New England SCBWI 2014 Create Bravely: Make Your Mark

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, May 02, 2014

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2015 New England SCBWI conference: 
Think Outside The Crayon Box!


New England SCBWI 2014

Create Bravely: Make Your Mark

artwork by Denise Ortakales

NESCBWI 2014 Create Bravely: Make Your Mark

To book a room at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place, please call (413) 781-1010.

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All conference activities are geared for adult writers, 18 years of age or older.

Our level ratings are a guide to workshops set by the presenters who submitted them; you are the best judge to determine which experience level describes you.

  • Beginner (BEG): geared toward participants with little to no experience writing and/or illustrating for children
  • Intermediate (INT): geared toward participants who know the basics of writing and/or illustrating for children
  • Professional (PRO): geared toward participants who have published children’s books or have significant experience writing and/or illustrating for children

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Friday Conference Events and Workshops, May 2, 2014

11:00 am - 5:00 pm Conference Registration Open

2:00 pm - 6:00 pm Conference Bookstore Open

2:00 pm - 5:30 pm Assigned Agent Quick Query, Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques
(NOTE: please pre-register for these events)

Friday afternoon's Pitch Critiques (2-4pm), Block-A Workshop Intensives (2-4pm), and #AskAMentor (3-5pm) overlap.

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Pitch Critiques moderated by author and editorial assistant Trisha Leaver, Lindsay Currie and Karen Rock

Have you ever been asked “What’s your book about?” Practice your pitch and get honest feedback from published authors! If you’re thinking about signing up for the Pitchapalooza on Friday night, you might consider practicing and getting honest critique on your pitch on Friday afternoon. All genres welcome. Remember, every time someone asks you “what’s your book about” they’re asking for your pitch. Participants are not required to be present for the whole time, walk-ins welcome. Conversely, we’d love to have you stay and critique others.

[All Genres, all skill levels]

A-Block - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A1 - Active Body, Active Mind with Anna Eleanor Jordan (Boll)

Those of us who have heeded Jane Yolen's BIC, or Butt In Chair, philosophy have noticed a distinct spreading in that region of our anatomy. We know that exercise is important for our physical health but how are we supposed to find the time? It’s hard enough finding time to write and draw. In this workshop we’ll find out why the most successfully published authors and illustrators make time for physical activity and how that activity can boost your mental health lift your spirit, and improve your creativity. We will discuss realistic physical goals and develop a plan to help your reach them. Wear something you can move in and bring a journal or other writing tools for easy movement and writing activities.

[General Audience]

A2 - Facial Expression and Body Language for Characters in Children's Graphic Novels and Comics with Ed Briant

Using slides, demonstrations, and both group and individual exercises, we will explore the possibilities of creating highly expressive characters that can effortlessly reveal the straightforward, yet often complex story lines of graphic novels for children.

[Illustrators: Craft; General Audience]

A3 - Become a Scrivener Ninja: Practical Application of Scrivener in Your Writing Life with MarcyKate Connolly

Heard of Scrivener, but don't get what it's all about? Don’t think you need yet another program? Think it sounds way too complicated? It’s a powerful tool that can keep your writing life organized and streamlined from plotting to revising, and polishing that final draft. Learn the basics of how to navigate Scrivener, as well as tips and tricks for practical application to best use this software to your advantage and writing style during both drafting and revisions. Note: It is recommended participants download the free 30-day trial of Scrivener just prior to the conference weekend so they can follow along.

[Writers: Technology; BEG/INT]

A4 - Shifting Genres, Maintaining Brand with Erin Dionne and Megan Frazer Blakemore

Shifting to a new genre or audience can be a big risk, especially when you are already known as a specific type of writer. Many authors, though, manage careers writing in a wide array of genres and formats. How do they do it? By understanding their brand. This marketing term may seem anathematic to the literary life, but what we mean is the core or undercurrent that ties your writing together. Figuring out what yours is is the key to expanding the scope of your writing. From writing humor to mysteries, or contemporary YA to historical magical realism, by developing a strong brand we've expanded our audiences, stretched ourselves as writers, and pursued projects that we might not have otherwise. As the publishing world shifts and changes, authors have a myriad of opportunities. Being able to identify yourself helps open doors and gain new projects.

[Writers: Craft; Writers: Business; Level: PRO]

A5 - From Stage to Page: Using Creative Dramatics to Inspire Writing with Lisa Kramer

Have you ever gotten stuck as your characters become elusive? Have you ever found it difficult to speak from an authentic voice or create authentic dialogue? Have you ever discovered the answers to your writing problems while doing something completely unrelated—exercise, listening to music, talking with a friend? As writers it’s easy to get stuck into the routine of staring at the blank screen and hoping the answers will appear. Creative Drama is an informal, improvisational, process-centered form of drama where participants, guided by a leader, explore issues, ideas, topics, stories, etc. It can be used in a classroom to spark writing (of any kind, not just plays) or inspire art. It allows participants to move away from the screen or the pen and explore their characters and situations from a different angle, through role play, improvisation, movement and sound. It is non-exhibitional, meaning that nobody ever has to perform for an audience (unless they choose to do so). In this workshop, participants will be led through a series of activities to help them step outside of their comfort zone and explore characters in a new way. They will also be provided with opportunities to take what they’ve learned and write/draw something new.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

A6 - "What Is the Life You Want To Live?" A Strategic Planning Workshop with Anne Sibley O'Brien

This workshop will present basic strategic planning tools which can be used to transform your career and life. Through a series of exercises, each participant will begin the process of creating a personal, individual strategic plan, including Big Dreams, short- and long-term Goals, abundance thinking, multiple income streams, technical assistance, and regular rewards. Resources will be shared for continuing the process.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: PRO]

A7 - Don’t Let Common Writing Missteps Hold You Back with Anna Staniszewski

Author and creative writing professor Anna Staniszewski examines the most common storytelling missteps she sees in her classes and suggests ways to avoid them. This 2-hour intensive will dissect each of the common writing missteps, look at hands-on techniques to fix them, and help attendees brainstorm ways to bring their stories to the next level.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG]

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm #AskAMentor with moderators Jen Malone and Dee Romito

If you’re arriving later on Friday afternoon and won’t be able to participate in workshops, come and join us for #AskAMentor. For anyone arriving after the workshops begin or for anyone looking to get one-on-one insight from authors who’ve “been there” this open format session is designed to answer any question you might have about the conference, and the publishing world in general.

[All Genres, all skill levels]

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm Conference Orientation with Kristine Carlson Asselin and Natasha Sass

New conference attendees are strongly encouraged to come to conference orientation; seasoned conference veterans are welcome as well.

Is this your first NESCBWI conference? Worried about who to talk to and how to network? Come meet the conference directors and find out how to get the most out of your conference weekend. Seasoned conference-goers are welcome to share their advice and experiences.

