This is where I write about writing, languages, literature, my books and publishing endeavours, and my academic musings. You might also catch me blogging about pokemon, or Ingress, or showing pictures of the local wildlife or places I visit, but mostly it'll be writing.
I posted about using real-world locations in writing, and that reminded me, of
a walk I did for Ingris, way back in October last year, where I photographed
many of the statues I referred to in Shades
of Memory. The walk was a 12-part series of missions that formed a picture
of the Australian War Memorial. It was an 8 km walk up ANZAC Parade and around the
War Memorial gardens. These are beautiful places to visit, to reflect on and to
remember our past, and I couldn’t have asked for better surroundings to improve
walk begins at the bottom of Anzac Parade, so I caught a 200-series bus from
the city interchange, which travels down Constitution Avenue, and got off the
stop before Anzac Parade, which puts you on the same side as the first portal.
The mission series badges and banner are below, as are some photographs of this
mission series was designed by Enlightened agent, MT81, and is called ‘ANZAC
Prd and AWM’.
Here are most of the portals in order of completion:
ANZAC Prd and AWM 1/12
Australian New Zealand War Memorial (East)
Australian New Zealand War Memorial (East)
Not a separate portal, but interesting, just the same.
Saint John's Church Lych Gate
On approach to the Deserted Mounted Corps Memorial
ANZAC Prd and AWM 2/12
The Vietnam War Memorial (on departure)
The Korean War Memorial
The Australian Army National Memorial
(after the Royal Australian Engineers and 9th Australian Field Ambulance memorials)
The Australian Hellenic Memorial
(also the starting point for the third mission in this series).
ANZAC Prd and AWM 3/12
The Lone Pine Memorial.
The Sandakan Memorial
It looks like I missed five other portals for this section including a plaque fir 18 Squadron.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 4/12
The Lone Pine Memorial
Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial (behind this stand of trees).
And there were several others, which I completely forgot to photograph... I obviously need more practice at this. The other memorials in this mission include: 2/3 Tank Regiment, the entrance to the War Memorial, Tarin Kot, and the 2/5 Australian Infantry Battalion plaque.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 5/12
The Australian Servicemen Memorial (after the memorials for Australian Voices, and the RAAF Beaufort Units).
This is the Defence Families Bench. (It is after the Women's Memorial.)
And here is the plaque.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 6/12
The barrel from the gun from Amiens.
A display celebrating Patriotism.
The Australian Merchant Seamen Survivors Memorial
The Animals at War Memorial
ANZAC Prd and AWM 7/12
The Centurion Tank.
Other memorials in this mission included the HMAS Brisbane gun and bridge, a memorial to Armistice Day, the entry to a memorial park, and a Lancaster Bomber.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 8/12
The Remembrance Driveway runs all the way to Sydney.
There's even a mission for it.
Other plaques and memorials for this mission included plaques for: the 2/15 Field Regiment, 88 Squadron, and the RAAF Beaufighter Squadron. There was also a propeller from HMAS Australia.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 9/12
Memorials for this mission included plaques for: 9th Squadron, 6th Battalion and 7th Battalion, as well as the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru , and the National Service memorials and this gentleman:
Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop
ANZAC Prd and AWM 10/12
Anzac Parade from the Australian War Memorial (a popular photographic spot)
The commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial
The Remembrance Stone.
Other portals in the mission included: the beginning of the Remembrance Driveway, the John Simpson Kirkpatrick Memorial, and the Australian War Memorial itself.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 11/12
The Kemal Ataturk Memorial.
The Ataturk Memorial Gardens.
The Royal Australian Navy Memorial.
Other portals in this mission included: the Pinus Halepensis, Australian Merchant Seamen World War I and the 9th Australian Field Ambulance memorials.
ANZAC Prd and AWM 12/12
The Australian Nurses Memorial
The Royal Australian Air Force Memorial
The Rats of Tobruk Memorial
The Australian New Zealand Memorial (west).
Other portals on this mission included: the HMAS Australia Memorial and the Anzac Parade illumination.
And then I walked around the corner and caught a bus back to the city. This was a brilliant walk, gentle on all but the heart.
So, after 360 days of going out every day, twice a day, to hack a portal, I finally gained my Soujourner's Black medal. I know, not exciting, right?
I find it exciting, because, now, when I go out, instead of working towards the medal, I can go out for fun. The pressure is off. If I miss a day, it doesn't matter, but I probably won't miss a day, because working towards the Sojourner's medal made me realise a few things:
It helped me establish a habit of going for a walk, however short, in both the morning and the evening. This is important for my health, and my fitness, and for clearing my head. I didn't realise that before.
