Friday, 1 July 2011

Alt.Fiction 25th June 2011

Last Saturday I attended Alt.Fiction at the Quad in Derby, a fabulous genre fiction festival where writers and readers mingle and socialise. Where there is a great feeling of old friends coming together, and new friends about to be made. Its simply for everyone, and anyone interested in reading or writing science fiction, fantasy or horror.

This year, was my third, and Alt.Fiction's fifth festival, a two day event for the first time, having previously run just on the Saturday. Unfortunately, I could only make the one day but, I made the most of my time.

After arriving, and catching up with friends from The Speculators, the group for speculative fiction writers in and around Leicester, I set off to my first panel of the day. The Digital Revolution, with Lee Harris, Damien G Walter, Helen Marshall and Cheryl Morgan. I gleaned much, Cheryl made some good points on the formatting issues surrounding ebooks which I hadn't realised before. I was also heartened to hear Damien say he thought the novella was making a comeback. I learnt a lot. A good start.

The next panel particularly appealed, people who know me well, also know I love horror, and anything dark, so The Infamous Horror Panel was right up my street. Sarah Pinborough, Mark Morris, Conrad Williams and Adam Neville entertained. Each spoke a little on how they handle the craft, and the differences between horror and dark fiction were briefly explored.

With so many different choices on the schedule, it was difficult to choose not to attend some of the podcasts, in favour of a couple of very good workshops. Kim Lakin-Smith ran a thought provoking session on creating a good strong character. She set us to work after a short talk, and I was amazed at the writing produced in what seemed like only a few minutes.

Later, I stuck my toe in the water with Colin Harvey's workshop, Settings for Science Fiction. I worked hard, and am happy to say produced a short piece of writing which I'd like to develop further.

I paid a visit to the book sales room, and walked out with several purchases, including latest editions of the Interzone and Black Static magazines, and another couple of new reads to keep me entertained. I feel its really important to support the magazines.

Another panel followed, and for me the most informative and entertaining of the day, the Scriptwriting Panel with Mark Chadbourn, Robert Shearman, Paul Finch, Jonathan L Howard and Stephen Volk. Highly amusing, I felt the guys were very funny, whilst able to tell it, how it is, regarding the difficulties of breaking into this very lucrative and interesting market.

I only managed to get along to one podcast, Tie-In Fiction and Shared Worlds, with Pat Kelleher, Dan Abnett, Guy Adams and Guy Haley. More comedians, and I do mean that in the nicest possible way. Chaired by Adele Wearing who started the informative blogzine Un-Bound site, and if you don't know it, I urge you to take a look. The podcast entertained and informed, and those I missed will be available later to hear again.

The whole event was well organised by Alex Davis and his team of volunteers. They all deserve a huge pat on the back. There is so much more I could say about Alt.Fiction, but this blog post is long enough, and anyway, you guys you should go and find out for yourselves next year. Its fun!


  1. Thank you for sharing this with us. I didn't know that there was such a thing as Alt.Fiction Festival. I shall have to find out more about it. I'm off to the crime festival

  2. Hi Maria,

    This sounds like it was very interesting. Are the podcasts available anywhere, a site or something, or iTunes?

    Moody Writing

  3. Soon, I'm told. When I know details, I'll pass the information forward.

    Thank you for commenting.


  4. Jamara,

    Which crime festival? I'm keen to get to one myself.


  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! :)

  6. This may seem a bit silly as a comment on such an informative post won, you won! Your caption won on my *snerk* Wednesday post. Congratulations, pop over and see what your prize is :)


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