[All Genres, Level: BEG]

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Dinner on your own
Map of Springfield Area
Back of Map

7:00 pm Opening Ceremonies with Kristine Carlson Asselin, and featuring Jane Yolen

Kick off the conference with Kris Asselin and special guest Jane Yolen.

7:45 pm - 8:45 pm Keynote Presentation: Pitchapalooza with THE BOOK DOCTORS, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

We are so excited to host Pitchapalooza, the American Idol for books (only without Simon) and it works like this: Anyone with an idea for a book has the chance to pitch it to a panel of judges. But they get only one minute. Eckstut and Sterry team up with two guest industry insiders (TBD) to form the judging panel. The Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapaloozas are educational and entertaining for one and all. All attendees come away with concrete advice on how to improve their pitch as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. At the end of each Pitchapalooza, the judges come together to pick a winner. Winning pitch gets bragging rights for the entire conference.

[General Audience; Level: all skill levels]

8:45 pm - 10:00 pm Agent/Editor/Art Director Meet and Greet and Portfolio Showcase

Join our critique faculty around the bar for a healthy dose of schmooze while you view the participating illustrator portfolios. It’s all about the networking, so come prepared to chat with other writers and illustrators. Don’t forget to practice your pitch, someone just might ask you what your book is about!

9:15 pm - 10:00 pm Regional Meet Ups

Join members of your home state (region) to decompress after a long day.

9:15 pm - 10:00 pm Open Mic/Pitch Practice

Put into practice everything you've learned from the Book Doctors presentation. Give us your best pitch in a smaller, more intimate setting than the Ballroom.

SATURDAY Conference Events and Workshops, May 3, 2014

Throughout the day: Assigned Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques
: Attendees must pre-register in order to receive a critique)

7:15 am - 8:45 am Conference Registration Open

7:30 am - 8:30 am Continental Breakfast

8:00 am - 6:00 pm Conference Bookstore Open

8:30 am - 2:10 pm Illustration Challenge on Display for Viewing

8:30 am - 8:45 am Opening Comments and Announcements

8:45 am - 9:40 am Keynote Speaker Peter H. Reynolds: "How to Extract A Fable"

Workshop Blocks:


2-hour session

B-Block - 9:50 am - 11:45 am

OR two 1-hour sessions

C-Block - 9:50 am - 10:45 am


D-Block - 10:55 am - 11:45 am

Two-hour session options:

B-Block - 9:50 am - 11:45 am

B1 - Writers as Architects: Creating Structure in Nonfiction with Alexandra Siy and Loree Griffin Burns

Alexandra Siy and Loree Griffin Burns write nonfiction books that rely on a variety of literary structures to convey information. In this presentation, these award-winning authors will explore their view of structure as an essential guiding force in the creation of solid works of nonfiction, and share the processes they use to determine the best structure for a given project. Attendees will explore a variety of structural shapes as they are represented in contemporary children’s nonfiction, and will leave the hour with a stronger grasp of how these structures—from the straight line of chronologically-told stories to the circles, spirals, towers and constellations of more inventive approaches—can be used to gird their own works of nonfiction.

[Writers: Craft; INT/PRO]

B2 - Novel Revisions 101 with Mandy Hubbard

As both a literary agent and an author, Mandy Hubbard has experienced revisions from both sides of the desk. Her debut novel sold after multiple revision requests, and she frequently signs authors after requesting revisions. In this workshop, learn how to revise with a plan, and turn your novel into a polished draft that will land you the agent (or editor) of your dreams.

[Writers: Craft; Level: all skill levels]

B3 - The Blurry Space of Thirteen with Laurel Snyder, Aaron Starmer, and Kate Milford

A discussion and workshop confronting the thorny age of thirteen and books that occupy the blurry space between middle grade and young adult fiction. Presenters will cover audience, subjects, themes, and writing techniques for these distinctive and engaging books.

[Writers: Craft; Writers: Business; Level: INT]

B4 - Killer First Chapters with Nova Ren Suma (limit of 20 participants)

Dare to look at the opening of your novel with new eyes. In this intensive workshop, we will discuss strong, memorable novel openings from published books and will also critique the first chapters of your YA and middle-grade novel. In discussion, we will ask questions such as: Did you start at the true start of your story? Is there a stronger, more memorable way to hook your reader? We will focus on the hook of a brilliant first paragraph, pacing and when to reveal information, and how to close your first chapter leaving the reader gasping for more. All participants should be prepared to post their first chapters in the weeks before the conference, and will be contacted by email with details on how to do so. Students will be expected to read all chapters by their fellow students before the conference begins and be ready to contribute to discussion.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

B5 - Publishing in the Digital Age with Susan Kaye Quinn

Ebooks have transformed the publishing industry, and it’s never been easier for writers to reach readers directly with their works. This talk will explore how ebooks are changing the publishing industry, how indie publishing is different than (and in many ways the same) as going through a traditional publisher, and what it means to be an author in the digital age. Susan Kaye Quinn has published through a small press as well as successfully sold over 40,000 ebooks since she first indie published in 2011. Bring your questions and get the latest on-the-ground information from someone who believes there’s never been a better time to be a writer.

[Writers: Business; Level: all skill levels]


One-hour session options:

C-Block - 9:50 am - 10:45 am

C1 - The Secret Sauce: Websites for Writers & Artists Made Easy with Jim Hill

It’s 2014 and everybody is online. Are you? Are you happy with what you’ve got? Website development used to be the arcane environment of geeks, wonks and propeller heads, but today’s tools make it easier than ever for you to do it. And do it right. If you’re confused by the ever changing choices available for your website, and how it fits into your platform, this is the workshop for you. This session will provide a best-practice overview of available tools, with a focus on Wordpress and Squarespace. We’ll look at what you should do, what you should not do, and how to do it all within your budget (even if that budget is free). We’ll look at how your online ecosystem works together and help you navigate your very own circle of life with just a few clicks.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); General Technology (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

C2 - This is Not What I Expected: The Reality vs. The Fantasy of the Publishing Process (and How To Survive) with Sashi Kaufman and Lauren MacLeod

Writers on the path to publication have expectations, hopes and dreams. This panel re-calibrates those expectations without dashing the hopes and dreams. We will discuss how to navigate the realities (like the waiting and the occasional crises of confidence) of publishing without losing your sanity, as well as what to do when the worst (including your first book not selling, or your agent leaving the business) happens.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: INT/PRO]

C3 - Make Your Story Unputdownable: Secrets of Creating Suspense with Bruce Hale

What makes a story riveting? In a word: Suspense. Every story, from the simplest picture book to the darkest detective fiction, relies on suspense to drive the plot. But how do you build suspense? This session shows you how to construct a character worthy of concern, set the hook, ratchet up the tension—and above all, keep your readers reading.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

