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CA$ 1,110 pledged of CA$ 3,000 goal
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By Veronique Bergeron
CA$ 1,110 pledged of CA$ 3,000 goal
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About this project

I am writing a fictional story inspired by my experience as a biomedical ethics student and consultant.

Chance is a critically ill infant boy diagnosed with Trisomy 18 during pregnancy. When he is born prematurely, his prognosis causes conflict among the healthcare professionals involved in his care and within his own family. The case reaches a fever point when values collide and communication breaks down between the family and the hospital where Chance is cared for. A PhD student waging her own battle with futility and the illness of a loved one is called to mediate the growing tension. She is supported in her efforts by a lawyer grappling with a painful past and a newly licensed palliative care physician.

The novel will explore the interactions of life, love, family, beliefs and culture as they face the harsh light of a healthcare setting.

My writing background is in academic articles, media releases, speechwriting, blogging and technical writing. I need your help to finance a writing workshop in New York City offered by Shawn Coyne, the author of The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know.

As a blogger and speechwriter I am very good at writing short, concise communications where the entire message is contained in one small package. Chance is my first work of storytelling and I find myself struggling to string together the  anecdotes, interactions, and  events I want to include in this fictional exploration of the multiple facets of biomedical ethics.

Last summer, I started researching the attributes of a good story and came across The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. Shawn Coyne is a twenty-five-year book-publishing veteran who has edited, published or represented works by dozens of authors including Scott Patterson, Stephen Pressfield and Ian Rankin. His book The Story Grid breaks down the component parts of stories to identify what works, what doesn't, and what can be done about it. Shawn Coyne also hosts The Story Grid Podcast with Tim Grahl where he helps Tim write his first work of fiction using the story grid methodology. 

Listening to The Story Grid Podcast helped me understand how to structure my novel to make it more compelling and -- let's be honest -- publishable. It has also given me confidence in my storytelling abilities by revealing important characteristics of storytelling that I was doing intuitively.

When Shawn and Tim announced that they would be giving a Story Grid workshop to 35 participants in February 2017, I applied and got a spot on the workshop. 

This Kickstarter campaign asks you to support my trip to New York City to attend the Story Grid workshop with Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl. This workshop will jumpstart the writing and editing of Chance: A Novel and I will share its progress with you. If you are interested in the creative process, if you want to see how the sausage is made, this is your opportunity to watch an insecure creative type face her worst fear and write that book.

In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Stephen King describes the storytelling process as the unearthing of a fossil by a paleontologist. When the author finds the first piece of bone, he doesn't know exactly what type of creature lies in the earth but he knows there is something there. As the dust is brushed-off the fossil -- like the story -- is revealed. I know that the bones of my story are sound and compelling. I need your support to reveal it.

 The cost breakdown is straightforward. I made a cake chart:

 (Hmmmmm cake....)

Kickstarter allows you to share in the creative process of artists, writers and makers you admire (like me!!) by directly funding their projects. In exchange for your support, we offer you rewards along with our eternal gratitude.

I didn't want my rewards to be too closely tied up to the writing of the novel, for instance by releasing chapters as they are written, because I do not want to compromise quality for the sake of a timeline. That's why my rewards are focused on work I have already done such as my e-book of parenting essays Unsolicited Advice and engaging updates on the process of writing Chance. I will also run Google Hangouts to discuss the ethical issues arising in the novel. I have experience lecturing graduate studies seminars in biomedical ethics and I look forward to engaging with my backers and getting their insight on these issues.

My end-game is to see Chance represented by an agent and published by a reputable publishing house. My fantasy is to see Chance produced into a television series. The story and its characters have enough appeal to go the distance. I hope that you will come along for the ride.

Risks and challenges

"Chance: A Novel" is being written, nothing can stop that. But as a mother of 9 children, a few things can slow it down. I made sure to pick rewards that can be fulfilled from my home (without requiring multiple trips to the Post Office) and that are not tied to the progress of the novel. This way, I am ensuring that the rewards will be fulfilled even if the writing and editing of the novel slow down.

In terms of attending The Story Grid Workshop, my place in the workshop, transport, and accommodations have already been reserved. The funding provided through this campaign will go to cover my travel costs as well as any course material. My children will be cared for by my husband and family while I am gone, there is no risk associated with losing childcare due to sick children or sick caregivers. Healthwise unless I spontaneously combust nothing will keep me from traveling to New York in February: leaving Ontario in the dead of winter is a smart mental health move in any circumstances.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 5 or more About $4

    Creds and gratitude

    For a pledge of $5 or more, I will add your name to the book's credits and send you monthly email updates on the novel's progress.

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    Pledge CA$ 15 or more About $11

    Hard-earned parenting wisdom

    For a pledge of $15 or more, you will get monthly email updates on the novel's progress and an exclusive PDF copy of my upcoming e-book "Unsolicited Advice: Essays from the Trenches of Parenting" where I opine, reflect and share my experience on a variety of parenting topics, from toddler discipline to potty training, sleep training, parenting teenagers and much more. 9 children and 20 years have gone into the lessons shared in this e-book.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 30 or more About $23

    Podcast chronicle of the writing process

    Pledges of $30 will earn you all previous rewards plus access to a monthly podcast where I will put my own story through The Story Grid methodology and discuss its influence on my story's development and quality.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 60 or more About $45

    Google Hangouts

    All previous rewards plus an invitation to participate series of bi-monthly Google Hangouts where we will discuss the issues at play in the novel. Medicine, ethics, law, we will not run out of topics to dig into. Hangouts will be scheduled after my kids are in bed EST.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $75

    Invite me for a talk

    For a pledge of $100, I will come to talk to a group of your choosing, on a topic of your choosing. Parenting? Biomedical ethics? Family finances? Marriage? Work/family balance? The writing process? What will it be?! I can drive myself anywhere in the Ottawa (ON) area, otherwise, backers will cover the cost of travel and accommodations. Reward to be scheduled after March 2017.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $151

    Be a character in Chance: A Novel

    Make an appearance in Chance: A Novel under your own name (or not)! Since Chance threads on difficult topics, I will take the time to discuss your role and the value you bring to the story to make sure it adequately represents who you are and what you believe in. I will keep you updated on the progress of the novel and you will receive a signed printed copy of the book once it is published, along with my eternal gratitude.

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Funding period

- (31 days)