Saturday, 21 January 2017

Write Fitness: Ingress Walking – ANZAC Prd and AWM Banner

 ANZAC Prd and AWM Banner

Yesterday, 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 my fitness.

The 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 beautiful area.

The 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.

Mission Series Complete:


Friday, 20 January 2017

Ingress Fitness - Today's Badge: Sojourner's Black

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Fitness can be fitted into pretty much any daily routine.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Writing Life: Incorporating Real-World Locations into your Story

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 needed.

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.

Walking 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.

The 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.