C4 – Fireside Chat with Peter H. Reynolds

Join NY Times best selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds in informal session, something we like to call the Fireside Chat.  This is wonderful opportunity to personally connect with Peter, go behind the scenes, and ask questions about his work.  It's also a great time to discover your own process, ask questions about your own stories and illustrations, and perhaps share a story of your own.  Bring a cup of tea, sit back, and get ready for an inspiring hour.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

C5 – Perfecting Your Pitch with Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, THE BOOK DOCTORS

A great pitch is one of the most powerful and underestimated tools any writer can have in his/her quest to be published successfully. From landing an agent and a book deal, to self-publishing well, to getting traction online, to attracting media, to convincing booksellers that they must carry your book, to letting readers know why they should buy your book, the perfect pitch is the goose that will lay your golden publishing egg. Find out how to craft a dynamite pitch. And be sure to bring your pitch with you, even if it’s far from perfect.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]


One-hour session options:

D-Block – 10:55 am - 11:45 am

D1 - Author/Illustrator Visits That Really Work—Presentation Secrets from a Recovering Classroom Teacher with Marty Kelley

Author/Illustrator visits are a fun, exciting addition to your job as an author or illustrator. Especially when a kid throws up on your shoes in the middle of a presentation. This workshop will cover all aspects of a successful author visit and help you avoid the possible pitfalls that make an unsuccessful visit (like puke-filled shoes). First, we will look at the important basic business aspects of author visits including: promotion; gathering contacts; maintaining a user friendly website; creating easy contracts; and organizing book sales. We’ll talk about ways to make the process go smoothly for everyone involved. We’ll dig deep into what makes a successful visit.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

D2 - Authors, Be Brave! Let the illustrator Help Tell Your Story with Janet Lawler

Keeping the role of illustration in mind at all stages through publication will help authors tell and sell stories that zing and sing. Picture book authors can increase the likelihood of acceptance of their work if they embrace and leave room for illustrator contribution. With the markets for picture books shrinking and word counts falling into the low hundreds, this session will help beginners and intermediate writers craft a successful picture book text. Specific examples from other authors’ published books will highlight the many ways that illustrations enhance an author’s text. Examples of text revisions of some of author’s published work, from early versions through acquisition and publication, will model how authors can revise and improve picture book manuscripts to make room for illustration (and make acquisition more likely). Janet will discuss the thorny question of illustration “suggestions” and special concerns of non-fiction writers. She will also present information from several editors on the interface of author and illustrator. Participants should bring a picture book in-progress to revise in a directed exercise, time permitting.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

D3 - Do You Know Your Character? A Writing Intensive on Character Development with editor Aubrey Poole of Sourcebooks

A memorable character(s) is essential for a memorable book—one that will stick with your readers and demand discussion. But just how well do you know your character(s)? What secrets is he hiding? What fears or dreams motivate her? What color is her nail polish? Boxers or tighty whities? In this writing intensive we’ll use fun, creative ways to explore your character(s) from personality tests to acting techniques and more, as well as writing techniques to convey those characteristics in dynamic ways. But you can’t stop there. A well-drawn, well-defined character is just the beginning—because if he or she is the same character at the end of the novel, then you haven’t done your job. So we’ll also discuss the importance of character development and how the character arc ties into the plot. For all writers with novels in-progress.

[Writers: Craft; Level: all skill levels]

D4 - First Look: Your Single Best Piece Critiqued with Ruth Sanderson and Art Directors, Diane Earley of Charlesbridge, Nicole De Las Heras of Random House, and Laurent Linn of Simon and Schuster
(limit of 30 participants)
Moderator: Ruth Sanderson

Ever wonder what that art director thinks when your promotional postcard crosses their desk? Watch as an experienced panel of industry professionals share their first impressions of artwork submitted by conference attendees. All submissions are kept anonymous, so you can secretly take in compliments, constructive criticism, and see how your single best piece stacks up against your peers' in a theatre-style critique setting. Participants will walk away from the event with: A beneficial peek at the work of other illustrators, including their artistic triumphs and mistakes, Insight from a panel of professionals in the industry as they quickly critique a range of styles and illustrations. Only attendees who register for the workshop can submit an image for consideration. The images will be compiled into a randomized slideshow to be displayed in front of the panel and audience. Each image will get between 1-3 minutes of critique by the panel (as time and number of entries permit), with the moderator auditing for time and guiding discussion as needed.

Pre-conference submissions:
Email 1 (one) image to
Image format: JPG
Resolution: 150dpi
Maximum image size: 1 MB
Artist's name is to appear NOWHERE on the artwork
The piece shown must NOT be used in your Portfolio Showcase, Portfolio Review, or Illustration Challenge (if applicable).
Deadline for all images: April 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

[Illustrators: Craft; Illustrators: Business; Level: BEG/INT]

D5 - The F-Word: Failure, Rejection, and the Power of Persistence with Lisa Papademetriou

Recent studies have shown that one of the most powerful predictors of success is "grit" or the ability to overcome setbacks. Writers realize that revision, criticism, and rejection are part of the process, but we still often resist or resent it. With her trademark humor and insight, Lisa Papademetriou will show you how to honor the “tough love” of an author-editor relationship and to understand and value the feedback your work garners—even when it isn’t something you want to hear. You’ll learn when to stick to your artistic vision, and when to let it go (in the words of the immortal Kenny Rogers, “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”). And you’ll see that every setback is a learning experience, as long as you are willing to look for the lesson.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG]

11:50 am - 12:45 pm Lunch in the Ballroom

12:50 pm - 1:50 pm Industry Expert Panel, PUBLISHING BRAVELY, with Alexandra Cooper of HarperCollins Childrens Books; Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark; Laurent Linn of Simon and Schuster; Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary

Moderator: J. L. Bell

In 2014, there are more options than ever to publish your books. Join our panel professionals as they discuss the ins and outs and ups and downs of making books. Who knows where the conversation will go, but possible topics might be the editorial decision-making process, how many meetings a project has to go through, when editors and art directors deal with Marketing and Sales, and so on. The panel might also discuss taking a risk on new types of books or new ways of publishing.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

Workshop Blocks:


One 2-hour session

E-Block - 2:15 pm - 4:15 pm

OR two 1-hour sessions

F-Block - 2:15 pm - 3:10 pm


G-Block - 3:20 pm - 4:15 pm

Two-hour session options:

E-Block - 2:15 pm - 4:15 pm

E1 - Write What You Don’t Know: A Workshop with Julie Berry and Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Children's Books

This hands-on workshop will challenge authors to push beyond their usual habits and well-caressed projects to take risks and produce original writing. Acclaimed author Julie Berry (All the Truth That’s In Me) and Kendra Levin, senior editor at Penguin Random House, will lead an interactive workshop combining advice, encouragement, and craft exercises focused on breaking authors out of the patterns that hold back their work. Brainstorming, discussion, and character development activities will help identify authors’ comfort zones and teach techniques for moving beyond them. Come develop ideas that upend your habits and strengthen your writing, and in the process, learn how to develop situations and characters you may not have realized you had in you.

