Countdown to Nine Worlds Geekfest: Creative Writing

The countdown continues for Nine Worlds Geekfest 2014 and to help you learn more about the various tracks we managed to talk to some of the track leads and get the latest from them.  This time it is the team from the Creative Writing track.

Nine Worlds has fully embraced the literary world and not just the professionals but also you budding writers and this track looks to combine the best from all over.

The creative writing track at Nine Worlds 2014 will be putting on workshops for budding and experienced writers of all kinds and flavours. “We have sessions on how to write your own fantasy language, giving the alien perspective, and writing mysteries for the modern age. We are working with a number of other tracks to bring you a rounded and enthralling programme of writing focused activities and talks from across the spectrum of geekery. We are looking forward to inspiring new ideas and helping the next Ray Bradbury or Robin Hobb find their feet. Please come find us at Nine Worlds 2014!” said track head, Hannah Eiseman-Renyard.

Hannah is a writer and editor by day; blogger and performance poet by night. She is the editor of the Whippersnapper Press for short, sharp, funny creative writing, which runs an annual Vogon Poetry Slam. Hannah has been described as ‘fine’ by three therapists’, ‘of good character’
by a high court judge, and as ‘a rotten brat’ by her mother.


Geek Syndicate: Creative writing was a major part of last year’s event, how did that go and what was the best thing from it?

Hannah and Megan: I was just delighted at how the sessions continued to pack out rooms – standing room only and spilling out the door. (We’ve got a bigger room this year). In the last sessions of each day – when we didn’t need to clear out for the next session – people would stay around for 2 hours or more after the end of the session to keep writing, keep workshopping, keep talking about their favourite authors and series.
It was people’s enthusiasm which was probably my favourite thing.

GS: The Creative writing seems to be one of the busiest tracks at this year’s event. Tell us about the events and how hard has it been to coordinate all of this?

H and M: At this point I need to do a massive call-out to my co-organisers: geek performance poet Dan Simpson, who’s booked some amazing performance poets, and the amazing, wonderful, ninja Megan Bettinson who’s kept all the wheels turning and done the majority of the organising and coordinating in pulling the whole thing together.

[Megan – And we’d like to give Hannah a massive thank you for all of the amazing work she does in getting the word out there on social media, getting to the meets and press events, and generally making sure we’re where we need to be!]

We have loads of people approaching us with amazing offers, so a lot of it is picking the best options, and making sure we touch all the bases we want to/can. We’ve already got a list of people we’d like to get in for next year who we couldn’t squeeze into the timetable for this year! We’re lucky enough to have our own room so our organisation has been relatively smooth compared with some tracks that are working together and others who simply have too many fabulous guests to fit into one room’s session times.

I’d like to give a huge shout out to everyone who is involved with the Creative Writing track sessions this year. Every guest we’ve got has been so eager, helpful, and understanding of the various glitches that arise from time to time. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come together on the day.

GS: Battle Rapping Monsters sounds crazy and open to a younger crowd. Tell us about it and what else have you got for younger

H and M: Within the creative writing track we try to keep our content relatively family friendly (any sessions that aren’t are later in the evening and clearly stated over 18) because we firmly believe that age has little to do with how creative you are. More often than not a child’s ideas will be a lot more creative than an adults! Where possible we’re aiming to show people how to improve their craft and build on their own ideas. A lot of our sessions are hands on workshops or involve getting up and sharing your creations and we’ve found these elements to be fairly universal.

Our specifically kid-friendly sessions, like Battle Rapping Monsters and Poetry at Breakfast, are aimed at making a safe space for kids to express themselves freely. However, we’re really lucky this year to have Quen Took who is offering some amazing creative writing workshops for under 12s that you can sign up for now (HERE) where he’ll be exploring and experimenting with storytelling. Please make sure you sign up for these before the day though as only sessions which have enough interest will be run.

GS: Tell us about the guests you have attending?

