If I weren’t in it, I’d go to it. You can sign up here.
Saturday 20 November
9.15am – 4.45pm
Royal Over-Seas League, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James’s Street, SW1A 1LR
Tube: Green Park
Sign up for masterclasses on the day – you can do 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.
Today’s the day for you genre fiction writers. We know that there’s nothing as good as a good read to take you somewhere weird, magical, into the seedy past, into the bosom of romance or into some post apocalyptic nightmare. And there’s nothing like a genre surge to signal the zeitgeist – look at the current boom in vampire lit and dark romance. The day kicks off with a panel of writers and editors, then choose a morning and afternoon masterclass, take part in a competition and listen to writers telling us about their guilty (reading) pleasures.
9.15am Registration, Tea and Coffee
10.00am – 11.00am Critical Mass: Panel debate
Nicci Gerrard best-selling psychological thriller writer, Tim Waterstone novelist, entrepreneur and founder of Waterstones bookselling chain, and Stephen Jones, horror fiction editor, debate the knotty essentials of mass market genre fiction. Why do people love to read it and why are others so snooty about it? Does easier to read mean easier to write? What are the key current trends and where are they heading? Can vampire lit live for ever? The panel also includes Duncan Proudfoot, editor at Constable & Robinson and Catherine King, romantic fiction author. Critic and Broadcaster Suzi Feay chairs.
11.00am – 11.30am Break
Secret Guest reveals her Guilty Reading Pleasure.
11.30am – 1.30pm Masterclasses
Recipe for a Thriller
‘Take an ordinary emotion that all of us have experienced and push it further and further until it’s really sinister….’ So say Nicci Gerrard and Sean French who are co-authors of a dozen bestsellers. In this workshop Nicci helps you get to grips with your psychological thriller scenario and how to build a compelling narrative.
Horror: how to get published
Multiple award-winning horror editor Stephen Jones talks about how to prepare and submit your work to anthologies and publishers, with special emphasis on the horror and dark fantasy genres. You will need to bring paper and writing materials as creative writing exercises will be involved.
Building Worlds from Scratch
Historical writers research their worlds; contemporary novelists observe their worlds; science fiction novelists have to create their darned worlds from scratch. The infrastructure, ecology, jargon, cultural assumptions, the relations between the sexes, even the nature of human biology itself – all these have to be defined and made consistent, to function as the backdrop and texture of the universe of the story. With author of three science fiction novels, screenwriter and editor, Philip Palmer, you’ll look at the craft of science fiction world building and the creation of future histories and try out your own ideas in writing and pitching exercises.
Catherine King’s romantic novel A Mother’s Sacrifice sold 3,500 copies in the week before Mother’s Day this year, so what is the appeal of this enduring genre? In Catherine’s workshop you will learn about the essential ingredients of a romantic novel to enable you to learn how to create an idea of your own, and how to approach developing the plot.
1.30pm – 2.15pm Lunch Break
The Royal Over-Seas League is close to Green Park and Piccadilly with many places to buy your own lunch.
2.15pm – 2.30pm Find out the Guilty Pleasure of Sci-Fi London’s Louis Savy.
2.30pm – 4.30pm Masterclasses
Create Your Perfect Rom-Com Heroine
Certain ‘stock’ figures tend to pop up in rom-com, the trick is to twist them into something fresh and new. With award-winning writer Allie Spencer take a look at famous fiction heroines, Lizzie Bennet and Bridget Jones: see how and why they work. Then go on to workshop your own heroines and heroes.
No matter how brilliant your idea and your style, the hardest thing can be getting a driving narrative that keeps your reader hooked and coming back for more. Author and book reviewer Robert Collins takes you through the essential kit for creating a page-turning read: punchy premise, plotting, structure, setting up hooks and keeping it moving. All with practical writing exercises.
Fantasy Fiction: Fights and Battle Scenes
“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy” – Napoleon.
This underpins writing a good battle scene. You need chaos not choreography, it is not a dance. It is full of blood and fear. James Barclay, creator of the bestselling fantasy fiction Raven trilogies and many other titles, shows you how. You will look at knowing your weapons, using magic, point of view, overview and character. Then write your own skirmish!
What happens when?
Winner of the 2007 Daily Telegraph Novel in a Year competition, Imogen Robertsonis now author of a successful historical crime fiction series. Today she shows you how to get the most out of your research for plotting, setting and tone in your historical novel. You’ll look at how some of our best historical novelists establish the period and the atmosphere of their work, and learn how to apply those techniques in practical exercises. You’ll look at how to fillet dramatic details from documents of different periods and use historical research to generate plot, ideas and character.
4.30pm – 4.45pm Zombie Jane Eat Your Heart Out!
Join our guest authors for the announcement of the winner of our genre day competition and hear the finalists read their pieces.
Genre day competition: Zombie Jane Eat your Heart Out!
Can you fuse a great old book, or character, or author with a contemporary popular fiction genre? Think Sherlock Holmes meets Bridget Jones or Agatha Christie goes post-apocalyptic. Max 250 word scenarios or pitches please. Write it on the day or bring it with you and drop it in the competition box. Winning entries will be published on Spread the Word’s website and featured in our e-newsletter. Join guest writers for the announcement of the winner and hear the finalists read their pieces.