Illustrious 2011

Exactly two weeks from now I’ll be visiting Illustrious, this year’s science-fiction Eastercon. It’s going to be geeky, it’s going to be fun. And I can’t wait!

My first priority for visiting Illustrious is to join in with the writing workshops. There are two different types and I’ve signed up for both:

  • Writers’ Workshop. This looks like it follows a fairly standard workshop format. Participants have to submit a piece of work up to 5000 words in length in advance of the workshop. This will be shared amongst participants before being discussed during the workshop itself. I’ve submitted the first three chapters of my rewritten novel Kyoto Grove. I need all the feedback I can get on this, because the rewrite has been a real struggle. I received an email a few days ago to say that I’m in a workshop on the Saturday afternoon – so I’ll see you there if you’re also attending. Just make sure you email your submission to Martin Owton as soon as possible or you might not get a place!
  • Writers’ First Impressions Workshop. This workshop concentrates on the first two pages of a story or a novel, focusing on getting the best bang-for-your-bucks out of your first line/paragraph/page. No need to submit work in advance for this, so I’m not sure what I’m going to take along at the moment. I might take the first couple of pages from my stories Incarnate or Refugees – those of you who have attended (or who are about to attend) the Manchester Speculative Fiction writers’ group will be familiar with these. The workshop is being run by Terry Edge.

If you’re planning on visiting Illustrious for either of the above workshops then you need to get in contact with the above people right now because places are limited. Get cracking and see you there!

As well as the workshops there are plenty of other activities going on at Illustrious. I’ve heard a rumour that there’s a Pimp My Nerf Gun item on the program so I’ll be packing heat. However, I notice from the program that there’s a ‘Weapons Policy’ in force so I need to be careful. The policy states that it will allow edged weapons if “peace bonded to the satisfaction of Ops rovers”. However “anything that looks like a modern firearm” will not be allowed. And “polearms will only be allowed in demonstration areas”, well of course, I mean how ridiculous to assume otherwise. OMG! This is going to be AWESOME!

Then there will be Firefly LRP running all weekend. I’m mighty tempted to join in with this, but I suspect I will be too busy or too distracted or just too self-conscious. But I’ll see.

Then there is the Dealers’ Room. I’ll certainly be dropping in to grab a copy of Murky Depths #16 and hang around nonchalantly dropping hints that I’m appearing in #18. But check it out, there’s Forbidden Planet, TTA Press, all sorts!

There’s also the Admiralty Ball on the Sunday night, which I decided not to attend in the end. Although a very helpful chap mentioned it’s worth hanging around on the Sunday to see all the excellent costumes. Next year I’m going to work on the hoodlums at Manchester Speculative Fiction to see if I can organise a group trip. Watch out you lot!

So I’ll be visiting on the Saturday and the Sunday, and I’ve booked a room for the Saturday night so I can enjoy a beer and a chat with people. See you there!


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