H and M: We have a cornucopia of guests in attendance this year from far and wide. We have international guests such as Abigail Nathan who is joining us from Australia to share her editing know-how; and Stephanie Osborn, Interstellar Woman of Mystery, joining us from America to share her wealth of scientific and sci-fi writing experience.

We have some great teams joining us this year; from the esteemed T-Party writers group who are giving us their best writers’ block cures; to Matt Voice, Edmund Weiner and Catherine Sangster who are joining forces to give us an academic and practical approach to creating fantasy languages; and finally to the erotic weavings of Zak Keir and Kristian Lloyd who will be advising on the sauciest sex scenes then judging our writers’ smuttiest scenes in the SMUT SLAM.

We have individuals joining us like Laura Lam who will be giving a talk on creating LGBTQ+ characters in Sci-Fi, whilst Chris Farnell will be imploring us to use technology wisely in our Sci-Fi; and David Varela will be showing us how he adapted Sherlock for a modern age.

And last but not least we have our panel on Story Writing and Performance with Sidekick Books’ editors and awesome poets Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone; co-founder of The Centre for Solo Performance and author of Creating Solo Performances Sean Bruno; and master poet Jacob Sam-La Rose. They will be facilitated by performer and poet Dan Simpson as they share their wealth of knowledge on how to bring the written word to life.

GS: How will you interact with the other tracks at Nine Worlds?

H and M: We share one session (Fight Choreography For Writers) with Retro Fandom, and we share quite a few sessions with the literature track All Of The Books. It just makes sense, really. As much as people want to play with concepts and hone their craft, a lot of people are also equally serious about finding out from the professionals how it works, and finding out how to get an agent, get a publisher, etc. In booking in our events – with so many other awesome things going on – there’s naturally going to be some crossover and if we both tried to tick some of those boxes we’d have a slightly samey programme. A few times people came to us with awesome ideas, but there was another track which would work better so we pointed them in the right direction, or there were things we wanted to plan but we realised it’d be better with Geek Feminism or LGBTQAI. At the big Nine Worlds planning meetings it sometimes felt a lot like trading Pokemon cards: “I’ve got this person coming!” “No way! They’d be perfect in my set. Can I borrow them?”

GS: With so many fan sites and fan fiction out there do you think now is a good time to start writing and if so why?

H and M: Ha! I think it’s ALWAYS a good time to start writing if that’s what you want to do. Creativity is a human urge and it helps you process a lot of things, put your ideas in order, and it makes you feel good. Kurt Vonnegut sent a letter to a school kid once advising them to write a thing, don’t show it to anyone but just create something. Then rip it up and throw it away. You’ll still feel better knowing you created it, whether or not you’ve ever reaped the rewards of people telling you they liked it, YOU’LL feel good. (Though praise for good writing is always very welcome, too!)

Catherine Sangster from the Oxford university Press will be in our track room all weekend taking suggestions to update the Oxford dictionaries (maybe even the OED!) with new definitions of geek terms and cultural references. Who controls the dictionary controls what is ‘official’ English and it’s just beyond awesome that we can have input. Personally: I’m on a mission of get ‘ragequit’ in there.

One of the things I liked best last year, and look forward to again this year, was just the mix and the friendliness and all the amazing cosplays. There were random and brilliant moments you couldn’t plan for – like when the Bronies drove a remote-controlled pink and yellow convertible into our room with a cupcake in it labelled “for Hannah, from the Future Bronies” (we’d just had a session on writing time travel). Or when you’re on a dancefloor and you realise it’s Laurie Penny dancing to the left of you and the best Alien cosplay you’ve ever seen dancing to the right of you: that’s something else!


Now that has got you even more interested check out the schedule below.

Creative Writing – Schedule


Geek Dictionary Corner: All Weekend

All cultures have their own unique languages, and geekdom is no different! Catherine Sangster, from Oxford Dictionaries, invites you to come to County A and help us tweak definitions, debate pronunciations, propose meanings, and get geek words and meanings in the dictionary.


