Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC Day/Pace Workshop Exercise

Today (25th of April), people of Australia and New Zealand have a public holiday known as ANZAC Day. This is a day where we remember those in the Australian New Zealand Army Corps who served, and especially those who lost their lives, in World War I and especially in Gallipoli. Since the day was first established, it has extended to ANZACs in general, no matter when they served.

In WWI, the ANZAC's objective of capturing the Gallipoli Peninsula was met by strong resistance by the Ottoman Empire, one of Germany's allies during the war. Instead of the successful capture of Constantinople that was aimed for, troops from both sides suffered eight months of combat and high numbers of fatalities. While the ANZACs were unsuccessful, the day is remembered and celebrated because of the strength, courage and mateship shown on the battlefields.

I have never been to one of the dawn services until today. Not a fan of the 4:00AM wake-up, but it was well worth it. There was quite a sizable group of res kids going to the early session. This is also the first ANZAC Day service I've been to in the of Melbourne itself, and the service was held at the Shrine of Remembrance. It was inspiring to be there with so many others before the sun had even risen.

On a coincidentally related note, the pieces I wrote during my tutorial/workshop for Writing Craft when we were exercising our use of pace was set in a battlefield. Our tutor played music to set a fast or slow pace for us and this is what I came out with:

Fast-Pace, including all of my crossing out where I decided that it slowed the pace down. Just read the part that aren't crossed out. We were only given 10 minutes, so I was stopped mid-sentence too:

“Get down!”
Not even a second passed after the words left the commander’s lips before  The deafening screech of a bomb whistlinged down on us, the screech deafening. I lay pressed myself into the soil as. The earth around me rose and fell. I stood again with the others. Heads down, guns raised, we crawled forwards.
The blood-coated red-zone was a death-trap sprawled with disembodied limbs. We shuffled forward an inch, ducked as gun-fire rained down on us (from) above us, rose again, pressed forward.
“Get down!”
The deafening whistle sounded again, closer. The ground to my right exploded in a spray of spraying dirt. I waited. Someone pulled me to my feet as the rescue van came into view. We dashed forward, half-hopeful, terror-filled, but alive.
“Get down!”
I didn’t listen. My hands made contact with the metal ladder and. I threw myself up against the… 
Slow-Pace. I thought of a battlefield in slow-motion. Again, this contains all the crossing out I did, so the most important stuff is what isn't crossed out:

Not even a second A moment passed after the commander ordered us to get down. My body met the soft soil of the battlefield red-zone with a gentle thud and I saw the dirt around me rise in a graceful arch and patter back down. I lay for a moment, inhaling, and felt the pulse of the earth beneath my palms as I lay them flat. Someone’s voice called out, but it sounded muted, distant and ethereal. My cheek felt the tickling of blood form a nick somewhere above my eyebrow and I pressed it into the ground, closing my eyes as I exhaled. When I lifted my eyelids again, I could see Corey’s face, watching me from the his place in front to my right. Behind him, I saw the dirt flying up in another graceful arch, and felt the pulse of the earth beneath my fingertips again. That distant voice sounded again, but remained unheard as I watched Corey flash pass me as mall smile; something reassuring. 

I think slow-pace comes to me easier, but fast-pace is definitely useful. While slow-motion battle scenes are pretty cool in my humble opinion, we can't going into slow-motion EVERY time there is gunfire and explosions in our stories. I think that paces that contrast what is actually happening should only be used when necessary; if there is some important detail that NEEDS to be brought to attention during the scene through the pace.

If anybody else would like to try this exercise writing a piece in fast-pace and slow-pace and post in the comments (give it about 100-150 words for each piece?), my song suggestions for those wanting musical assistance are 'Kiss the Rain' by Yiruma (for slow-pace, lovely piano music), and 'Before I Forget' by Slipknot... or you know, pick your own songs, that works too! :)

I ask again, what do you think about using pace in your writing? 

- Bonnee.


  1. The PomNextDoorApril 25, 2013

    You make war sound like such a beautiful thing o.O honestly I would have never dreamed that possible, something we science students fail to achieve, as blowing things up is what comes naturally :P

    1. Jen??? o.O Haha, anything is possible when we write. I though you of all people would know, even if you are a science student! You write too!

      Blowing things up comes naturally to you... I live with you. This does not bode well.

  2. Excellent examples showing fast and slow pacing. And cool that you got up early to go to the remembrance ceremony. Can't even imagine what that must have been like for those soldiers.

    1. Thank you.

      I have heard so many fantastic stories about the ANZACs.

      The early start would have been easier if I'd gotten to bed, oh, say, with more than four hours before I'd have to get up again.

    2. Or you could have just stayed up and gone straight there!

    3. I considered doing that, but then I didn't want to be sleeping all day. Which, so far, I'm not. I'm being very productive! By which, I mean I'm watching Game of Thrones by myself :p

  3. On a more serious note...

    I think it's good for people to go to services like the one you attended. We need to be reminded of the sacrifices that have been made. It's very easy to forget.

    As for the writing, I think it's interesting to see how you crossed out much less with the slow pace than the fast, and interesting also to see what you cut and how it affected each piece's pace. Nice exercise.

    1. It is easy to forget, but some of the stories you hear when you go to those things really stick with you. The highlight was probably on our way there. We walked up to the tram stop and got on, there were about 30-40 of us res kids going to the dawn service, and a couple of old ladies on the tram asked us if all of us were really going to the service. I think some people really do forget how important the ANZACs were.

      Like I said, the slow pace seems to come easier for me. Generally speaking, I KNOW that I fluff around a lot when I'm writing a first draft, and considering we only had a few minutes, this was a very drafty draft.

  4. Hello my beautiful friend Bonnee! Happy ANZAC day to you too!
    Your first dawn service? Wowzers!! They're worth it, arent they? Apart from the cold and getting up early (which is almost as bad as maths, which is really bad) its most definitely worth it. It's almost kind of magical at some points isnt it?

    and great little pieces there!! I have also been inspired to write about the war and I have about a little five page thing going so far, which I'll have to add to soon.

    And I'll post about Japan soon, I promise! It's just going to be such a looooong post it'll almost be a pain for me to write! Haha but I'll try do it sometime over this four day weekend and I'll publish it ASAP.

    till next time,



    1. Hey EJ :)

      I usually go to the daytime service in my hometown, but of course, living away from my hometown, and being surrounded by other people, I tend to be trying a lot of new things. Definitely worthwhile.

      I always feel like writing about it when we have ANZAC Day... and Remembrance Day. Keep on writing, EJ :)

      I want to hear all about Japan! Seriously, if it helps, break it up into sections and make multiple posts so you don't have to do it all at once! :)

      I get a four day weekend every weekend... yay uni!

      I'll keep an eye out for your next post :)

      - Bonnee xx

  5. This is a really awesome post! I enjoyed reading this very much.

    1. I'm glad you think so :) Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I didn't know about Gallipoli. I thought it was somewhere close to Australia and New Zealand and that is why they fought about it. It turns out to be far away close to Turkey and Greece. Like L.G. Smith posted, what you wrote is an excellent example about pacing. I didn't get it before, but now reading very different examples, I understand it. Your slow pace writing is more poetic, but I like the fast pace better. I can really feel the action of the war reading the fast pace. It's written like a movie. Well done!

    1. Oh no, Australia and NZ were buddies for the war. If I remember correctly, the ANZACs met up with the British forces in Egypt for some training before they moved on to Gallipoli together, but don't quote me on that. I'm glad these examples gave you a better understanding on pace, and writing cinematically (like a movie) was something else our lecturer briefly mentioned. Thank you for stopping by, as always :)


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