[Writers: Craft; Level: all skill levels]

E2 - Sketchbooks Are Awesome! with Russ Cox and Renee Kurilla

The sketchbook is an often overlooked necessity for artist. Many do not keep one due to time limitations, not sure what to do with them, a certain shyness when using one and showing it to others, and/or afraid to fail through trying new things and experimenting. This workshop will help the artist break through the barriers and begin using a sketchbook as a major tool in growing and pushing their artwork.

[Illustrators: Craft; BEG/INT]

E3 - Got Rhythm? Pacing the Picture Book with Deborah Freedman and Frank Dormer

Why do some picture books chachacha, and others go ka-thunk? How does the pacing of words with pictures through the pages of a book affect its story arc? Through a series of sketch problems and discussion, Frank Dormer and Deborah Freedman will emphasize the importance of storyboards to picture book pacing, what is and is not essential to convey at the storyboard stage, and simply demonstrate how the structure, pace, and focus of pages can all affect a story. They will challenge participants to add oomph to a story by boldly choreographing its verbal and visual dance.

[Writers: Craft; Illustrators: Craft; Level: INT]

E4 - It Takes a Village: Writing, Editing, Illustrating, Designing, and Promoting a Children’s Book with Melissa Stewart, author; Sarah S. Brannen, illustrator; Yolanda Scott, Charlesbridge Editorial Director; Julie Ham, Charlesbridge Assistant Editor; Diane Earley, Charlesbridge Art Director; and Donna Spurlock, Charlesbridge Marketing and Promotions Director

In this engaging panel dialogue, author Melissa Stewart and illustrator Sarah S. Brannen discuss the process of creating Feathers: Not Just for Flying with the team at Charlesbridge Publishing. Follow the development of the book from the moment of inspiration through the writing and submission process, revising with an editor, the challenges of illustrating a complicated book, the careful consideration given to the book’s design, and finally, the planning involved in promoting the book.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

E5 - Make ‘Em Laugh: How to Write Funny, Even if Your Funny Bone’s Broken with Bruce Hale

Whether it's slapstick in picture books or snarkiness in YA, kid readers love humor. It's an evergreen on most editors' must-have lists. But how do you choose which kind of humor will suit your story? And how do you make sure your jokes will land with a bang instead of a thud? Author-illustrator Bruce Hale (The Chet Gecko Mysteries) knows how. And in this two-hour presentation, he'll reveal what he's learned in crafting 30 seriously funny books for kids. Come prepared to exercise your funny bone.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]


One hour session options:

F-Block - 2:15 pm - 3:10 pm

F1 - Writing a Book in a Weekend: How to Fast-Draft without Word Vomit with Taryn Albright

Getting to the end of a manuscript is often the hardest part of writing. Fast-drafting is a technique that allows you to ignore your inner perfectionist and get the words out. In this workshop, you will explore how to prepare for fast-drafting, how to create a plan based on your personal strengths, and how to deal with distractions. Whether your personal “fast” means a book in two days or two months, you will come away with a more efficient writing process.

[Writers: Craft; INT/PRO]

F2 - Launching a Book in the Digital Age with Mitali Perkins

In the age of shrinking in-house publicity budgets, how might a writer or illustrator use social media to launch a book? What are some creative ideas and strategies that have worked for others? This presentation will offer practical tips on how to use tools like blogs, twitter, Facebook, etc. to draw attention to your titles (mostly for free) and make them stand out from the crowd.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: INT/PRO]

F3 - Advanced Ninja Skills for Indie Published Authors with Susan Kaye Quinn

You’ve made the leap into indie publishing. You know how to format, hire copyeditors, and create covers. This workshop is for indie authors who have more than one title out or are planning ahead for future releases. We’ll talk about growing your fanbase, making a production schedule, and other tools you need to take you from debut author to career author.

[Writers: Business; Level: PRO]

F4 - Harnessing the Traditional Power of Narrative to Create Interactive Apps and eBooks that Educate, Empower & Extend with Sarah Towle

Schools across the nation are trading in heavy textbooks for mobile and tablet devices, thus opening up new opportunities for authors and illustrators to introduce quality content to the learning environment. In this presentation, find out how to combine the power of narrative nonfiction storytelling with the latest in digital technology to bring educational content to life. Discover “best practices” from some of the most exciting digital products now being embraced by educators. Consider how to ally your creative vision with Common Core standards. Walk away understanding what “interactivity” means in the context of apps, eBooks, and iBooks, and how to distinguish between digital features that distract versus those that enrich and extend.

[Writers: Craft; Writers: Technology; Level: all skill levels]


G-Block – 3:20 pm - 4:15 pm

G1 - Read the Rainbow: Using Colors to Organize and Simplify Your Process with Taryn Albright

Manuscripts are unwieldy things. Whether you’re staring at a blank document, a messy first draft, or an almost-finished manuscript, it’s tough to know where to start. Color coding is a tool that can be used at every level of manuscript preparation to provide at-a-glance organization. This workshop will explore hard copy and digital methods to be used in stages from outlining to polishing. Participants will come away with new ways to examine their stories, ways that are useful as well as pretty.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT]

G2 - Crafting a Nonfiction Book Proposal with Loree Griffin Burns

In today’s trade market, most books of children’s nonfiction are sold to publishers in proposal form. That is, the book idea is pitched in a specific abridged format and the final book is only written when a publisher accepts the proposal. This workshop is designed to shine a light on this process, to introduce attendees to the basic elements of the book proposal, and to provide tools for turning nonfiction book ideas into strong, sellable proposals.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

G3 - Crafting Conversation in Fiction for Young Readers with Mitali Perkins

Dialogue is a powerful tool to reveal character and move plot forward. If it isn't done right, however, we risk boring the reader by sounding heavy-handed. In this hands-on, interactive workshop, we'll practice writing lively conversation, learn to avoid seven common dialog busters, and reward our readers with talk that sounds real.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

G4 - Being Brave 140 Characters at a Time with Twitter with Yvonne Ventresca

Twitter is a free social networking tool that writers and illustrators can use to connect with other creative people, industry leaders, and research experts. This workshop will explain the basics of setting up an account, finding people to follow, and sending tweets. The presentation includes handouts for participants to use when they’re home at the computer.

