Why scriptwriters should avoid using the Hero’s Journey.

**Warning – this post contains many spoilers for the movie Wanted which was released in 2008.  Read at your own risk.

At the beginning of a writing course, a student is encouraged to study Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  In it he postulates the existence of the mono myth and from that concludes that most, if not all, stories break down into the Hero’s Journey.  Christopher Vogler went further than that in his The Writer’s Journey, a bible for screenwriters which has produced many of the top selling movie scripts of all time.  I’ve heard George Lucas used the Hero’s Journey to write Star Wars (almost step for step) and the scriptwriting software Contour even provides you with a breakdown of certain movies that also use this formula.

It works, which is why people use it.  Again and again and again.  Which brings me to my rant today.  As an Australian, I, along with many of my countrymen (and women – country people just sounded weird), have watched in envy over the past few years at the wonder that is Netflix.  We salivated at the thought of thousands of television episodes available at the touch of a button, no ads, and no trying to pick up a show half way through a season because you missed the starting date.  When Netflix announced they were coming to Australia, I think the shout of joy was heard around the world, and when I found out that my internet service provider was offering a 6 month free trial of Netflix with their new unlimited package, I was sold.  And so were 1.4 million other Australians.  We haven’t adapted to something so quickly since Pirate Bay started.

So in the following orgy of television watching I have come across quite a few shows that Netflix deemed would interest me.  I chortled through Arrested Development, marvelled at Daredevil, and have watched several action movies that i missed at the cinema.  Or so I thought.

That brings me to Wanted.  Angelina Jolie, James Macavoy, Morgan Freeman.  Stellar actors in an action movie, what more could you want?  It was only as I was about half way through the movie that I realised I’d already seen it.  This has happened to me before, but usually it was forgettable telemovies or old tv shows, not kickbutt genre movies where bullets curve around corners and men fly through the air while shooting.  Why would I forget this one?  What was it about this movie that made my brain put it in the category of don’t bother remembering this one?  It isn’t particularly bad, although the levels of suspended disbelief are astronomical (did you see that flippy car bit?), and while the acting isn’t Oscar worthy, it is certainly not Plan 9 from Outer Space bad, or even Razzie bad.

My guess is part of what makes this movie forgettable is that, aside from the weird stunts, there are no real surprises.  This movie follows the Hero’s Journey from beginning to end.  Our hero, Wesley Gibson (James Macavoy), is an office drone who is bullied by his boss, knows his friend is fucking his girlfriend, takes anxiety pills to calm panic attacks and cannot find any mention of himself on Google (apparently the ultimate sign you are a nobody is even Google can’t find you).  This, in Campbell’s book, is known as the Ordinary Everyday Life, phase one of the Hero’s Journey.

The film then progresses to phase two, the Call to Adventure, when hapless Wesley is caught up in a gun fight where he finds out he is the target, and is then taken on one of the craziest car chases I’ve ever seen (and yet, I did not even remember this).  He is brought to the lair of the Fraternity (fairly unoriginal name for a group of assassins, plus there are women in the group too so it doesn’t make a lot of sense) by his rescuer, Fox (Angelina Jolie) who explains that he is being hunted by the man who just killed his father.  Sloan (Morgan Freeman) tells him he must shoot the wings off the flies hovering over the bin.  When he refuses, they put a gun to his head and tell him that he doesn’t really suffer from anxiety, he is special, and then he manages to shoot those wings off.  (still with me?)

Phase three of the Hero’s Journey is the refusal of the call, where the hero rejects the offer for adventure and tries to go back to his normal life.  Of course that never works out, and I know you thought that before I even wrote it.  That’s because an appalling amount of movie script writers use this formula because viewers love familiarity.  Where would the drama be if the hero just went, ‘OK’?  No, they need to be conflicted between the safe and the exciting.

