Notes 2016.08.25 – Excerpt of “Chance Encounter” published by @wheelercentre


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The renowned Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas (@wheelercentre) recently published an excerpt of my interactive novel Chance Encounter, as a conclusion to my 10-week Hot Desk Fellowship in this centrepiece of Melbourne as a City of Literature.

Among the three sample chapters I submitted, two were chosen in this excerpt to showcase the kind of possibilities an interactive novel such as Chance Encounter can present to its readers. Depending on how you choose to have the story developed at the end of each chapter, one book can generate 64 storylines, each of which contains 7 chapters, each of which in turn contains 600 words – making 127 chapters and 76,200 words in total.

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I remember people smiling (friendly if not bewilderedly) and shaking their heads when they heard about this at my public reading. Nervous as I was on that occasion, I kept wondering how crazy or even foolish some of them might think I am as a writer, to set up such a challenge for myself. I mean, isn’t writing a book already a difficult task? As if jumping through hoops is not enough, I am determined to turn them into rings of fire.

Well, what is life without challenges and fun? Without the ups and downs, one’s life would be a flatline, which means either the heart or the brain is dead.

One more note: I am grateful for my mate’s remark after reading the excerpt of Chance Encounter.

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May I please conclude this article with a quote from crime writer Val McDermid as he recently disputed the so-called scientific finding that “reading literary fiction improves our understanding of other people’s emotions but genre fiction does not”. I find his words below absolutely inspiring:

Most of us don’t read to improve ourselves. We read for pleasure. I love reading. In the past few months, I’ve read crime fiction, science fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction. The ones I enjoyed, regardless of genre, were the ones where I engaged most strongly with the characters.

Good books make us care. It really doesn’t matter whether they include murderers, aliens, philosophers or kings.

Please read the full article by McDermid here.



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