Stephen Aryan, RJ Barker, Steve McHugh, Angeline Trevena, M.L. Wang
Should there be rules to magic? How do you go about defining the parameters of a supernatural regime? Join our panel as they discuss the ins and outs of structuring magical systems and how to convey them to readers.
Antoine Bandele, Amanda Cherry, Megan Haskell, Anna Smith Spark
Quests, chosen ones, and battles between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are foundational themes in SFF, but all too often a beloved trope can turn into a despised cliché. Join us as we talk about subverting and inverting the old into new stories that fit the world as it is today.
Karen Diem, Patrick LeClerc, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Clayton Snyder
J E Hannaford
A story is a journey; some are epics, told over years, while others may capture a single moment in time. What a writer conveys is more important than the word count, and a short story can be an intense experience, leaving you thinking for days. How does writing a short story differ from a novel?
Join our female-penned, female-led panel to discuss what women are looking for in fantasy these days and why readers are flocking to indies to get their fantasy fix. Focusing on the female gaze and the heroine’s journey, our panellists talk about the power of women.
In this workshop, we'll be discussing hints and tips on how to build a world for your story to take place in; exploring the benefits of understanding the inner workings of your world to frame your narrative and how your characters, races and nations behave.
Jess Lawrence, Alicia Wanstall-Burke, Halla Williams
Everyone needs an editor, no matter if it’s your first book or your twentieth. Our panel discusses the differences between editing your own manuscript and working with a professional, as well as their perspective on how editing influences their own writing.
Building a gripping narrative – characters, dialogue & pacing
Autumn M. Birt, Peter McLean, A.F. Stewart, Gray Williams
D P Woolliscroft
A story’s plot is just the start. Believable, engaging dialogue from relatable characters and the right pace keep readers hooked and coming back for more. How is dialogue used to provide exposition, advance the plot, create mood and convey characterization? How do you build characters that connect and resonate with people? How do you pace your story to keep that narrative on point?
Alexander Darwin, Madeline Dyer, Darran M Handshaw, Joyce Hertzoff, Cavan Scott
Is it science fiction or is it fantasy? What falls under the speculative fiction umbrella? Everyone has an opinion and booksellers think they know how to categorize books, but are they right? Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Sara Codair, Sasha Greene, Rob J. Hayes, Rachel Emma Shaw, Clayton Snyder
Writing can be a solitary slog at the best of times. For those with mental health concerns, it can seem impossible. Can stories and characters about mental illness help smooth the way? Are there enough books dealing with these issues? Our panel discusses stories tackling mental health and how the author’s state of mind influences their writing.
Bloggers and reviewers are essential to both readers and writers. Our panellists discuss the blogging and reviewing life, how they got into it, the ups and downs, and their views on trends in the genre. They also ask if the idea of 'originality' is a vital metric of quality.
Victoria Corva, J.R.H. Lawless, Dixon Reuel, Rachel Emma Shaw
The pandemic changed everyone’s life, including writers and readers. After a year of isolation, how has COVID influenced SFF? What impact has home confinement had on the themes of the genre? Is there an increased market for low conflict SFF? Our panel discusses how the pandemic has altered mindsets and creative choices.
Dancing Lemur Press, J. R. Frontera, Kristin Helling, Michelle River
Alex S. Bradshaw
How should one begin a writing career, and what are the different incarnations of indie publishing? From small presses to imprints to going solo, what are the options for authors who want something different from the Big 5?
Antoine Bandele, J. C. Duncan, Eli Hinze, Gabriela Houston
Folklore, history, and fantasy. Fantasy worlds are often based on existing mythologies and folklore has always existed alongside humanity, but it is best understood through stories and histories. This panel discusses where to delve deep into source material and where to diverge completely.
Michael C. Bailey, Angela Boord, Stew Hotson, Andrea Stewart, Suzannah Rowntree
Fight sequences make for exciting reading but writing realistic ones can be a tumultuous experience. Watch our panel for advice on crafting exhilarating fight scenes that are still rooted in realism. From sword and shield combat to vicious futuristic warfare, explore what makes a fight scene gripping, vivid and believable.
Using psychology to develop characters. How the theories used by counsellors and psychologists can help you create characters that feel realistic, have understandable motivations, and will make your readers care.
If you’ve been looking for a practical guide to writing more representative SFF, look no further. From writing effective combat scenes with those less physically able to putting neurodiverse individuals into the starring role, our panel will discuss creating characters with diverse abilities. Join us for a talk on accessibility worldbuilding.
Dyrk Ashton, Victoria Corva, Quenby Olson, Timandra Whitecastle
Is crowdfunding the future of indie and traditional publishing? Or already the present? A panel to discuss the process of crowdfunding, particularly Kickstarter, on a budget. Lessons learned, best practise, and fun stories.
Looking to get your writing in front of agents and editors? Wondering what it takes to get their attention and leave them wanting more? Join pitching powerhouse Amanda Cherry for this hour of skill building and get ready to do just that. You'll learn how to distill your work into a pro-level pitch package that's ready for your next writing conference, pitch festival, or serendipitous meeting in an elevator.
The fundamentals of structure for any length story, and how to get all your beats in the right places. This is very much a 101 level approach, and I will be using Die Hard as our example (so it helps if you can squeeze in a quick watch before we start, but isn't essential).
J. R. Frontera, W.R. Gingell, Levi Jacobs, Dixon Reuel, Tao Wong
An epic discussion on how (and why) authors plan and write long series. Join our panelists as they debate the challenges and pleasures of writing in a single universe throughout multiple books. We fully expect a pantser vs plotter showdown.
RJ Barker, Intisar Khanani, Andrea Stewart, K.S. Villoso, Evan Winter
Great authors create vivid, animated settings for their stories, enticing readers into another world, and make them yearn for places they’ve never been. They make the incredible credible and highlight the greater possibilities of life. Our expert panel discuss their inspirations and methods for building out of this world worlds.
Top-down, Bottom-up, and Inside-out Worldbuilding Strategies
Most worldbuilders focus on top-down or bottom-up creation, but no one takes into account how audiences experience worlds from the inside-out. Learn to identify fantasy conceits and harness all three strategies to take your worldbuilding to the next level.
A panel to whet your appetite and tickle your tastebuds. Going beyond bread and stew, a fascinating discussion how to use food as a worldbuilding tool and why food in a fantasy novel is not just meaningless detail.
Aliette de Bodard, Vida Cruz, Andrea Stewart, K.S. Villoso, M. L. Wang
Asia represents dozens of cultures, and there are a growing number of reading choices. Focusing on more than your standard fare of East Asian fantasy, join our panel for a discussion on emerging Asian fantasy and what goes into creating these settings. Oh, and get some amazing recommendations.