Wanted follows all the phases in sequence: Crossing the Threshold (no going back now); Tests and Helpers (it’s time for a training montage); The Supreme Ordeal (let’s kill that mofo who killed my dad); Receiving the Reward (I guess learning the truth could be considered a reward – oh no, I killed my own father?  Noooooooo. Ok this one doesn’t quite fit the mould); Flight (now everyone’s after the hero); Recrossing the threshold (waking up in an apartment across from your own surrounded by baby pictures of yourself); Return with the elixir (using the unsubtle hint from earlier in the movie to booby trap rats into blowing up the compound of assassins thus killing everyone except the head bad guy who you kill in a remarkably similar fashion to the way the guy at the start was assassinated); and, finally, Back to the Beginning (where the hero breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience “This is me taking back control of my life. What the fuck have you done lately?”  Take that, bitches).

Now that I have written it all out, I still don’t understand why I couldn’t remember any of this movie.  The moment I realised I had seen it is where he walks into the room where the Loom of Fate is weaving out people’s destinies, that is, who the Fraternity are to assassinate next.  That’s it.  That is the only part of the movie I remembered, and it is not the most interesting or exciting part, in fact it made me groan.  I have to conclude that even with its quirky car chases, unreal (and I don’t mean that in the good way) special effects, moderately good acting and suitably attractive cast, there is something in this story that blends it with every other movie out there.  This is why the movies that won’t leave your mind, leave you talking for days, and, even if you only see them once, stay in your memory are the ones that break free from the cookie cutter scripts that are churned out in Hollywood.  This is why it is not always suitable to use the Hero’s Journey as a template for your story.  So, scriptwriters out there, be original and you’ll be remembered.

Review: Heartmate by Robin D. Owens

From the blurb: All his life, Rand T’Ash has looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough, now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfect HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds—and attracts—his wife…Danith Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T’Ash’s shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, placing her at the opposite end of the social spectrum from T’Ash. But T’Ash refuses to accept her rejection and sees it as a challenge instead. They are HeartMates, but can T’Ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?

My thoughts: A slight disclaimer, I have read this book over 10 times now, as each new book comes out I refresh my feelings of wonder with this series and renew my acquaintance with the wonderful world of Celta.  This first one started all the love for me, with wonderful settings, an awkward hero and a heroine just looking for the love of a big family.

The author starts us off by throwing us directly into this wonderfully imagined world.  Celta is a human colony, settled for many hundreds of years but the humans are not doing so well here, and many families have low birth rates, and some have died out.  On the opposite spectrum, humans can live for over 150 years and have ‘Flair’ the author’s word for psy powers.  The society is extremely class driven, but although most of the character’s points of view are from the higher classes we do get the occasional viewpoint of the lower classes and to them, the ‘GreatLords and GreatLadies’ are just plain weird with all their unusually strong Flair.

Confused already?  Don’t be.  The author throws you in headfirst but if you keep kicking you will find your way, and the rewards are worth it.  If this wasn’t a romance, then this world would have great opportunities for adventure stories, murder mysteries, the list goes on.  *in fact I feel some fan fiction gurgling away as we speak*

The basic premise of this story, and indeed most of the other books in the series, is that some lucky people discover during their ‘Passage’ (bouts during childhood, adolescence and young adulthood where a person’s flair finally breaks free and is fully controlled) that they have a Heartmate.  A Heartmate is the more visceral version of a soulmate.  They literally die without the other once they are bonded.  (While I think the idea of a heartmate is romantic – I think it would be scary to know that once your partner died that was it for you)

T’Ash, our hero of this book, is the last of his line.  His family was destroyed by an enemy when he was a child and he grew up on the streets.  He eventually clawed his way out of the gutter and got his revenge.  He is now an established jewellery designer and craftsman and his dream of finally meeting his heart mate are about to be realised.  But Danith, his heart mate, has other ideas as she is hoping for a marriage proposal from her current boyfriend who is from a large and boisterous family, which is exactly what she wants, she being an orphan.

