Chance Encounter” be an extreme reading experience, it also poses an extreme writing challenge to me as the author. In each of the 64 storylines, an independent and gripping tale needs to be completed in seven chapters to readers' satisfaction. The characters in each tale may appear somewhere along the other storylines, with brand new adventures or acting as “fixed points in time”, so that readers get to appreciate the dynamic and complex construct that is human interaction both in and beyond reality. Somehow all of these parallel realities combine to form a universe that is the mysterious, multifaceted humanity.
The writing of “Chance Encounter” is made possible as a result of hyperlinks. While each of the 64 tales is told and read lineally, i.e. from Chapter One to Chapter Seven, readers can always start over down a different path to discover new delights. As such, the book both defies and redefines Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken". It further provides ample opportunity for readers to alternate between 64 parallel realities -- a much more interactive and entertaining experience than that provided in the 1998 film "Sliding Doors".
When completed, “Chance Encounter” will be published as a digital book. While a print book option is available, the “logistics” of arranging the 127 micro stories (76200 words in total!) in random order on paper will be such a challenging but rewarding exercise that assistance from an experienced publisher -- one that is innovative and adventurous -- may be required.
I started "Chance Encounter" as a project in May 2016 after receiving a Hot Desk Fellowship from Melbourne's Readings Foundation and the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. This enabled me to work in a constantly evolving and slightly chaotic environment that is highly beneficial in the creation of such a "choose-your-own-adventure" novel, as new ideas are best generated in the process of human interaction.
However, I had underestimated the amount of time and energy required to develop such a complex novel. As a result, I was unable to finish "Chance Encounter" in the ten weeks that were supported by the fellowship. I did a public reading in July 2016 and received positive feedback on what I had managed to achieve. But since then, bogged down by life's many pressures, I have been unable to complete this important project.
As time goes by, I keep coming back to "Chance Encounter" and hearing the whispers of the 12 characters involved. They want their stories to be told. They want to evolve, to have an adventure, and to cause a profound impact on those who get to know them. Their calls become louder, especially after my recent participation of a "Writing for VR" workshop. "Imagine the possibilities! We can finally meet our readers face-to-face!" my characters jump up and down, weaving their arms. "Go on, finish your book. Fulfil your dream before you run out of tomorrows!" So I am now asking you for help.
I would like to have at least three hours each day dedicated to developing "Chance Encounter". This involves reflecting on what has been written along each of the 64 storylines, researching the numerous possible plot twists and making appropriate selections, and ensuring the book's overall readability by testing the user-friendliness of the hyperlinks. To reach this goal, I need to have people investing on my writing and helping me be more productive. Here are the things I would like to accomplish in the foreseeable future:
- Complete "Chance Encounter" -- all 127 chapters and 76200 words of it.
- Revise the novel to ensure all hyperlinks are working, and all 64 storylines are awesome and attractive in their own unique ways.
- Pay for a professional artist to design a proper book cover.
- Publish the novel as a digital book and in print.
- Start exploring possibilities to turn "Chance Encounter" into a Real-Time VR Experience.
- Finish some of my other writing projects.
- Keep reading and writing book reviews via my blog "Voices under the Sun", as part of my continued efforts to support emerging and established writers worldwide.
As a writer, I would like to have a small but steady income, instead of spending the majority of my time and energy chasing jobs, grants and other financial subsidies. I would like to be emotionally and psychologically free of guilt, the kind of guilt that most artists endure in their struggle to take care of their families. A patronage of $1200/month minimum will help paying my mortgage and some utilities, including the Internet. My current casual position as a school crossing supervisor is enough to cover weekly groceries.
More importantly, as a writer, I like to interact with and learn from people from diverse backgrounds. Knowing that people support me -- that my writing means something to them -- will encourage and inspire me to keep going. It will confirm and further strengthen my belief in the Power of Words and how it can impact on the lives of individuals and communities. Like people, books have unlimited potential. Both can help to make our world a better place if given a chance.
All patrons will receive a "thank-you" note and a sample reading of "Chance Encounter" as it is at the beginning of my Patreon campaign. It should contain enough "flavour" to give you a good sense of the kind of extreme "choose-your-own-adventure" interactive reading experience that I try to provide in this novel. All the patrons from the $2/month level and up will also receive my periodic patron-only updates on the book's research and development progress, More importantly, if you are a fellow writer and have a new or backlist title needing attention, I will be happy to review it for you.
In addition to all of the previous patron level rewards, all patrons from the $5/month level and up will get access to the latest draft of "Chance Encounter", which you digitally view at the beginning of each month. As the book continues to evolve, there is a good chance that much of its content will change every time you read it. i.e. You will not get the same digital book each month. That is a guarantee.
In addition to all of the previous patron level rewards, all patrons contributing at levels higher than $5/month will receive exclusive rewards, including digital downloads of the latest draft, monthly Q&A sessions, free digital and/or print books when "Chance Encounter" is published, rights to name the characters, etc. More details can be found in the "Rewards" page.
As Australian poet Paul Kelly sings: "From small things, big things grow." Thank you for visiting my Patreon Project "Chance Encounter", and thank you more if you eventually decide to support my writing. Without readers/patrons like you, writers like me will never have a chance to succeed. I hereby wish you all the best in your future life and career.
Sincerely, Christine Yunn-Yu Sun
Melbourne, June 2018.