Coming Home: Imaginarium 2021

After two years away from in-person conventions, coming back to Imaginarium truly felt like a homecoming–even in a new venue, which was a vast improvement in itself. This writer’s convention is always a highlight of my year, and I’m not alone. Year after year, new attendees fall in love with the welcoming vibe, the vibrant atmosphere, and the supportive friends they make at Imaginarium. It’s a true community of creatives that embraces writers and artists of all kinds, featuring panels and workshops for novelists, poets, non-fiction writers, songwriters, filmmakers, game designers, and visual artists all under one roof, as well as gaming and dance, magic, and live music performances on site. And then there’s just the pure camaraderie that such an atmosphere fosters…the shop talk dinners together, the hotel bar hangout time, and the room parties (albeit with limited numbers this year for pandemic safety).

May be an image of 7 people, including James O. Barnes, John F. Allen, Carl Moore, Sara Marian Deurell and T Lee Harris, people sitting, people standing and indoor
Just a few members of the wonderful Imaginarium family. Photo by David Simms

Aside from being in a new location this year, it was also the first time Imaginarium has run as a virtual and live event at the same time, so there was a lot going on! However, it does mean that a lot of people who couldn’t come in person were able to enjoy great content from home, and for a limited time the film festival movies are available online for those who purchased either live or in person tickets. Since I’m always too busy with panels, running the vendor table for the press, etc. during the live event, I’m looking forward to getting to check out the films I missed!

My panels this year were on the topics of writing historical fiction (in person), writing steampunk (in person), worldbuilding (virtual), and cross-genre fiction (virtual). I also ran a workshop, Crafting Cross-Genre, for the third year in a row (virtual last year but in person in 2019 and 2021), this time with an extra mini-exercise on choosing details. These are all some of my favorite topics, and I enjoyed sharing ideas with the audience as well as getting some good advice from fellow panelists (in particular regarding approaches to writing a mystery without an outline, something I really needed insight on!)

And that’s Imaginarium in a nutshell: there’s always so much to share and so much to learn from others, and the convention staff have consistently provided an atmosphere that nurtures true fellowship and a deep sense of belonging. My heart and my imagination are so full right now as I think back on all our conversations this weekend!

I’ma stop now before I make myself cry.

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