10.00am – 11.15am
The Writers’ Process: an adapting, evolving, creating and editing masterclass
Join Abigail Nathan, freelance editor, for a master class on editing. Whether you’re looking for better ways to catch your bad habits early, or want to restructure your work for a better read, Abigail will point you in the right direction. Practical advice to sharpen and improve your writing from the ground up!

11.45am – 1.00pm
Putting the Geek into Poetry, Putting Poetry to the Geeks
Join spoken word artist and poet Dan Simpson to explore the geeky side of poetry. Write, edit, share, perform your words.

1.30pm – 2.45pm
Writing the Inhuman – crossover with All Of The Books
From Frankenstein’s creation to Lady Stoneheart, literature is constantly probing the the boundaries between the human and the inhuman to ask: who is the true monster?
Panel: Pete Sutton, Adrian Tchaikovsky, David Mumford, Laure Eve, Jennifer Williams

3.15pm – 4.30pm
Writing LGBTQ+ Characters in SFF
Laura Lam, author of the award winning Pantomime & Shadowplay (which has an intersex, bisexual and genderqueer protagonist) shares her insights and experiences of writing characters from the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

5.00pm – 6.15pm
Fight Choregraphy For Writers – with Retro Fandom
We all hate a badly edited fight scene, whether on screen or on the page. Experienced tie-in and historical novelist, martial artist, and swordsman David A McIntee leads this roundtable discussion of creating realistic fight scenes in writing and for stage and screen combat. We’ll look at how to make every fight scene unique, explore character and motivation, achieve perfect pacing, and address the fact that fight scenes are not just for the ‘tough guys’.

6.45pm – 8.00pm
Writing for Transmedia – crossover with All Of The Books
Because a story can also be an app, computer game, vlog, fanvid, web series, docu-drama, interactive ebook, diary comic, inter-sensory experience or any other format currently existing or yet to exist not listed here. Kind of against the spirit of the thing, if you ask us. Guess you’ll just have to go to it in person.

8.30pm – 9.45pm
Geek Lust: How To Write A Sex Scene
A practical workshop offering guidance on writing smart, seamless, effective sex scenes. Whether you want to spice up your sci-fi or construct a complete erotic narrative, experienced authors Zak Jane Keir and Kristina Lloyd will advise on creating sizzling prose and avoiding common pitfalls. We’ll look at speculative fiction’s potential for the creation of highly original, explicit action, along with the popularity of fanfic as a vehicle for literary explorations of the erotic.

10.15pm – 11.30pm
You know what a poetry slam is, and maybe you know about story slams, too. Now it’s time for a smut slam! Smut slammers sign up on the night to tell a 5-minute piece of smut/sex/erotica and a lucky eight to ten names will be drawn at random. Our judges will decide the winner based on who has served up the most sizzling, scintillating smut of the night!


9.00am – 9.45am
Poetry For Breakfast
Grab some food, OJ and an extra helping of freshly-toasted words. Start your day right with geek poems and spoken word from your Creative Writing track heads.

10.00am – 11.15
Putting Sherlock in your Pocket
Writer David Varela talks about working with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Steven Moffat, and Mark Gatiss to create the chart-topping mobile adventure, Sherlock: The Network. The all-new story was developed with the TV show’s creators and involved shooting original scenes and audio with the core cast, on set.
David will talk about how he worked with Hartswood Films and the app’s developers, The Project Factory, to allow fans to step into Sherlock’s world, join the homeless network, and get within sniffing distance of the great detective. The app is available on iOS right now and on Android from August.

11.45am – 1.00pm
Creating fantasy languages – talk and Q&A
Giving your fantasy setting a language of its own can help add a sense of depth and realism to your work. Join Matt Voice, Edmund Weiner and Catherine Sangster to discuss language systems, structures and how best to use them in your writing.

