New England SCBWI 2015 Think Outside the Crayon Box!

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, April 24, 2015

New England SCBWI 2015 

Think Outside the Crayon Box!

artwork by Laura Jacques

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Think Outside the Crayon Box!

Printer friendly workshop descriptions.

Our level ratings are a guide to workshops set by the presenters; you're the best judge to determine which level describes you.

  • Beginner (BEG): participants with little to no experience writing and/or illustrating for children
  • Intermediate (INT): participants who know the basics of writing and/or illustrating for children
  • Professional (PRO): participants who have published children's books or have significant experience writing and/or illustrating for children
  • General (GEN): all participants
  • Out of the Box: outside the scope of the publishing industry but can still directly benefit attendees
A5 C1 C8 D2 D8 E2 F1 G6 I1 I4 K1

FRIDAY Workshops, April 24, 2015

Friday's Pitch Critiques (2-4:30), Workshop A Intensives (2-4), #AskAMentor (3-5), Marketing Book Group (4:30-5), Agent Panel (4:30-5:30), and Conference Orientation (4:10-4:30) may overlap.

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

A1 ~ Am I Celebrating Diversity? Or Am I Part of the Problem? with Richard Michelson

What's a writer to do if you're interested in writing outside the box of your racial and cultural and gender traditions? Are you celebrating or exploiting, and where's the border between the two?
Using my books and those of others, we'll talk about authors being type-cast, unintentional racism; and the thin line between stereotype and truth. As a writer originally known for my Jewish stories I'll explain how I ended up writing three books in black dialect (and how that differs from performing in blackface). I'll also tackle the ugly business side of the lily white world of children's publishing, and discuss whether writers like me are part of the solution or part of the problem.

[GEN: All: Craft; Writers: Business]

A2 ~ Body Language: Acting Out, Scenes with Obscene Gestures and Other Ways to Show Emotion with Padma Venkatraman

Dialogue is immensely important, but not every character is chatty. And even chatterboxes sometimes express themselves through their actions, rather than through words. The goal of this workshop is to show writers how to effectively use techniques other than dialogue to express a character's emotion and evoke a reader's empathy. Attendees will learn techniques related to body-language (gestures, action, and visceral reaction) to show rather than tell emotion. We'll start by reading excerpts from award-winning novels and discussing how authors have used body language in the past. We'll do some brainstorming as a group and a short writing exercise that will touch on clichés and cultural differences. Then, in keeping with the conference theme, we'll push ourselves to do two outside the box exercises. Working together, we'll create a body language cheat-sheet containing a list of gestures, bodily reactions and physical actions that show different emotions. We'll discuss cultural differences and how to avoid clichés. We'll learn to study outside resources as well as our own body language and use this to inform our work.

[INT, PRO, Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]

A3 ~ Create Engaging School Visits That Catch Attention with Michelle Cusolito

Common Core. Six Traits. Next Generation Science Standards. Are you overwhelmed by educational jargon? Do you wonder what it means for you as an author/illustrator who does school visits? Master teacher and writer Michelle Cusolito helps you sort it out to develop an engaging program that attracts the attention of schools and libraries. In budget conscious times, authors/illustrators who creatively position their programs as complements to classroom work increase their chances of getting hired. This workshop-style session starts with an overview of how to read the standards. You'll work in small groups to develop a plan for your own vibrant school visit. Michelle will help you develop your program by sharing creative, active ways to touch on standards and engage an audience. The session concludes with suggestions for selling yourself and getting hired.
1. Includes pre-work (1 hour or less) that will be emailed roughly 2 weeks prior to the conference.
2. Ideally, participants will bring a device that connects to the internet and a copy of the book(s) for which you'd like to develop your program.
3. Many people who attended Michelle's 55 minute workshop in 2013 asked for a more in-depth session. The beginning of this session will be a review for those who attended in 2013, but we'll quickly move to the workshop portion so you can get planning.


A4 ~ The Business of Show Business: Your Book as a Product with Stephen Mooser and Jaimie Engle

Self- and traditionally published authors must accept that they're responsible for the publicity and success of their books. Marketing dollars are allocated to those top-tier authors who can guarantee a fast, fruitful return to publishers.
Whether you self-publish or go the traditional route, there are limited funds to market your book. How can you succeed? This session will explore free and low cost marketing ideas, how to land school visits, utilizing technology for promotion and name recognition, and most importantly, teaching business skills. Authors must learn to brand themselves along with their product. They must understand the competition inside of them between the writer, the agent, and the publisher. They must realize their book is a product, not a work of art.

