Alt.Fiction 2011

Just a quick note to say what a lovely time I had at Alt.Fiction over the weekend. Many thanks to Alex and the team for organising such a slick, content-packed event.

I took part in a panel on YA fiction, moderated a panel on the writer’s life, and did a reading with Guest of Honour Alastair Reynolds, which turned into a very relaxed chat. As ever with these things, what really makes them for me is the chance to catch up with people, and this was no exception: a wonderful mix of old friends, ‘net contacts I’ve never, or rarely, met, and new friends. The weekend was spent in the excellent company of the 1966 boys (Al Reynolds, Tony Ballantyne, Ian Sales), Roy Gray, Conrad Williams, Stephen Volk, Ian Whates, Kim and Del Lakin-Smith, and many more.

Another of the really good things about these events is the confidence boost. I went there having had a fairly shitty time in the day job, and I didn’t realise it but my confidence was shot to pieces. The thought of standing up and “performing” in front of an audience was pretty damned daunting; even the thought of all the meeting people was pretty challenging, when I could so easily just have stayed at home and concentrated on my novel; when I’m low it’s so much easier to retreat into my antisocial shell. But did I mention how nice everyone was and what a good crowd was there? I came away with a healthy boost of confidence and renewed enthusiasm for writing, raring to get back to work on the novel and all the other projects buzzing around in my head.

That panel on the writing life? I think the consensus was that the writer’s life is actually a lot tougher than most people credit, but when it comes down to it, a writer’s life is good, and none of us would want anything else. That was certainly my conclusion!

About Keith Brooke and infinity plus

Keith Brooke is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and other strange stuff, and editor and reviewer of same. He is also the publisher at infinity plus, an independent imprint publishing books by leading genre fiction authors. View all posts by Keith Brooke and infinity plus

5 responses to “Alt.Fiction 2011

  • Colin F. Barnes

    The writer’s life panel was excellent, and in fact, despite the hardships, I would agree. I’d be happy to give up all that I have with my day job for full-time writing, even if its for less money (as long as I can continue to live).

    I thought you come across really well on the writer’s life panel, certainly not low on confidence (unlike me who avoided talking to anyone until the 2nd day).

    Hopefully, I’ll bump into you again soon at other conventions. Thanks again for the advice given at the panel (about english degrees).

    • keithbrooke

      Hi, Colin. Thanks for the feedback – it all seemed to go well, but you’re never sure how well it’s received (unless people start throwing things). Yes: it’d be good to meet up at other cons!

  • Martin

    Hi Keith. I empathise completely with the sentiments in the third paragraph — one of the reasons I’ve not been making plans to attend any cons. But like you I always find they give me a boost. Will probably do Eastercon next year and am pondering the SFX weekender in Feb. See you soon.

  • John Jarrold

    I thoroughly enjoyed Alt.Fiction, as always. Yep, I’m up for the SFX Weekender and Eastercon 2012!

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