There are many obstacles to this relationship which should have been smooth sailing, but T’Ash bungles things and Danith lets fear rule her, and it is not until they admit to themselves what they really want that things work out.  (I hope I didn’t ruin the ending for you, but you know if it is a romance then there is a happy ending)

The romance itself was competently done, although soul mate romances can be a little trite, and the tension is a bit lower as you know nothing will keep them apart forever, but I think what did it for me, was the setting, the intense amount of research that has gone into the religious practices of this world as well as the telepathic cats!!  Zanth was a highlight of this book for me, an ugly tomcat who speaks in short sentences and is supremely selfish, as all cats are, while being a very loveable creature as well.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough but I must warn some readers.  It hasn’t appealed to a lot of romance readers because of the highly complex nature of the setting, and it hasn’t appealed to some SF readers because of the romance focussed storyline, so if sf romance is your thing then this is the book for you.  Lucky SF romance is my thing.

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston: A review

From the blurb:

Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

My thoughts:

The author starts off the book with a quick note to say, no, this book is not a rewrite of a previous book Hunting Season which she wrote a few years ago and is suspiciously similar, but it is set in the same world with new characters and the world a little more complex and realised.  I’m not sure then why she didn’t just call it book 2 but, hey, I’m not one to quibble.  Before I get into what I thought of the book, I will say this disclaimer.  I luuuuuurve Shelly Laurenston’s shifter books.  They are hilarious, the girls are kick-ass, the boys are cute, alpha males who although they are full of a lot of testosteronish posturing, really they’re just sweeties at heart.  They are, in short, great paranormal romances.

This book?  Much as I loved the world the author created, the characters, the kick-ass heroine (ex-marine), the dangerous but shy hero (descended from Vikings), the gaggle of fellow gal-pal Crows Kera meets, her dog, and everything else about the world, what I didn’t really like about this book was the romance.  I would have to categorise this book as an urban fantasy rather than paranormal romance because quite frankly, without the romance, this book still would have made sense.  It felt rushed, slipped in amongst all the other cool stuff the author needed to shove in there for the world building, and, quite frankly, even though the hero played a part in getting Kera turned into a Crow in the first place, if they had just stayed friends it wouldn’t have impacted the story in any way.  There was no tension in the romance, no obstacles (besides some physical ones where their lives were at stake) so I couldn’t feel connected to it, I didn’t care.  I liked both characters but there were too many other things going on for me to be too invested.  There were too many other characters, too many points of view.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book, but I think the blurb should have been different, it should have been marketed as an urban fantasy rather than the typical paranormal romance, because that’s where my expectations were, and they were disappointed because of it.  But as an urban fantasy, it is quite enjoyable.

The Novice: Book 1 of Summoner by Taran Matharu

The Blurb:

Fletcher was nothing more than a humble blacksmith’s apprentice, when a chance encounter leads to the discovery that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, he must travel with his demon to the Vocans Academy, where the gifted are trained in the art of summoning.

The academy will put Fletcher through a gauntlet of gruelling lessons, training him as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against the savage orcs. Rubbing shoulders with the children of the most powerful nobles in the land, Fletcher must tread carefully. The power hungry Forsyth twins lurk in the shadows, plotting to further their family’s interests. Then there is Sylva, an elf who will do anything she can to forge an alliance between her people and Hominum, even if it means betraying her friends. Othello is the first ever dwarf at the academy, and his people have long been oppressed by Hominum’s rulers, which provokes tension amongst those he studies alongside

Fletcher will find himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with nothing but his demon Ignatius to help him. As the pieces on the board manoeuvre for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands …

My thoughts:

I don’t know what it was about this that appealed to me, but I devoured it like a starving wolf at a butchers shop.  There were several cliched tropes here.  Orphan hero finds out he has mysterious powers to summon demons, could be the son of a nobleman, wins out against all odds.  It should have been a tired story that only mildly interested me, but by golly I loved this.  I couldn’t get enough of the hapless hero Fletcher who always seemed to rub his enemies the wrong way.  When he comes across an old scroll he reads it out only to find that he has summoned a demon.  Now in this world, demons don’t seem to be evil, they are more the extension of their summoner, so if the summoner is a douche, then they are too.  Fletcher’s little demon is Ignatious, a Salamander, and I loved the little critter.