1.30pm – 2.45pm
Creating fantasy languages – practical workshop
This is an opportunity to bring your own fantasy languages to the experts. If you have a sample of your own fantasy language please bring it along. We have a pronunciation specialist on hand, so by the end you might even be speaking it! With Matt Voice, Edmund Weiner and Catherine Sangster

3.15pm – 4.30pm
How To Beat Writers’ Block – with the T Party Writers’ Group
Join the T Party writers for some games and exercises designed to generate ideas and inspiration when you don’t know what to write about. You never know – it might just light the spark that leads to the great idea for a novel! Maximum 30 places, so please arrive promptly.

5.00pm – 6.15pm
Putting The Science Into Sci-Fi
Calling on her wealth of experience in the civilian and military space programs (where she trained astronauts) as well as her years as a sci-fi writer, Stephanie Osborn is here to answer all your questions about space, the universe and everything – hear how to put the science into your sci-fi writing.

6.45pm – 8.00pm
Working With Artists – crossover with All Of The Books
How can artists get the best from their writers, and vice versa? Advice about making great things.
Q&A, with Sarah McIntyre, Emma Vieceli, Gillian Redfearn, Djibril al-Ayad, Adam Christopher

8.30pm – 9.45pm
Story Writing and Performance Panel 
Your questions for the pros. Join Sidekick Books’ editors and awesome poets Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, co-founder of The Centre for Solo Performance and author of Creating Solo Performances Sean Bruno, and master poet Jacob Sam-La Rose, for a panel discussion and Q&A on practicing literature professionally. Facilitated by Dan Simpson.

10.15pm – 11.30pm
Feedback Among Friends
Bring any writing you’ve been working on along for some informal feedback, bring freshly-hatched ideas for some ideas-bouncing, bring your best expertise, tips, and constructive criticism to help others.


10.00am – 11.15am
Battle Rapping Monsters 
Create your own monster and send them to rap battle against others! A writing and performance workshop. Suitable for 11+. With Dan Simpson.

11.45am – 1.00pm
Marketing crossover with All Of The Books
How do you get the word out about your book? How can events, social media, publicity and marketing work? Tips and tricks from the experts.
Q&A with Tom Hunter, Adam Christopher, Danie Ware, Sophie Calder and James Oswald

1.30pm – 2.45pm
How To Invent The Wheel: Why You Should Write Sci-Fi About Existing Technology
According to Isaac Asimov, science fiction can be defined as “that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology”. As sci-fi definitions go this one is interesting, because Asimov doesn’t specify that it has to be ‘future’ or ‘non-existent’ technology. In this workshop, we’ll be looking at why Singing in the Rain is a science fiction movie, the unexpected ways in which technology can change our lives, and how writing about the ways that real technology has changed us can help us write about imaginary technologies better. With Chris Farnell.

3.15pm – 4.30pm
Ask A Professional – crossover with All Of The Books
Experts from every walk of publishing life, ready and willing to be put to the test. Feeling shy? Tweet questions in advance to @booksnineworlds
Q&A with Alasdair Stuart, Juliet Mushens, Ben Smith, Ian Whates and Liz Gorinsky

5.00pm – 6.15pm
Applied Mathematics: Poetry for Geeks
Spoken word poet Dan Simpson (Glastonbury, BBC Radio, Canterbury Laureate) performs lively poems, smart jokes, and awesome flipchart presentations for geeks, nerds, and anyone who likes playing with words. Videogame verse and sci-fi-filled stanzas combine with meta-metre in an engaging show. “Charmingly geeky” (The Scotsman); “clever, frequently amusing” (Broadway Baby)

6.45pm – 8.00pm
Party / Open reading slam
Finish off your geekfest by sharing your creation! Take the mic for five minutes and share your Nine Worlds inspired poems, short stories, one-liners and writing.


SOURCE: Nine Worlds

GS Blogger: Montoya

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