[PRO, Writers: Business, Tech]

A5 ~ How'd They Do That? A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Illustrators' Techniques plus Watercolor Wonder Workshop with Nicole Tadgell and Sarah S. Brannen

As growing artists, we all develop specialized illustration techniques and tricks to illustrate texts and delight readers. Join Sarah and Nicole as we explore methods seen in the works of our children's illustrator heroes and reveal some of our own tricks of craft. Then we'll get to work on practicing hands-on watercolor techniques, including: how to create a smooth wash behind objects or text; selecting pigments; friskets and masking; making the most of happy accidents; and much more. Students should bring watercolor paper and their own supplies.

[INT, PRO; Illustrators: Craft]

A6 ~ Writing Picture Books and Early Readers Like a Poet: Using Poetry Techniques to Make Your Picture Books Pop with Jane Kohuth

Poetry can be an intimidating word. I'd like to invite picture book writers to climb out of their usual crayon box and get some poetry paint under their fingernails. As a writer of early readers and picture books, I've always drawn on my time studying and writing poetry to shape the spare text needed for books where every word must pop and every image count. But I became a real believer in the value of poetry to writers for young children when I faced what felt like a near impossible task: write a biography of Anne Frank in 1,000 words. In this workshop we'll take a look at how techniques used by poets, from vivid sensory details, pared down language, sound, repetition, rhythm, beat, and even rhyme, can help picture book and early reader writers envision and shape their texts. We'll work on developing what I think of as poet's mind - a particular way of approaching writing. I'll use lots of specific examples from poems, picture books, and early readers, and give participants the chance to try their hand at the techniques we discuss. Bring a notebook and pen, and be prepared to write and share.

[BEG; Writers: Craft]

A7 ~ The Archetypal Shadows in YA Fiction with Tim Weed

In this literature-based, craft-oriented workshop, we'll examine the role of the Jungian concept of the Shadow in several well-known fantasy novels for YA and middle-grade readers. In the process of dissecting passages from selected works we'll discover how the Shadow is not only a key concept for arriving at a more complete understanding of ourselves (and therefore of our characters), but also an important tool for creating deeply compelling, page-turning stories. Novels discussed may include The Lord of the Rings, The Golden Compass, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Dark is Rising, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and/or others; it'll be helpful if participants have read at least a few of these books. Note that although the discussion will center on YA and fantasy novels, the craft-oriented lessons are applicable to fiction writers in any genre. We'll conclude with a writing exercise aimed at inviting the Shadow more fully into our own lives and creative work.

[GEN; Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]

SATURDAY Workshops, April 25, 2015

Saturday Morning Workshop Blocks:

One 2-hour session: B-Block - 9:50 am - 11:45 am


Two 1-hour sessions: C-Block -   9:50 am - 10:45 am
AND D-Block - 10:55 am - 11:45 am

2-hour session Options:

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

B1 ~ Pages to Pixels: Planning, Preparing, and Publishing Your Interactive Book with Josh Alves

Looking to bring your book to life as an interactive book? Not sure where to begin? In this workshop, we'll look at the processes and tools that creators can use to make their own interactive book. From planning the page, creating the art, and preparing the files, Josh will share the tips and tricks he's developed using some of the DIY interactive tools available. This workshop assumes attendees have a basic understanding of Photoshop.

[INT, Out of the Box; Illustrators: Craft, Tech]

B2 ~ Art School in a Day with Dan Santat

We begin the intensive with a quick one hour crash course on color theory, composition and page design followed by a Powerpoint presentation manipulating pre-existing artwork from other SCBWI members and altering the illustrations step by step for attendees to see that improvement in work can be greatly achieved by simply utilizing smarter design.


1-hour session Options:

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

C1 ~ Putting Together a Career in Children's Illustration: Where to Start and What to Do Next with Hazel Mitchell

Aimed at the illustrator just starting out on their children's book career this workshop covers the basics from building a children's portfolio to submitting your work and finding an agent. Where to go, what to read, what NOT to do. Every illustrator's path is different. In this workshop we'll cover the basics, the shortcuts and the fast track to getting your work published. Do's and don'ts including my personal experience from newbie to forging a career. Plenty of time for questions, including those areas that people don't usually want to discuss. Handout with helpful hints and reminders.

[BEG; Illustrators: Business]

C2 ~ So Totes Awesomesauce: Embracing the Authentic Tween Voice with Jen Malone

Middle grade author Jen Malone (whose own books are geared to tween readers) will reacquaint you with your inner twelve-year-old in this workshop that focuses on writing with an authentic tween voice. You'll discuss how writing for tweens is different from other types of middle grade, when and how to use (or skip!) tween slang and pop culture references, and how much "content" flies with this age group.

[INT; All: Business]

C3 ~ Something Borrowed, Something New: Mining Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales to Write Fantasy with Katie Carroll

You've heard the old quote, "There are no new stories." So what's a writer to do? Borrow elements of those classic stories and spin them anew! In this workshop, discuss the themes of classic myths, legends, and fairy tales that give them universal appeal and allow them to stand the test of time. Then find out, often surprising, stories inspired authors to write their published books and how they twisted them to make them into something new. Finally, stretch beyond the Cinderella story and discover the lesser known tales that are ripe for borrowing, twisting, and retelling.

