FantasyCon 2010

And then it was all over. Man, conventions are great, but boy does time fly.

This was my first FantasyCon, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My only other UK con experience was EasterCon earlier this year, and as it turned out FantasyCon was quite different, being small, with only a single stream of events and a much smaller attendance. EasterCon, by contrast, was an enormous, sprawling event, with multiple event streams and a heck of a lot of attendees. To be  fair, I do enjoy both kinds of events, although the low-key nature of FantasyCon did surprise me a little.

Not that being low-key  is necessarily a bad thing, and indeed FantasyCon had a cosy, friendly atmosphere. As always, these are social events, and I was pleased to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. As always with these things, they feel like they should be about a week long, as the list of people I wanted to catch up with but either didn’t or only managed a few quick words is long. But there’s always next year. Actually, the move from Nottingham to Brighton for FantasyCon 2011 sounds like an excellent idea, because in all honesty the Britannia hotel is bloody awful! I’m also hoping that next year’s event might be a little more fantasy-oriented, because for a lot of time this year you’d be forgiven for thinking you were attending a horror convention, with a multitude of horror book launches taking place and even the British Fantasy Awards – as great as they were – being dominated by horror. Of course, horror can be considered a subset of ‘fantastical’ fiction, but I was rather surprised at the lack of ‘true’ fantasy, if you can call it that.

I only went to one panel over the weekend, which was an amusing take on How Not To Get Published. As fun as it was, I was a little disappointed that the same old guff about starting in short stories was brought up yet again (although, really, only by one particular panellist who just repeated what he’d said at EasterCon and again at Alt Fiction). Suffice to say, I can’t disagree more with the idea that you must start on short fiction before moving to the long form. They are completely different forms of writing and, I would argue, not really related to each other. Anyway, I’ve gone on about this before! I suspect the argument will be never-ending, but I can only suggest that people just do what they feel they want to do and always take writing advice with a pinch of salt.


Anyway, there were too many great moments over the weekend to pick any particular highlight. As evidenced by Mike Shevdon over on his blog, I managed to get my ebooks signed at the Angry Robot launch on the Saturday (easier than you think, actually), and there was much hilarity over the pulp fiction sales table which may lead to an interesting collaborative blog project – but more on that later.

My thanks to the organisers for running a terrific event and see you next year in Brighton!

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  • Rob Mammone

    Does the argument about starting with short fiction boil down to getting a quicker turnaround on acceptance/rejection and thus a quicker chance to learn on the go, as it were, than novel writing, which, by its length, means that any sort of feedback is very sporadic?

    That's a really long sentence but I hope a coherent one!

    I prefer writing short fiction for the reasons outlined above. Based on feedback, based on rejections, I'd like to think I've improved since I started early in 2009. If I'd slogged through a novel however, I'd probably have finished one in that time, as work/family take 95% of my time. As a result, I'd not have shown much, if any, improvement in my writing.

    That said, given your turnaround, Adam, I can see why you're an advocate for not needing to start with short fiction.

  • That's a separate argument – yes, short stories have a quicker turnaround, which means you can get more out there to showcase your work, increase your exposure, etc.

    However, the argument put forth at FantasyCon, and Alt Fiction, and EasterCon (by the same guy) is that writing short stories trains you to write novels. As I point out in my earlier blog post (linked from this one), I couldn't disagree more.

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