Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

January 14, 2018 Regional Conference Sunday Workshops

9-10:30 a.m. Workshop 1


Marcia Wernick and Zebo Ludvicek: Author/Illlusrator and Agent’s Trek From Ripped Portfolio to Publication: Zebo and Marcia will talk about their baggage strewn journey on the road to Zebo’s publication of Mouse. They’ll talk about what should be packed, and what needs to be left behind.  


Jonathan Maberry: Horror, Thrillers, and Suspense in YA Fiction: Every story needs a good jolt, no matter what the genre. Young readers want to be on the edge of their seats, whether reading short or long fiction, genre or contemporary, historical or contemporary. Storytelling is about suspense. New York Times bestseller and five-time Bram Stoker Award winner Jonathan Maberry, known for writing across genre lines, shares insights on the different ways to ratchet up the tension, creep readers out, and get their blood pumping.


Sylvie Frank: Plot, Page-Turns, and Pith: All About Picture Book Pacing: What does pacing really mean? What does it mean for a picture book to be “snappy”? And how does plot function in picture books, anyway? We’ll dive into mentor texts first, examining elements that create a well-paced book. Then, we’ll take a look at how making a picture book dummy just might be the key to strengthening your manuscript. NOTE 1: This session is intended for writers, not illustrators, although illustrators are welcome. NOTE 2:  All participants should bring a work-in-progress manuscript, four pieces of standard printer paper, scissors, stapler, and a glue stick.


Shutta Crum: Revising the Wild Rumpus of a Picture Book Manuscript:  Shutta Crum will sail with you “back over a year, and out of weeks, and through a day, and into the night” of your very own manuscript, where she’ll show you how to tame that wild rumpus by staring into its faults and shortcomings–without blinking. Bring one or two complete drafts of a picture book manuscript with you. She can’t promise that your dinner will be waiting, but whatever happens will still be hot! 


Nicole Resciniti: First Impressions–The Difference between Selling and Slushing: An in-depth look at structure, GMC (Goal, Motivation, and Conflict), and tips for honing your voice. 


Patrick Collins: Illustrating Chapter Books: A hands-on session creating chapter book illustrations. Each participant will create black and white illustrations for a set text and layout which will be provided. We will discuss chapter book and middle-grade illustration and review samples of different approaches. Please bring: paper, tracing paper, and drawing materials (optional: scissors and magic tape—Scotch)


Lorin Oberweger: (PAL MEMBERS ONLY—Authors and illustrators of books with publishers on SCBWI’s Published and Listed page.) Tension and Desire: How Your Characters’ Deepest Longings Make for Page-Turning Fiction: In this class, we’ll explore the landscape of internal and external goals, overarching desires, emotional wounds, and unacknowledged longings. We’ll parse their different functions and explore how they can best be employed on a scene-by-scene and page-by-page basis. We’ll also discuss when desires should be made overt to the reader and when they should operate in sub-text.  Additionally, we’ll work with desire as a tool for creating tension, building apprehension and investment via dialogue, exposition, internal monologue, and more. Bring a passage of description from your novel, a passage of dialogue, and a passage of physical action. Most of all, come prepared to explore and create!(PAL MEMBERS ONLY—Authors and illustrators of books with publishers on SCBWI’s Published and Listed page.) 


10:45-12:15 p.m. Workshop 2


Lee Bennett Hopkins: Inside, Outside, Upside, Downside: Creating Books for Youth.


Jennie Dunham: Where’s the Weakness? Vanquish Vulnerability in Your Manuscript: What points in a manuscript are particularly vulnerable to flaws? How does a writer identify these places and fix them?  Whether you’ve just finished your first draft or you’ve work-shopped your manuscript multiple times, this session will pinpoint vulnerable parts of a narrative so that you can get your story in top shape before submission.


Lin Oliver: How to Create and Write a Series: In this session, you’ll learn what makes a successful book series:  how to create your cast of characters, your unique concept, and your plot hook.  We’ll cover the pitfalls of series writing, how to put together a winning proposal, and how to perfect your sales pitch.   


Judy Schachner: Character Bibles: Collaging and writing your way to setting, style, story, and characters, of course. Illustrators and writers welcome. 


Melissa Manlove: Fact Meets Feeling-Writing Narrative Nonfiction That Informs, Entertains, Moves, and Convinces Audiences: Narrative nonfiction is booming in the marketplace, but how to take the leap from straight information-giving to factually solid storytelling? This talk will explore several recent examples of excellent narrative nonfiction: how they make facts emotional and compelling, and how these books hook both editors and readers.


Amy Fitzgerald: Flesh and Blood (and Sweat and Tears) Novel Characters: Editor Amy Fitzgerald will discuss how to create authentic, original characters in middle-grade and young adult fiction. We’ll investigate what makes characters resonate with readers; learn the Seven Deadly Deal Breakers of personality building; and explore ways to weave meaningful, believable character growth into your plots.


Kerry Cerra: (PAL MEMBERS ONLY—Authors and illustrators of books with publishers on SCBWI’s Published and Listed page.) Keys to the Gatekeepers: How to Get on the Radar of Librarians Across the Country, Make State Lists, and Sell More Books.