Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 Regional Conference: Novel Intensive Agenda

With Kaylan Adair, Lynne Kelly, and Molly O’Neill


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


9:15 – 10:30 AM: Molly O’Neill – What Revision Really Looks Like

Agent Molly O’Neill shares first pages of now-published books two ways: as they were first submitted to her by then-querying novelists, and as they were eventually published by her now-clients. (It’s like a first pages session, but in reverse!) We’ll talk together about the changes, big or small, that were made during the publishing process, and why they were important, and walk away with new ways of thinking about revision for your books and their beginnings.


10:30 – 10:45: AM: Break


10:45 – Noon: Kaylan Adair – The Supporting Characters

Behind every great main character is an equally great supporting character (or characters). From best friends to arch nemeses, the supporting cast of your novel highlights your main character’s strengths and their weaknesses, and adds depth and richness to the world of your story. So let’s shine the spotlight on these too-often overlooked heroes (and villains)! We’ll look at examples from well-known MG and YA novels and you’ll walk away with ideas for how to make the most of your secondary characters.


NOON – 1:00 PM: Lunch


1:00 – 1:30 PM: First pages critiques*


1:30 – 1:45 PM: Break


1:45 – 3:00 PM: Lynne Kelly – Once More With Feeling

The books that stick with us most are ones that make us feel like we’re traveling the journey alongside the character. In this workshop, we’ll work on showing emotions and motivations so readers will feel pulled into your story and connected to your characters.


3:00 – 3:30 PM: Writing Exercise


3:30 – 4 PM: Q&A

*Bring the first page of your manuscript (with no name) for possible First Page Critique. You may start your manuscript at the top of the page. Please use 12-pt. Times New Roman and double space with one-inch.

Bring in a WIP to work on.

Watch this space for the possibility of additional homework.