I need to maintain my fitness - it's logical, right? But it's so easy to make excuses not to go out. It's too hot. It's too cold. I'm too busy. I've got a lot on my plate. It's raining. I don't feel well. Blah blah bah. Working towards Sojourners made me understand that I can vary the times of day for walking - go early in summer, later in winter, put a rain coat on and stuff my phone into a sandwich bag to protect it while hacking, Take public transport and hack on the way to and from school and work. There's pretty much a solution for every excuse - except the last one. Being sick? That's probably a day to stay in bed, even if you can walk the hundred metres to the nearest portal without falling over. However, 360 days, and I know I feel better for a daily walk.
Fitness can be fitted into pretty much any daily routine.
By having a purpose, you can walk longer distances. It's better to set a destination and walk to it, and maybe have options for extending the distance if you feel up to, than to head out with just a total time needed for walking in mind. You can use Ingress for this, and either choose a mission to do, or just walk a series of portals, or you can have a real-world goal, walking to the library, getting off a stop earlier or parking further away and walking to work, these all help.
Sometimes, you need to choose a stretch of ground that doesn't have a portal for a couple of kilometres - especially as your fitness builds - because longer stretches of walking are better for you than the constant stop-start that often comes with ingressing. This, of course, has the added advantage of adding kilometres to your Trekker's badge... or you can hatch a pokemon egg... or you can just enjoy the scenery - the point is not to stop.
Anyway, practicalities aside - I GOT MY SOJOURNER'S BLACK - and I'm pretty happy with that.
In early December, I finished writing Shades of Memory. It’s an urban fantasy
meets conspiracy theory meets thriller kind of story, set in Canberra, and the
first story I’ve written using the real world to contribute to the story as
well as the backdrop for the story. To do this, I had to become familiar enough
with the locations I wanted to incorporate that they were real to people who
knew them, as well as to people who’d never come to visit—and that’s not as
easy as it seems.
Needless to say, I learned a few things
along the way.
Describing the Location: This is both as
easy it sounds, and much harder. There is more to a location than ‘a statue of
a horse surrounded by trees’. I mean, that’s a good start, but what kind of
horse? What kind of statue? What kind of trees? And then there elements like
how the sun affects the appearance of the statue, and the sorts sounds heard by
the characters, the smells, and the environment itself.
When describing a location, you have to
remember to keep the story at the centre of the description. Each part of the
location you bring to your reader has to count. A description that briefly
describes the statue and the trees as the characters pass, indicates that the
location might be important later. Why? If the main character catches a glimpse
of a stranger standing beside the statue, and then later encounters ‘the man
from the statue’, and the ‘man from the statue is important to the story, but
the statue is not, then an accurate, but brief, description is all that is
If, however, the statues are located in a
search area, or contain clues, then you may need to spend more time on them,
and make sure your description is accurate enough that those familiar with the
statue and location aren’t pulled out of the story by blatant inaccuracies. In
other words, if you’re not sure the statue has a feature you wish to highlight,
either check the location, or photographs of the location, and make sure that
the feature exists. If it doesn’t, and you really want it to be there, make up
a plausible reason why it is there and acknowledge its addition. Readers will
be tolerant of changes made in the story world, as long as they know they are
deliberate changes and not a lack of authorial care.
Locations are also important for adding
atmosphere to the story. Don’t just give a bland description of a ‘bronze
statue of two infantrymen on patrol’. Use the description to add something to
your story. Is there a reason the character should be feeling uneasy? Breathe
some uneasiness into the picture while giving your description.
In the example below, I describe the character
in Shades of Memory visiting the Australian
Army National Memorial. First is a brief description of what she is seeing,
followed by a slow introduction of unease.
along the footpath, Agatha came to the next memorial. Seven pillars of white
brick, curved behind a raised cement dais paved in grey and red. In the centre
of the pillars, looking as though they had just emerged from between them,
stood two Australian soldiers. At around three metres tall, and made of dulled
out bronze, the pair looked like they were still on patrol.
wary expressions etched on their faces, and the careful way in which they
carried their rifles made it seem as though they were expecting trouble. Agatha
wondered what it would be like to come across them when the sun was shining,
instead of on a day when the clouds hung low and her thoughts turned gloomy at
the slightest provocation.
Suggesting the soldiers were “still on
patrol” gives an indication of possible danger. Use of the words “wary”, “careful”,
and the idea that the soldiers are “expecting trouble” heightens the awareness
that something might be wrong.
Don’t forget that there is more to the
world you are describing than just the feature you are describing. Don’t forget
that the day has weather, and use it. The main catch with doing this is that
you have to remember what kind of day you’ve set up, and keep the weather
consistent, or change the weather in a natural way. In the scene above, it is a
typical overcast Canberra day, and this affects how the statues make the
character feel. It is also used to highlight how the character feels.
So remember, locations can bring your story
to life, or they can drag. You need to use them to advance the story, and make
sure that the story, and not the location, remains paramount. Sight, scent,
sound and feel, are all important ways of advancing your tale, building
atmosphere, and preparing the reader for the next piece of action. An accurate
description of the location is important, but describing every minute detail
may not be.