I couldn’t not write about this event…! What sort of crazy fan-girl would I be if I didn’t share my thoughts on my second literary con (in just a bit of a call back to the first one).
This year, Alt Fiction was right on my doorstep. As a matter of fact, it took place in the very same venue I visit for the Phoenix Writers Group, so it was nice to be on familiar ground (and nice not to have to travel to Derby when I currently weigh about as much as a beached whale -_-).
There were familiar faces in the form of members of the writing group, faces from last year and of course guest speakers that I recall from their name or from chatting with them last year as well. The experience, however, has been very different; probably because I have one of these events already tucked under my belt.
Let me take you through it (in brief, I promise!).
Oh and apologies in advance for the hefty splattering of links. Its not my usual style, but I couldn’t help it; where I could find them, I just had to link web presence to the names, because these people are fab and I want to share hem with you.
Alex Davis ran a fabulous workshop on Short Story Writing that gave me a few ideas and ways to try submitting some of the short stories and flash I seem to be collecting. I have to do something with them, right?!
Next was Mark Chadbourn who ran The Business of Writing. His workshop was so fantastically positive that a blog post I actually have scheduled for late May (y’know, when I’m buried under nappies and puke stained muslin) probably needs a vast rewrite! I came away from that workshop (even better because I totally gatecrashed it – I hadn’t signed up for it) with a buzz and desperate need to start making plans now, now, NOW!
How Not To Pitch (Dragon’s Pen) featured Ramsey Campbell, John Jarrold, Steve Tribe and… I’ve missed someone. Damn… who was it? Grr. *sigh* As well as the brave authors who verbally ‘pitched’ their work in true Dragon’s Den style. That was vastly entertaining. It was filled with lots of things you know inwardly, but should admit that its good to be reminded of. They were great examples of things you most certainly should not do, later reinforced with what you should do when making a pitch. Regardless, I know that, if I was pushed into a face to face pitch right now, I’d probably fluff it. I’m not ready for that yet.
Writing As A Day Job gave things a different slant compared to Mark’s workshop, but Adam Nevill, Niki Valentine, Conrad Williams and Kim Lakin-Smith certainly woke me up enough to keep me eager to fulfil my plans.
I wrapped up the day with the Comics Panel, (which was hilarious – I will put my hand up and say that I had no idea there were quite so many comics out there) and a reading, plus Q&A with Ken MacLeod. He’s ace! I seem to have two of his books upstairs (I don’t remember buying them, but who cares, I have them!) so I’m going to enjoy reading those.
Oh and I almost forgot (how the hell did I manage that?)! I did a reading in the Flash Fiction open mic section over lunch! ^_^ I don’t have a list of all the readers, unfortunately, though I’m sure I can ask the lovely Alasdair Stuart who has a recording of all the readings! Wheeeeeeeeeee! If you’re wondering why I’m so excited about that, its because he says I can have mine, which means I’ll be able to post it here so you can hear it. ^_^ I’ll put the excerpt up anyway, but I think it would be nice to have a live reading on the site. So look forward to that in a few days.
I managed to spend the whole day in one room; three panels of talks that made me bounce.
The Extremely Dangerous Fairy Folk, was searching and energetic and made me wish I’d recorded it in some way. Mainly because they made so many references to things I want to check up on regarding true fae. None of this tiny, child faced, cute creatures; more of the dark, evil evil creatures that steal your children. ^_^ Thank you to Graham Joyce and Kate Laity for that one. Oh and thanks for signing my book Graham (!).
Return Of The Short Story continued a recurring theme of talks/panels/workshops I was interested in this weekend. Short stories haven’t gone anyway and again its a great time to be writing fiction below 10,000 words. Again I came out of that one ready to leap over buildings (or at least ready to sit back at the PC and start tapping keys).
However… Diversity in Fantasy was my absolute favourite this year. Last year I remember feeling intimidated and frightened by the apparent lack of diversity at the con and in the speakers. However after the comments that sprang up in the comment-stream of that last post and in my research since then, there are definite improvements. And to hear Anne Lyle (I totally wanted to steal her t-shirt!), Adrian Tchaikovsky (even cooler because he’s a LARPer :p) and Mark Charan Newton talk about sexuality, race, religion and gender, both in fantasy and in the authors was just so interesting. I sat at the front bouncing up and down like a crazed fan-girl with a reeeeeeeeeally stupid grin on my face. But I don’t care; I enjoyed myself immensely. And I’ve missed someone again; I’m so sorry (-_-) I’m so useless with names unless they’re right in my face!
All in all, even with the waddling up and down stairs, fighting with the weather (I hate April showers!), and constant trips to loo (I want my bladder back!!!) I had a fantastic time. The whispers are that next year’s event is provisionally booked for the first week of May 2013, again in Leicester. Well that just makes me want to burst into song. Bring it on folks, bring it on.
Well done and huge thanks to Writing East Midlands, Adele Wearing, Phoenix Square and all supporters/partners for putting on a great con! See you next year, if not sooner! x
PS… I got another six books to read! What with yesterday’s Kindle downloads I have no idea where I’m going to find the time!!! :-/