In October last year I attended a Sheffield Off The Shelf writing event organised by Sheffield’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group. I booked it to shake off the blues and in hope that it would help me refocus. What I didn’t realise was the journey it was going to take me on.
The Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Workshop.
When you write in speculative fiction you have to develop aspects of a world, the unfamiliar elements that make it unique from our own (magic, society, technology and so on). The team had an existing world developed for their previous anthology, populated with everything a reader ever loved from every speculative book, both Fantasy and Science Fiction. Not happy with that, they had also developed a comprehensive timeline.
Professionals, including Daniel Godfrey, and editor Kathryn Wild presented workshops and panels on how to develop your work, from plotting, narrative and editing. The structure of the day was well planned.
For writers, all the heavy lifting had been done.
The origin story of The Blacksmith’s Arms
With magic being lost from the land of humans, and early technology being plundered from dwarven engineers in The Age of Hammers I had my conflict. Whitebeard, a renowned female dwarf was born. I also wanted to pull in some of Sheffield’s industrial history, specifically the loss of steel secrets. These elements allowed me to play with a little of the steampunk aesthetic which became Pickfoot in the story. However, I couldn’t use a dwarf or human perspective. I needed someone who could connect the two, but was alien enough to both societies. Dolen, the goblin with an unrealised love of accidental violence arrived. Writing Dolen was a whole lot of fun.
The story sparked by the workshop was, I am pleased to say, accepted and can be found in the anthology, Ages of Escafeld, Volume Two. It is called The Blacksmith’s Arms, and stands with several other great stories set in the same world.
An Evening At Escafeld
Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Group will be launching Ages of Escafeld, Volume Two on May 26th, at the Old Queens Head in Sheffield. Amazing authors, Jacey Bedford and Justina Robson will be reading from their work, so it’s bound to be a great night. Tickets are £2.50 do join us from 6pm!
And no, I don’t think I’ve heard the last from Dolen.