Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Novel Intensive Agenda


A Novel Intensive with Lorin Oberweger, Jennie Dunham,

and Jonathan Maberry


Ready to roll up your sleeves and face some of writing’s most daunting elements? From voice to the always thorny middle to how to pitch and effectively revise your work: three industry professionals promise to put you through your paces and empower you to tackle the tough stuff with confidence and authority.


Please bring several scenes from your novel, your first page, your “hook” or three-to-five-sentence pitch, and twelve copies of one page from a middle or end scene in your work.



9:00 – 9:15 AM: Settling in, brief intros, turning in of first pages for critique.


9:15 – 10:30 AM: LORIN OBERWEGER


Come Closer and Listen: Cultivating a Strong Narrative Voice and Deeply Intimate Point of View


Voice sells stories. It’s the subtle—or potent—force that seduces us into a story and keeps us riveted there. In this hands-on class, we’ll “listen” to the narratives of those who master unforgettable voices; experiment with our own voices on the page; pull apart and analyze exactly what voice is (and isn’t); and work to marry a rich, authentic voice with a depth of perspective that calls upon the reader to invest with every sense and synapse. Come prepared to play.

10:30 – 10:45 AM: Break


10:45 – Noon: JENNIE DUNHAM

Crisis and Conflict: The middle of your manuscript

The middle is the majority of your story, but often it gets the least attention. Writers have more choices to make about the middle than the beginning or end. In this session, we’ll focus on key elements of the middle and keeping the drive of the story going up to the story’s climax. And we’ll learn about pitfalls that derail the middle of the narrative.

NOON – 1:00 PM: Lunch




The Art of the Pitch


There have been a lot of changes in the publishing industry and more than ever the Pitch has become a vital selling tool. We’ll discuss: How to Prepare for the Pitch; Picking the Right Agent for Your Book; Picking the Right Publisher for Your Book; Materials You Need for a Killer Pitch; Author Platform; Query Letters; The In-Person Pitch; What to Include (and What to Leave Out!); Resources to Make your Pitch Super-Powered; and more. Bring your pitch with you!


2:15 – 2:30 PM: Break


2:30 – 3:15 PM: ALL STAFF


First Page Critiques


Please turn in your first page (does not have to be anonymous) at the beginning of class.


3:15 – 4:00 PM: ALL STAFF


Revision Pods


Jennie, Jonathan, and Lorin will each lead a brief critique group where students are invited to share one page from a middle or end scene (no more than 250 words), along with a few lines of summary, for evaluation. Please bring at least 10 copies of that page for sharing with your group.


4:00 PM: WRAP-UP