What follows is a series of adventures where Fletcher learns the extent of his powers (not a superman thank god) and the friends he makes.  It was a lovely tale for middle schoolers and aside from a few dodgy moments there isn’t anything too horrible in here that would frighten a younger reader either.  The characters are likeable and the pacing is strong.  I would have liked a bit more originality with the other races, we have elves, dwarves, and orcs, standard fantasy fare but I couldn’t complain about it too much.  Deals with issues of racism and greed for power as well as having several bad guys to contend with.  it also would have been nice to have at least some of the nobles to be nice, it was pretty black and white commoners against nobles.  Even with all its problems, this book was captivating, and dang it, it finished on a cliffhanger, my least favourite ending!!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas: Review

Blurb on book:

Feyre is a huntress. She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price . . .
Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feelings for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows. Feyre must find a way to break a spell, or lose her heart forever.

My thoughts:

I was quite impressed with Sarah J. Maas’ debut novel Throne of Glass so I was expecting good things from this first in a new series.  I was not disappointed.  Maas impresses with her lyrical style and the vivid descriptions of the Spring court where our heroine Feyre finds herself bound.  This is an alternate take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, and I for one, have never read anything like it.  Yes the author has sampled from fairy mythology quite heavily but she has put an original take on it by setting it in a completely different yet strangely familiar world.  Once I worked out it was based on Beauty and the Beast (that only took until someone translated Feyre’s name to mean Beauty) I was impatiently waiting for the denouement where she declared her love for Tamlin.  The author keeps you hanging, and although my hunger for the end made me rush through certain parts, I did the book and injustice by that, as the beautiful descriptions of Feyre’s struggle with her lifelong hatred of the Fairies and her guilt at killing one of them were wrenching.  Time and again, you both wanted to strangle her and cuddle her, as she hadn’t had a great life.  Still, the series of trials at the end of the book were perhaps my least favourite part.  I enjoyed most those halcyon days at the Spring court, where Feyre learns about herself, learns tolerance and discovers beauty, before it is wrenched away from her.

I recommend this one to lovers of fairytales, Sarah J Maas fans and for examples of how to convert a tired old fairytale into a beautiful tale.  Thoroughly enjoyed this.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Considering how long it’s been since I’ve visited my own blog, that means that this book had to be something special.  I gave it five stars and a little blurb on Goodreads, but sat here (at my uncomfortable computer desk so feel honoured Mr Aaronovitch) thinking that this book deserved more than just a quick link on Goodreads.  More people will probably read that little blurb on Goodreads than would possibly read this, but the urge to splurge some words hit me, and what is a blog for anyway, but to blurt out our innermost thoughts and feelings, no matter who or what might read them.

As a wannabe writer, my dream is to publish a reasonably well-written tale that is somewhat witty, and clever, and will make people sit up and take notice (and buy it).  I have become a critical reader now, looking for mistakes in others so that I may learn from them and not repeat those mistakes, but after a while, it sort of defeats the purpose of writing, which is to, well, write.  But sometimes, you read something so clever and witty and well-written, that you have to sit down and take your metaphorical hat off to them, because this book is one of those books.

Rivers of London starts off like this:

“It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St Paul’s at Covent Garden. Martin, who was none too sober himself, at first thought the body was that of one of the many celebrants who had chosen the Piazza as a convenient outdoor toilet and dormitory. Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the ‘London once-over’ – a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport – like base-jumping or crocodile-wrestling. Martin, noting the good-quality coat and shoes, had just pegged the body as a drunk when he noticed that it was in fact missing its head.”

I knew from the moment I read that first paragraph that I was on to something special.  I can’t believe it took me four years to find this book.  Imagine my utter joy when I realised that there are four more books in the series, already published.  That is the best thing about discovering something late.  You don’t get the angst of waiting.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes waiting is a good thing, but sometimes, you just want instant gratification.  That’s why I always wait for the full season of Game of Thrones to air before i watch the first episode.  That was beside the point.