[General Technology (both writers and illustrators); Level: BEG]

4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Booksigning

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Dinner on your Own
Map of Springfield Area
Back of Map

7:15 pm - 8:30 pm Industry Professional Panel: PUBLISHING IN AND OUT OF NEW YORK, with agents, Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary, Mandy Hubbard of D4EO, Emily Mitchell of Wernick and Pratt Agency, and Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger

Moderator: J. L. Bell

It used to be necessary for agents to have worked in New York, but that is changing. How does personal contact work in a world of Twitter? How do agents make new contacts? Do agents ever run into a "New York sensibility" that doesn't get certain books that seem like they'd sell easily elsewhere? All secretly coming round to the big audience question: What should authors look for in an agent? Our panel consists of two West Coast agents, and two East Coast agents.

[General Audience; Level: all skill levels]

Saturday Evening Activities:

8:45 pm - 10:00 pm Stay in one room or grab a beverage at the bar and move around.

Self-Portrait Party for Illustrators

Need a portrait for publicity? An avatar for social media? Or just want to hang out and draw? Come join the fun for our first ever Self-Portrait Party. Draw yourself, or bring a friend and draw each other. Bring your sketchbook, favorite drawing and art supplies, a mirror or reference materials (phone/camera for selfies?), and whacky props. Are you already proficient in portraiture? Come and share your expertise with your peers. Low pressure with lots of fun.

[illustrators; all skill levels]

Poetry Slam/Open Mic with Josh Funk and Alicia Gregoire

Read your picture book aloud or try rapping something completely new. All are welcome to read their own work, or give voice to someone else’s. No judging, just support and applause.

[all skill levels; all are welcome to watch, even if you’re not reading!]

Peer Critiques with NESCBWI Critique Group Coordinator Stacy Mozer

Come prepared to share your work-in-progress with peers and to get and give feedback. Bring 5 copies of your picture book, the first chapter of your manuscript, or a portfolio to share in a quieter way than the Open Mic. Walk away with some concrete suggestions for improvements and help others in return.

[all skill levels]

Genre Meet Ups

Not ready to share or read your work aloud? Join others who write in similar genres to compare notes, brainstorm, and share your favorite books.

[all skill levels]

Sunday Conference Events and Workshops, May 4, 2014

7:30 am - 8:45 am Conference Registration Open

7:30 am - 8:30 am Continental Breakfast

8:30 am - 3:00 pm Conference Bookstore Open

8:30 am - 8:45 am Opening Comments and Announcements

8:45 am - 9:40 am Keynote Speaker Laurel Snyder

Workshop Blocks:


One 2-hour session

H-Block - 9:50 am - 11: 50 am

OR two 1-hour sessions

I-Block  - 9:50 am - 10:45 am


J-Block - 10:55 am - 11:50 am

Two-hour session options:

H-Block - 9:50 am - 11:50 am

H1 - HEN: Writing Endings that are Happily Ever Not with Karen Rock and Trisha Leaver

Kevin, the main character in Rodman Philbrick’s masterpiece, Freak the Mighty, said that books are like truth serum. Honest storytelling means that happily-ever-after endings are not always realistic or a guarantee. This workshop will give you the tools to conclude your story in a satisfying way without risking the disappointment of your fans. Through guided discussion and hands-on activities, you will:

*Analyze memorable examples of endings that are not HEAs.
*Distinguish between instances when a HEA is justified and when it is not.
*Articulate the reasons why some non-traditional endings work, and some do not.
*Identify factors needed in order to provide a satisfying conclusion when a happy one is neither possible nor realistic.
*Produce alternate, non- HEA, endings to beloved children’s literature.
*Craft an alternate, satisfying conclusion to a current work in progress without including a HEA.

After producing an alternate ending to your story, you will gain confidence in taking such risks in the future. In addition, you will be equipped to consider several options as you conclude your story. Stephen King equated writing a story to excavating a fossil in his exceptional memoir, On Writing. Unearthing your story means making unexpected discoveries along the way. Writing a story without a guaranteed happy ending is a possibility you might now consider when polishing your piece. Better yet, readers will value your courage in conveying your story in a manner that stayed true to your vision.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

H2 - Move It! Simple Animation Techniques for Illustrators with Sheli Petersen

Ever wished that your characters could take a quick hop, skip, or jump on your website or social media venues? Learn how to build a short animation for your characters using Photoshop techniques in this demonstration. We'll cover the relationship between Photoshop layers and the Animation/Video Timeline, various digital and traditional techniques for creating the frames to move your characters, and basic file formatting and exporting from Photoshop to H.264 or QuickTime. Prior knowledge of Photoshop CS4, CS5, or CS6 is highly recommended.

[Illustrators: Craft; Illustrators: Technology; Level: INT/PRO]

H3 - Less is More: Artful Cutting and Shaping with Nancy Werlin

Less really is more. One of the most valuable revision skills you can learn is "the squeeze." This is the technique of making artful cuts—both small and large—that make your novel more powerful.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

H4 - Speak Up: How to Craft a Dynamite Presentation with Bruce Hale

Ever feel like your strengths lie in writing or illustration, not speaking? And yet you’re expected to be a speaker? Come discover the keys to creating a presentation that wows audiences, whether you're newly published or just looking to take things to the next level.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]


One hour session options:

I-Block – 9:50 am - 10:45 am

I1 - Plot, Structure and Pushing your Characters with Hannah Bowman

What elements go into a satisfying plot? Learn how to structure the events in your novel to best hold the reader's interest, both on the small-scale—scenes and cliffhangers—and the large—overarching structure, contrasting internal and external conflicts, and deriving conflict from your characters' flaws.

[Writers: Craft; BEG/INT]

I2 - Using Pencil and Chalk to Create Stunning Values and Textures in Your Art with Marty Kelley (limit of 20 participants)

Are you up to the challenge of trying something different in your artwork? Take your art in an exciting new direction with pencil and chalk. Using pencil and chalk on toned paper allows artists to create a breathtaking range of values and textures. This simple, often overlooked medium is a perfect way to introduce new life into your artwork, no matter what your style. Whether your artwork is realistic or highly stylized, rendering in pencil and chalk can give it new depth and dimension.

This is a hands-on workshop with lots of demonstrations and plenty of time to draw. We’ll work on developing values and creating a wide variety of textures. There will be demonstrations on how to use pencil and chalk to create realistic hair, shadows, eyes, and more. We’ll explore hand-toning paper and using pencil and chalk in conjunction with watercolor and other media. The workshop will end with a fun drawing project and an informal critique. Challenge yourself and try something new!

[Illustrators: Craft; Level: PRO]

I3 - Mining Research for the Crown Jewels of Your Story: How the Facts Can Inform Fiction and Nonfiction with Patricia Newman

Using your research to inform your story requires a judicious sprinkling of details that bring your story/era to life rather than a wholesale info dump. In addition to facts about your intended subject, you also need specific details, such as weather, topography, and native plants and animals. In this session, you will learn how to augment your research beyond your main character/main event, how to locate primary sources, and how to find that nugget of information that sets a narrative nonfiction piece in motion.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

I4 - "What Makes A Bestselling Picture Book?" with AJ Smith and Susan Savory

What makes a best-selling picture book? Certainly, this is a LOADED question and there's no magic formula. This workshop will focus and examine past/current bestselling picture books and some of the inherent qualities they share.

