Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Fantasy & Sci-Fi Agenda (June 16, 2018)

Janice Hardy and Michael Stearns


8:30–9:00 a.m.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: All groups meet in large room.

9:00–9:15 a.m.

Introductions & preview of day’s agenda

9:15–10:00 a.m.—Michael and Janice

Your Manuscript and the Market: How MG & Teen Fantasy and Science Fiction Differ from “Adult”

Michael and Janice discuss the F&SF market and help writers understand the different genre signposts in different readership brackets. They’ll also share what a writer can expect from her audience, as well as explore other genre market conundrums.

10:00­–10:45 a.m. — Janice and Michael

Using F&SF Theme and Metaphor to Make Difficult Subjects More Accessible

Difficult subject matter requires a deft hand to avoid triggers and hot buttons, and F&SF has unique tools to discuss emotional subjects in a safe story environment. In this session, Janice and Michael show how to use genre like a spoonful of sugar to help writers tackle the toughest of subjects.

10:45–11:00 a.m. BREAK

11:00–Noon — Michael

Reverse Engineer Your Story with an Outline

Some writers fear outlines kill their story, but they don’t need to be. In fact, understanding how the shape of a book’s outline dictates events can help you fill out your story and figure out what happens when. Michael shows you how to outline your idea to its full potential.

Noon–1:00 p.m. LUNCH

1:00-2:00 p.m. — Janice

Avoiding the Infodump in Created Worlds

Every workshop about F&SF talks about world building—but getting from the theory to the concrete can be a challenge. In this session, Janice shows how to tailor your prose to reveal the world without dumping in description and exposition or writing with a heavy hand. (Includes writing exercise.) 

2:00-2:15 p.m. BREAK

2:15-3:00 p.m. — Janice and Michael

Prologues, Tired Tropes, and Sub-Genres: Pitfalls Particular to F&SF Stories

There is nothing new under the sun! But sometimes F&SF can give a new sheen to shopworn ideas. In this freewheeling session, Janice and Michael run through a rich menu of possibilities and pitfalls that writing in genre present.

3:00-4:00 p.m.

First pages read-aloud and review, Q&A*

 4:00–4:30 p.m. 

All groups meet in large room for wrap-up.


* Participants should bring the first page of their WIP (no more than 250 words)