This book is narrated by PC Peter Grant, a young constable in London, who encounters a ghost at the scene of a grisly murder (that would be the aforementioned headless body).  His paranormal encounter begins an adventure into a life that was hardly what he was expecting, having been told by his supervisor that he was destined to be a glorified clerk.  Aaronovitch’s witty style and grace and gorgeous attention to detail make this book an absolute pleasure to read.  The best part though, is the feeling of place while you read it.  I experienced London as if I was there again, even though I haven’t visited for over ten years. It all came flooding back, and the nostalgia was almost tangible.  I’m not sure how people who’ve never visited London will react to the book, but for me, this was the best part.

I recommend this book to lovers of paranormal fiction, crime fiction, fantasy fiction, fiction, non-fiction, the written word.  Basically, anyone who can read.

Tips for new writers from Emerging Writers Festival Authors

I attended my first Emerging Writers Festival event last weekend, and it was called the National Writer’s Conference. It ran both Saturday and Sunday, with two panel streams, along with a third meet-the-author style room.

I am a veteran of the literary SF conferences, such as the Australian Natcon, Worldcon and our local convention Continuum, so I had a few preconceived notions on how this event would be held. I don’t like to speak ill of the organisers but I was disappointed with a few of the panels. I found the panelists inarticulate and what was most disappointing was that they read their presentations out aloud. I am carefully not mentioning names because I know how scary speaking in public can be, but if you are signing yourself up for one of these panels all I can ask is that you know your product.

Admittedly, this being an Emerging Writer’s festival, most if not all the panelists have only one book published, but I am sure most of the audience would be grateful to learn the processes involved, not listen to an extended ad on their book that they are pushing.

Another gripe, and yes, I am griping, is that of all the guests, the only one I had heard of was Hannah Kent. Surely there are many more Australian Authors who only have one book published who could have been part of this event?

I felt the added pressure from my writing class that I had to bring back notes taken at the event with some interesting information, but I can say with certainty, that besides the first panel, which I scribbled furiously all the way through, there wasn’t much to bring back with me from any of the other panels. One became an outright political rant against the white privileged, while another the panelists stared at each other in dumb bemusement when asked a reasonably simple question.

I think I shall stick to my usual conferences which concentrate on the genre fiction I love and write and give these literary events the flick.

Having said all that, there was some good advice at the first panel, which I will try to distill down here:

The 5 x 5 Rules of Writing – tips from 5 authors and what they wish they had known.

Maxine Beneba Clarke says:
1 – Write what you know to be true. Find some way of accessing the story you want to write.
2- Use your failures. There are short truths everywhere. Use what you’re doing in everyday life.
3- Throw your hat in the ring. Submit, submit, submit.
4- Stay in the sweet spot. Trusting that when you feel you’ve written something good, stick with it.
5- Attend festivals. Belong to a community.

Felix Nobis says:

1- Publishing doesn’t just happen with the written word. It’s important to be mindful of the publishing possibilities but keep in mind the right form of publishing.
2- Every writer will be their own manager. Find out what prizes are going on, what grants are available.
3- A grant application is never the place to demonstrate creative writing.
4- Know what you are asking when you ask someone to read your work. Be clear to them what you are hoping their feedback to encompass. Respect the opinions you get.
5- Be aware of how you write best and then make time for that. Make time for it and do it as a job.

Krissy Kreen says:
1- Your novel will fall apart around about 20,000 words. Around the first act turning point. All stories are dogs. Don’t worry, write a bad first draft, it’s easier to work on improving a bad first draft than improving nothing written at all.
2- Be careful what you read. Books can feed our souls but they can also suck you dry
3- Writers must develop a split personality. 1 part is the creative brain, 1 part is the realist. Know the reality. Writing is tapping into the subconcious.
4- Be nice to strangers for they might be angels in disguise. Basically, you never know who you might be offending with your rude behaviour, especially at these conference events. Also, buy all your friends books if you expect them to buy yours.
5- Step away from Goodreads!!! If you are influenced by illiterate teenagers then you probably are too sensitive to be a writer.

