IMAGINARIUM 2018

Instead of waiting to do a review of Louisville’s Imaginarium 2018 until after it’s over, I’m going to do you a favor and explain, in advance, why you should come if it’s even remotely possible. This is the 5th anniversary of Imaginarium, a writer’s workshop with a gaming track, film festival, kids’ programming, burlesque show, magic show, cosplay contest, FREE book fair and expo hall, and pretty much anything else you can think of that any reader, writer, artist, costumer, gamer, or fan could ask for in one space. I have gone every year, and so have 90% of the people who came to the first Imaginarium. It’s hands-down my favorite event of the year, my favorite weekend of the year, every single year. The panels are engaging, the staff is fantastic, the organizers treat everyone like royalty, and those of us who keep coming back each year are like family. It is truly, in this rather bleak world modern homo sapiens have found ourselves in, a community. I would like to point out that I do not get paid to say these things. Haha!

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I am particularly excited this year because I have two short stories up for the Imadjinn Awards, nominations for which were featured in Locus Magazine on September 10th. Whether I win or not, I’m proud to be in the same league as the other authors listed in these nominations! Also, I’m particularly excited about the very fancy dress I got to wear to the Imadjinn Awards Banquet, since my work uniform this time of year is muddy work boots and sweaty t-shirts and grubby-sleeved hoodies. (It’s nice to be a girly girl when it’s not every day!) And I’m also stoked about the panels I’m speaking on: Crossing Genres on Friday (my favorite writing topic); Releasing Steam (Steampunk), Occult in Fiction, and Marvel vs. DC on Saturday; and Gothic Fiction and Noir in Fiction on Sunday.

But if you’re new to Imaginarium and you don’t already have friends you’re looking forward to seeing there, or you don’t wear fancy dresses or you don’t write or you aren’t a spec fic nerd, is there a reason for you to show up? YES. There is literally something for everyone. If you just want to shop for local or indie authors, fine – it’s free to come to the vendor’s hall! There’s also jewelry, art, all-natural products, and other cool stuff to buy. If you write, read, game, like indie films, like science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, history, comic books, poetry, or anything else to read, there will be writers there talking about your favorite reading material. For writers, Imaginarium is a *bargain*. It’s literally 1/3 the price of a lot of workshops, with 3X the programming (and more fun activities included!) Every year, I come away from Imaginarium exhausted and bedazzled with ideas, inspired and scribbling frantically into notebooks and on napkins for weeks afterward. And every year, I come away missing my fellow Imaginators, eager for next year’s event so we can catch up in person.

I’m an introvert, and every time I go somewhere with more than about 3 people, I wonder, “Will this really be worth it?” If *I’m* telling you this event is something you should be excited about, take me at my word. 😉

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How to Cut a Scene

I’d say about 1/3 of good writing is cutting dead weight out of your work. It’s gotten substantially easier for me to do this the longer I’ve written. Maybe it’s from trimming down articles and reports, maybe it’s my experience as an editor, or maybe it’s just that the more years you write, the more you know your best work from the weaker stuff. Having cut the last two and a half chapters I’ve written in the last month, I feel like giving three pieces of advice:

First, don’t worry about whether you’ll keep what you write in the final version. Write to discover. About your characters, your world, testing plot ideas, etc. If it doesn’t work, fine. You can take it out after it’s written, but don’t stare at a page worrying if you’re about to write your masterpiece or a pile of junk. As four wise men once said, Let it be.

Second, don’t be too generous when it comes time to edit. Are you excited about the scene? No? Neither will the reader be. Is the scene vital to the plot? Yes? Make it exciting. No? Cut that sucker. Can’t make it exciting? Find another way to tell the vital part of it–a way you are excited about.

Third: NEVER delete. If you cut a scene, you COPY and PASTE it to another document. I used to keep a “scraps” document in Word; now I use YWriter5 (*free* outline software) to better organize my cut scenes. You never know when you’ll want to cannibalize some description, quip, exchange, or idea that got lost in an otherwise not-so-special scene.