What attracts an editor/art director to a possible book project?
What stops a book from succeeding in the acquisitions process?
What factors influence a book buyer to invest in a book?
What attracts a mom, dad, etc to purchase a picture book?
And ultimately, what makes a child want to pick that book up again and again?

Much of what is examined will apply to chapter books, middle grade, etc. but we’ll be focusing specifically on picture books in this workshop.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: INT/PRO]

I5 - Crafting a First-Person Voice That Sings with Nova Ren Suma

A hallmark of many of the most successful and beloved young-adult and middle-grade novels is a strong, striking voice. But having “voice” doesn’t just mean writing from the first-person POV and calling it a day; if you’re committed to writing true first-person, you must push yourself to craft a voice that sings, and that ultimately illuminates the teller of your story. This talk will focus on ways to dig out a distinctive first-person voice from a flat narration, and will also give tips on how to craft your voice to be authentic to the character you’ve created. By showcasing examples from published books and sharing experience of writing first-person novels from different perspectives, this presentation will leave you with ideas and techniques for building a memorable voice that is dynamic, daring, and undeniably your own.

[Writers: Craft; Level: all skill levels]

I6 - Q&A with Laurel Snyder

Join keynote presenter Laurel Snyder for an informal conversation about being brave in the publishing world.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

I7 - What Authors and Illustrators Need to Know About Common Core with Melissa Stewart

Because 80 percent of trade nonfiction titles are sold to schools and libraries, nonfiction authors and illustrators need a basic understanding of the Common Core standards. Fiction authors and illustrators can also benefit from knowledge of the new standards. In this workshop, award-winning author Melissa Stewart shares a simple system she has developed for looking at the reading standards across the grade levels and evaluating how your published book or work-in-progress addresses the learning goals. She also provides strategies for developing teachers’ guides and other educational materials that will convince teachers that they can and should use your fiction or nonfiction book to meet the Common Core standards.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: INT/PRO]


J-Block - 10:55 am - 11:50 am

J1 - “Come on, Bev! The Suspense is Killing Me!”—A Workshop About Creating and Maintaining Suspense For More Effective Stories with Mark Peter Hughes

Suspense is one of the joys of reading. It makes our hearts pound, palms sweat, and can keep us up late into the night just to find out what happens next. But suspense isn’t just a tool for the action/thriller genre; it can give vitality to even our smallest, quietest scenes and stories. So what exactly is suspense and how can writers use it to draw in readers and keep them engaged? In this hands-on workshop, Mark Peter Hughes shares some of the secrets to the effective use of suspense as a way to pump up writing and turn lackluster stories into page-turners.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

J2 - Beyond OMG; Writing Authentic Dialogue for Teens with Sashi Kaufman

Get beyond slang and text talk and learn to think and talk like an adolescent. This workshop is designed to help you write authentic dialogue for teenagers. The workshop will feature several improvisation and writing exercises to help you unearth the voice of your inner teenager. We will examine what works in structuring and writing dialogue using mentor texts. The writing exercises will allow us to practice making different types of dialogue work in our writing.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

J3 - Brave Beginnings with Jo Knowles

This workshop will explore the power of brave beginnings. How do authors develop trust and intimacy with the reader on the very first page? What kind of risks must they take in order to achieve that connection? What elements work to hook the reader within just a few paragraphs? We’ll look at published texts with powerful, brave beginnings, as well as our own first pages, and study what makes them work—or not. Participants should bring a first page from a work-in-progress for feedback. We’ll also create new first pages to put what we’ve learned to the test! Come prepared to share your work, offer feedback to others, and participate in a writing exercise. Get ready to be brave—and have fun!

[Writers: Craft; BEG/INT]

J4 - Now Try It Like This: Tough Love for Illustrators with Deborah Freedman (limit of 20 participants)

Successful picturebook illustration does not just sit pretty — it adds layers to text by telling its own story. How does it do that? And how can design, specifically, affect the pace, arc, and “voice” of that story? Through a series of quick-sketches, we will experiment with a single page, and revise, revise, revise, exploring how different aspects of design — such as line, shape, tone, color, movement, and composition — can affect the overall effectiveness of an illustration. We will discuss how design can help a page to both tell a story on its own and do its work as part of a book, and how thoughtful design can enhance that book’s emotional resonance. Basic drawing skills required.

[Illustrators: Craft; Level: INT]

J5 - Fabulous and Fact-filled: Writing Nonfiction that Flies Off the Shelves with Sarah Albee and Melissa Stewart

There’s a reason Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and the Guinness Book of World Records are perennial bestsellers, as well as the most-circulated books in school libraries. Kids love facts, imaginatively presented. While some readers gravitate toward narrative nonfiction, academic studies and publishing sales figures prove that many young readers prefer fun facts, humor, trivia, data, and high-interest or offbeat topics. In this workshop, nonfiction authors Melissa Stewart and Sarah Albee combine their experience and expertise in science and history/social studies to offer a guided discussion about the current market for nonfiction books. Topics will include the characteristics of bestselling nonfiction, how Common Core is influencing nonfiction acquisitions, and strategies for developing nonfiction proposals and manuscripts that editors can’t resist.

[Writers: Craft; Writers: Business; Level: BEG/INT]

J6 - Gesture and Emotion for Illustrators—and the Characters They Draw with Robert (R.W.) Alley

This workshop is all about drawing feeling and expression. It’s not about drawing “with” feeling and expression. It’s not about drawing style or book design. It’s not about imitation. It is about using the gestures of your individual, native drawing style to draw out the emotional life of your characters in their environment. You’ll be expected to bring along examples of your own work as a reference point. Feel free to include any specific characters or situations that you’re currently developing. Expect to do lots of drawing. You’ll have to do this out in the open and share the results. You will indeed have to create bravely. It will be worth it. In the end, as a result of various prompts, you’ll find yourself expanding your own visual vocabulary.