Benjamin Law (Non-fiction/journalist) says:
All writing is vomiting and then cleaning it up. (Not a rule, just an observation)
1- Break your writing down into goals. Do this so you aren’t intimidated by the scope of your project.
2- Never be without ideas. Ideas are currency. Never wait for an Editor to reply. Send 7 ideas not 1. Record drunken conversations – sometimes real gems of ideas turn up. Join a book club – getting other peoples ideas about a book can turn up questions. Carry a notebook.
3- Exercise. There is a strong correspondence between exercising our body and our brain.
4- Get an accountant. Preferably one that specialises in the arts.
5- Choose your projects wisely. Keep moving forward. If a project doesn’t have two out of three of the following qualities, reject it. Fun, Interesting, Paid.

Hannah Kent says:
1- Read. To be a good writer you must be a good reader.
2- Cultivate empathy. The ability to understand and share the lives and feelings of others is essential in a good writer.
3- Work hard. Raw talent doesn’t count for much without hard work. Learn to write when you’re uninspired. Forget your ego – develop your skills. Be diligent, industrious and persistent.
4- Don’t wait until you feel ready. Start now. Be patient with yourself. You’ll become accustomed to the doubt. Brace yourself the the hard slog.
5- Write from the soul. Write from the deepest place of yourself. Write about something that means something to you.

Well, there you have it. Some wisdom from some of the new up and comers in the Australian literary field. Obviously this was an hour long panel and these tips are from hastily scribbled notes, but I think you will get their drift. It is not new advice, it is something I see written on most writers’ websites and in interviews. But obviously the message, being the same, means that it is something that should be practiced. I say do what feels right and pick and choose those rules you want and those you don’t feel are right for you can be discarded. Writing is an art as well as a craft, and while you are feeling comfortable with what you are doing, feel free to ignore everybody. If you are like me and crave all the advice you can get, then feel free to follow everything written here.

I am off to Continuum X this weekend, where I fully expect to fill my notebooks with interesting advice from experienced authors.

Sunny California

Well I survived the journey and what a marathon it was. Up at 6.30 to catch my 11am flight which left at 12. Then on to my 2.45 Sydney flight that left at 4.30. I got into Dan Francisco at 12.30 cleared customs by 1.30 and waited for my Napa bus which arrived at my hotel about 4.30. I wandered down to the Oxbow market, had a refreshing cup of yea and have spent the rest of the afternoon chatting in tasting rooms.

I am currently eating Salmon fillet tacos, a gourmet experience I won’t soon forget. Happy first day of my holiday (chings glass against itself).

Tomorrow I take a balloon ride and then do a winery tour so expect photos

Signing off drunkenly from Napa Valley

Paula

Worldcon here I come

The preparations have been a year in the making, the countdown began in February when I bought the tickets. Now finally, I have three more sleeps to go before I head off to attend my very first overseas Worldcon. I have been very lucky to have had two local Worldcons to attend, Aussiecon 3 and 4. Aussiecon 3 was my very first science fiction convention, and what an introduction to fandom it was. I was happy to help out and soon was drafted into managing the Hugo ceremony which was one of my best experiences ever.

Ever since then I have gotten into the spirit of volunteerism by helping organise various conventions, club nights and so on, culminating in Aussiecon 4 where I helped organise the dealers’ room. I have derived great enjoyment from being on committees and helping out but to be honest I am really looking forward to this event where I can just be one of the crowd, happy to go with the flow and not miss out on any of the events which I have marked in my calendar.

So I will be hopefully updating this blog a little more regularly than my usual efforts with experiences from my trip and hopefully a few photos (I bought a spiffy new camera just for this trip, hoping that my indifferent photography will suddenly morph into professional quality) and some interesting tidbits along the way.

Don’t worry there won’t be anything profound. I don’t do profound. Next time you hear from me I will be in the sunny state of California, sipping Napa wines by the poolside. Envy me, yes envy me please🙂