The Fuzzy Lolly Theory of Story Creation.

A thought from Conflux 12 (courtesy of Sean Williams):

A single good idea is not enough for a story. You need to let it sit and then, like a lolly left under the bed, it gathers concepts like fuzz. Eventually, that fuzz reaches critical mass and things begin to grow out of the lint and dustbunnies – ideas link up, worlds and characters appear and a narrative forms and that is the start of Story.




Conflux 12 is Coming to Canberra in 2016!

The 12th annual Canberra speculative fiction convention – Conflux 12 – is happening in Canberra from September 30th to October 3rd, 2016. It is always an excellent weekend with great panels, insightful special guests, masterclasses, kaffeeklatches and opportunities to just hang out with writers, artists and fans with common passions.

This year, we have writers Alan Baxter and David Farland as special guests.

Conflux is great because it tends to be smaller and more intimate than some of the bigger conventions around (i.e. not as crowded) and it also tends to attract many of the bigger names in the Australian speculative fiction scene. It is thus an excellent con to attend as a writer or fan if you want the opportunity to hang out at the bar with people you’ve always admired or pick some industry brains. I love it because I get to catch up with all my friends each year in a relaxed setting. The Aussie speculative fiction and art scene is full of really nice people so come along! 🙂

Anyway – about the header for Conflux 12:


The topic this year was Red Fire Monkey in reference to the 2016 Chinese New Year. To create this logo for the Conflux WordPress and Facebook pages, I looked up a load of Chinese art books, looking for a style that would suit. The style I went with, especially for the pine, is meant to evoke the flowing, tapering linework of ancient Chinese ink drawings.

The pine shape is reflective of cascading bonsai branches which, although better known in the west as a Japanese art and pruning style, also appears in Chinese art, culture and gardens. It took a few tries to find the right shape for the elegantly cascading branch. I also had to make sure that the monkey as well as the smoke and fire coming from its bowl were all the right shape and orientation to complement the elegance of the pine.

I also had to research monkeys, in particular types of red or golden monkey that I could use that would be appropriate for the theme. Originally, I was going to go with a golden lion tamarin, except that they are not Chinese! (I am not 100% sure they are technically monkeys, either) Thus, I went with the Chinese golden monkey and infused a little red into the coat. They actually do have a blue face, which adds some extra colour.

Finally, I had to add a Canberra touch. Canberra is known for the iconic Telstra Tower that sits in the heart of the city atop Black Mountain. I added it, giving it a tapering, angled aesthetic that I think fits in well with the flowing appearance of the rest of the piece.