[Illustrators: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

J7 - Mosaic: Our Characters in the World with Terry Farish and Maria Padian

"We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic," Jimmy Carter writes of the U.S. Immigrants and refugees contribute identities to the picture of who we are as a country. They also bring news of the wider world, news that is often in the headlines of our newspapers. This workshop is an envisioning session for your work in progress. Through quick responses to questions and study of passages of novels, we will explore adding layers to your character by building the character's awareness of, or connection to, the cultural mosaic he is a part of. We'll explore boons that writers might find through exploring intercultural contexts, such as a powerful metaphor that could arise. We will explore ways to step into the cultural mosaic of your characters' lives and look at examples of characters who might have multiple cultural identities. After all, an immigrant child is already part American when she steps off the plane. And long-term residents are shaped by the influx of words, food, music, good luck charms of newcomers. But in stepping into the cultural mosaic—stepping into worlds of sambusas and gundruk soup--we are also stepping outside of the culture we identify with. How do we find that center-of-the-world that each individual has? How do we imagine that place outside our culture? What are the writer's responsibilities as he enters this space in his imagination? It's a risk to step in there. But is it a greater risk not to? We'll look at the many forms research can take from cultural immersion to cooking new foods to the art of listening.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Buffet Lunch in the Ballroom

12:15 pm - 1:00 pm Industry Pro Panel, HYBRID PUBLISHING, with local pros Lauren MacLeod of Strothman Agency; Kaylee Davis from Dee Mura Literary Agency; Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency; and Carter Hasegawa of Candlewick

Moderator: J. L. Bell

Traditional lines are blurring in today's publishing industry. Self-published titles can earn big advances, publishers are buying online communities, agencies have set up ebook-publishing wings, and entrepreneurs are developing new digital storytelling forms and platforms. How can authors and illustrators navigate this brave new world? Is "hybrid publishing," combining work for traditional publishers with self-funded publications, the new path to success?

[General Audience; Level: all skill levels]

Workshop Blocks:


One 2-hour session

K-Block - 1:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Or two 1-hour sessions

L-Block - 1:15 pm - 2:10 pm


M-Block - 2:20 pm - 3:15 pm

Two-hour session Options:

K-Block - 1:15 pm - 3:15 pm

K1 - The Picture Book Dummy for Smart Illustrators AND Authors with Robert (R.W.) Alley

In this session, we’ll explore why creating one-off, physical, page-turning versions of a picture book is a useful tool for an illustrator, an author and most especially for an author/illustrator. There are about fifteen page turns in a standard picture book. Each page turn offers the possibility of visual surprise or a textual change of direction. A really good picture book is built on these fifteen moments. In my experience, no amount of preliminary sketching, close editing or even story-boarding is a substitute for building the actual book and experiencing the actual page turns.

[Writers: Craft; Illustrators: Craft; INT/PRO]

K2 - Colors, Contrast + Complements with Mary Jane Begin

This workshop will involve, not kind words and flattering phrases, but exploration of color using contrasting complementary color relationships. The focus will be on developing a sense of form, light, texture, and volume of an object on colored Canson paper using watercolor, pastels and colored pencils. Participants will be introduced to the idea of contrast in value, transparency and temperature using a fruit or vegetable as the focus of study on a complementary colored ground. A specific technique and use of materials will be explored through demonstrations of methods and materials as the workshop progresses. Participants may, in addition to learning a new way to think about color, and to creating a finished piece, eat their object of study at the end of the workshop if they choose :)

[Illustrators: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

K3 - Writing from Experience: Using Personal Stories In Our Novels with Karen Day

Using personal stories in our fiction often brings authenticity to our work. It also makes sense. Who knows our stories better than we do? Yet working with personal experience can be very challenging. It’s easy to get tangled up in what really happened and the fiction you are trying to create. It also raises some questions. How personal should your novels be? And are our experiences as interesting to others as they are to us? In this hands-on, interactive workshop we will explore these questions. Karen Day will lead you through writing exercises designed to help tap into your past and create balanced stories using personal experiences.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT]

K4 - What's My Plot? Outlining and Plotting After You Write Your Story with Megan Frazer Blakemore

Those folks who like to plot seem to have it made: they outline their novel, sit back, and just let the words come. But for those of us who can’t or won’t plot, writing can be terrifying. We are spelunkers diving into a cave to search for jewels, but we might find ourselves one thousand feet below ground with nothing but dirty coal. This workshop celebrates the risk of writing without a net, while teaching how to control your descent and how to handle those jewels once you find them—and you will—by creating an outline and plot map after writing a first draft.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT]

K5 - Deleting the Damsel & the Dragon: Redefining Female Characters in YA Fiction with Dawn Metcalf and Annie (A.C.) Gaughen

Female characters in YA fiction are either strong and violent, or virtually invisible. How can YA authors rewrite the gender narrative and create nuanced, diverse female role models—and is it our social responsibility to do so? Join Dawn Metcalf and A.C. Gaughen in a workshop that examines strength, diversity and femininity in YA literature and invites us to discover how we can write against the gender bias and create a brave new world for the next generation.

[Writers: Craft; Level: all skill levels]


One hour-session options

L-Block - 1:15 pm - 2:10 pm

L1 - Building Narrative Momentum: The Physics of a Fast-Paced Story with J. L. Bell

Narrative momentum—a sense of movement in a story—is crucial to grabbing readers and keeping them grabbed. This workshop splits narrative momentum into its composite variables, using concepts from basic physics. (How basic? Just mass, distance, and time. Okay, there will be vectors.) We'll analyze the way each of those variables affects how much movement readers feel in a story. Isolating each variable in turn, we'll review tips for building more momentum using everything from chapter structure and flashback placement to sentence and word length. Finally, we'll focus on where novels need to have the most momentum, and the obstacles that commonly get in the way of that goal.

[Writers: Craft; Level: BEG/INT]

L2 - Beyond Pow! Zap! Wham! Sequential Art in Narrative Prose with Jim Hill

Sequential art–-comic art–-is finding its way into an ever-growing number of books for children of all ages. Cracking the best seller’s lists and garnering starred reviews, graphic novels have brought comics into the mainstream. Librarians and classroom teachers advocate using them as a tool to encourage literacy and engage reluctant readers. Hybrid comic-novels blend comic art with narrative prose. By weaving illustration and text together, they deliver a new kind of storytelling experience. Not just text, not just comics, but the best of both worlds. This workshop will help tear down the wall between writers and illustrators through discussion of how comics work, supported by case studies from graphic novel adaptations and novels that utilize comics as a critical part of their narrative technique. These examples will show that the craft techniques of sequential art—world building, flashback, scene, character development, voice, and onomatopoeia—are the same techniques applied by writers. They will also demonstrate ways writers can use sequential art to empower their stories (even when they’re not the artist).

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: INT/PRO]

L3 - How to Talk to a Nuclear Physicist: The Secrets of a Successful Interview with Kathryn Hulick

Primary sources bring life and authenticity to your writing—I once interviewed a biologist while he was out on the savannah in Kenya with a herd of elephants! But how do you find an expert to interview, and what the heck do you ask that person once you have his or her attention? Learn how to deal with common interview pitfalls, including what to do when your subject talks too much or won’t talk enough. Get advice on voice recorders and transcription software, and find out why it’s important to ask a question even when you think you already know the answer. Although this presentation is geared toward nonfiction writers, fiction writers may also find it useful to conduct interviews. Come ready to practice your interview skills with other attendees in this hands-on workshop.

[Writers: Craft; Writers: Technology; Level: BEG/INT]

L4 - Six Steps To a Killer First Page with Patricia Newman

The first page of a manuscript carries some heavy responsibility. It sets the tone for your book, introduces your main character, and kicks off your plot. It also determines whether a coveted editor or agent will keep reading. In this revision intensive session, I will discuss real first pages (submitted in advance by brave participants) as the basis for a six-step framework to craft not only a killer first page, but the remaining pages of your book. (Note: You do not have to submit a first page to attend this session.)

Pre-conference submissions: A first page contains your contact info, the title and byline, and no more than twelve (12), double-spaced lines of text (verse authors may single-space stanzas and double-space between stanzas). Participants should email me at me with their first page attached. Word .doc and .docx files accepted. Subject line should read NESCBWI: First page. All oral critiques will be anonymous. While I cannot guarantee that your first page will be critiqued, I will do my utmost to critique every first page submitted. Submission deadline is April 2.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT]

L5 - Getting All Up in Our Character’s Intimate Business: Using Gender to Deepen Character with Katherine Quimby Johnson

What happens to our characters when we think of gender as a spectrum rather than a binary? If we look around, we see boys who are all-boy and girlie girls, boys who want to be girls and girls who want to be boys. More and more, we also see young people who represent everything in between. Where are those characters in literature? In this workshop we’ll look at gender as a matter for all literature, not only for LGBTQ stories, and we will use our discoveries to deepen our own characters, no matter what their story.

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: BEG/INT]

L6 - Freelance Writing: Quitting Your Day Job and Making a Living with Laurie Calkhoven

From ghostwriting to media tie-ins and series nonfiction, having “your” book published isn’t the only way to make a living as a children’s author. I’ve made my living as a freelance children’s writer since 2003. In this workshop I share my techniques for networking and getting hired in the sometimes rocky world of work-for-hire and ghostwriting.

[Writers: Business; Level: INT]


M-Block - 2:20 pm - 3:15 pm

M1 - Digging Deeper: Using Subtext to Add Depth to Your Stories with Laurie Calkhoven

Subtext, the true meaning simmering underneath the surface, adds depth and layers of meaning to our stories. Often what’s missing in the text is the most important part—the motives, thoughts, emotions, and human truths that resonate with multiple meanings. Using examples from multiple popular works of fiction, we’ll look at the many ways to use subtext to add meaning beneath the words.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT/PRO]

M2 - Lighting the Fire: Marketing for Authors with Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Marketing is like building a campfire. The layers that are involved. The kinds of varied, flammable elements that must be combined in order to catch and keep burning. But there must be spaces, too, for air and growth of the flames. But, we as authors do not light the fire—our readers do. It’s our job, though, to decide how to tend the flames. Know when and how to feed them. In this workshop, we will discuss the many ways a book can be marketed. How every marketing plan is different for every book and every writer and how to know what is the best approach for you. Just some of the areas that will be covered will be having an online presence—how do you choose among the many choices? Which ones are more for fun and which actually sell books? We’ll also discuss branding, blog tours, marketing platforms, finding group marketing opportunities, and finding/doing in-person gigs. Handouts will be included.

[General Business (both writers and illustrators); Level: PRO]

M3 - Ready, Set, Dive off the Deep End! with Kate Sullivan

What do Claude Monet, Igor Stravinsky, Steve Jobs, Mohammed Ali, Danika Patrick, George Gershwin, Jane Goodall all have in common? They dared to step outside the circle. They dared to take a leap into the void in order to follow their inner voice—always, at the outset, a faint little cry for air and light. But if we are trying to listen to ourselves, these urges come from a deep place in our soul, a place that knows some truths that we aren’t quite aware of, a place that knows better than we do. Creativity requires risk. When we push ourselves, we break into new rooms, places we didn’t know existed in ourselves, places that are deeper and more dangerous than our careful selves. What’s the risk really? Failure. Rejection. Humiliation. But we’re not alone. Why else would philosophers and writers keep coming up with pep talks? But it is often very difficult to do what sounds very easy. We need to remind ourselves to grow, to change, to risk failure or even more potentially fatal, a bruised ego. In this session, we will play around with risk and failure. Attendees will participate in several hands-on exercises to identify strengths and fears along with ways to work past the obstacles that constantly block our paths. It is magical thinking to assume the way will be clear and easy. It never is! So take the plunge, dive into the deep end!

[General Craft (both writers and illustrators); Level: all skill levels]

M4 - Just My Type: Hand-Lettering for Illustrators with Abigail Halpin

Hand-rendered type is an opportunity for designers and illustrators to stand out in an increasingly digital world. Participants will be introduced to children's books that utilize hand lettering, with attention paid to how the book benefits from this. The workshop will also introduce participants to resources for learning how to create their own hand-rendered type.

[Illustrators: Craft; Level: All skill levels]

M5 - Capturing Voice, Finding Story with Lynne Shook

Ever wonder what it means when you hear your characters’ voices? Take a risk—come talk to the doc and find out. In this workshop, given by a writer who is also a mental health professional, we’ll play with a variety of guided imagery techniques—typically used in clinical settings--to show you how to listen for your characters’ voices and bring your stories to life. You’ll learn about the four different ways writers are neurologically wired to write, and what that tells us about literary voice—what it is and where it comes from. We’ll discuss some of the ways writers inadvertently stifle their access to their characters’ voices, as well as some of the critical choices that have to be made in the early stages of character development based on principles of child development and family dynamics. Participants will leave the workshop with strategies for adapting the guided imagery technique to: establish voice in the earliest stages of project development, contact characters for help when the writing gets stuck, and complete a project outline informed by voice and story—not just character and plot. Workshop participants will be given the option for personal email consultation with the instructor after the workshop regarding one character development question about their own work, based on the information and techniques presented in the workshop.

[Writers: Craft; Level: INT]

M6 - English 101 for Authors with Marvin Terban

English is an author’s greatest tool. It’s the main means of communication with our readers. It’s the reason why we, as authors of books for children, have an obligation to make sure our English is beyond reproach. And our manuscripts must be grammatically, punctuationally, spellingly,, perfect before the editorial assistant takes them out of the envelope. This humorous presentation will provide a lively guide to the complexities, idionsyncrasies, and pitfalls of our mother tongue. (Not Marvin’s father’s tongue. He was born in Ukraine.)

[Writers: Craft; Level: all skill levels]

3:20 pm - 3:30 pm Closing Ceremony

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Book signing

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Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • If you have chosen to pay by check, please send your payment, along with your confirmation number or a copy of your registration invoice to:
        SCBWI New England
        c/o Marilyn Salerno

        30 Midfield Drive
        Rockland, MA 02370
    Remember that registration and payment for Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques happens offline.

    Conference cancellations before March 15, 2014 will be refunded in full.
    After March 15, 2014, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.
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