[INT; Writers: Craft]

C4 ~ Lights, Cameras, Picture Book! with Emma Ledbetter

In this talk for picture book writers, we'll explore how to create a manuscript with the full vision of your final book in mind: from the technical details of a book's format and layout, to the art of pacing and the page turn, to thinking beyond your text to the illustrations and design of the book…all important factors that contribute to the cinematic experience of reading a picture book, and keeping young readers engaged from start to finish. I'll take you step by step through a picture book that I recently edited; please bring a story that you're working on and some extra paper with you, as well. Time permitting, we'll work on pacing out your own book dummies and might even share some cinematic read-alouds!

[BEG; All: Craft]

C5 ~ How to Get Published Successfully with Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, The Book Doctors

It's the greatest time in history to be a writer. The barrier to publishing has been torn down and now anyone can get published. But to get published successfully is a whole other matter. Eckstut and Sterry take you through the entire publishing process. This step-by-step, soups-to-nuts workshop will remove the smoke and mirrors from the murky world of publishing and give writers a compass and map to a successfully published book. Topics covered include:
• Choosing the right idea
• Creating a blockbuster title
• Crafting an attention-getting pitch
• Putting together a selling proposal/manuscript
• Finding the right agent/publisher
• Self-publishing effectively with ebooks, print-on-demand or traditional printing
• Developing sales, marketing and publicity savvy
• Producing a video book trailer and helping it go viral
• Building a following through social media


C6 ~ Crafting Short Stories: How to Condense All the Emotion, Threads and Character Arcs of a 250 Page Novel into 20 Short Pages with Trisha Leaver 

With limited real-estate and the necessity of full character arcs and tightly woven threads, crafting powerful short stories is truly an art form. There's no room for extraneous detail; no quarter given for a dip in pacing. You have 20 short pages to fully engage your reader, give them a character to root for, clearly identify the conflict and stakes, and weave in the emotional intensity that connects your reader to your characters at the most basic, most primal level. In essence, you need to take all the emotion, threads, and character arcs one expects to find in a 250 page novel and condense them into a masterfully crafted, short piece of fiction. This workshop will give you the basic tools necessary to craft an unforgettable short story that captures your reader from page one.

[BEG; Writers: Craft]

C7 ~ Poetry Panel: Poets Always Think Outside the Box with Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Leslie Bulion, and Rich Michelson

The panel will discuss how poems force our brains to work to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, each panelist reading several poems. Different members of the panel will address: 
Metaphor--the transforming agent. What else can we call a box? 
Form--both of the individual poem and the book in which it is found. How they are the same, how they differ?
Finding the Right Word--there are many wrong ones, but usually one right one. Can a poet think enough outside the box to find that right word?
The Lyrical Line--Does it always have to be lyrical, lilting, or can it be purposefully flat-footed and jerky?


C8 ~ First Pages with Agent Jill Corcoran

Do agents nix a manuscript based on the first page? Truthfully, many do. The first page indicates your voice and the quality of your writing. Agents are only looking for writers who are as good or better than the writers they already represent. Why? Because their reputation as an agent is based on their ability to spot talent. In this workshop, Jill Corcoran will read, critique, point out the good and suggest alternatives for the not-so-good parts of your first page.

Be prepared to email your first page 2 weeks before the conference (by 4/10/15) to (Detailed instructions will be emailed to you after registration.) Jill will be reading these at the workshop so you can see the first impression your page makes on an agent. The group will also break into small groups so your first pages can be critiqued by peers. Be sure to have a copy for yourself so you can jot down notes.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]


1-hour session Options:

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

D1 ~ Where Picture Book Illustration is Today with Laurent Linn

Print books vs. e-books, paint vs. digital art, unique vs. trends, character vs. plot. Which way is up? Explore what makes illustrating for picture books unique and how that applies to today's world, and focus on what's most important to know.


D2 ~ Querying: Hook, Line, and Slam Dunk with Kristine Carlson Asselin and Kathleen Rushall

When it comes to Querying, you can't think too far outside the box. There are certain standards that apply universally. However, it's possible to make your query letter stand out from the rest of the slush pile and tailor it to target the agent of your dreams. Get the inside scoop about querying from both sides of the desk from Author Kristine Carlson Asselin and agent Kathleen Rushall (Marsal Lyon Literary Agency). The session will show you queries that work (and why!) and help you perfect the elements of your query. We'll cover the easy-to-use "Hook, Book, and Cook" method. Discover what works, what does not work, and when it's okay to think outside the box. See examples of real queries that landed an agent and later, a book deal. Be inspired! In this seminar, you won't hear vague advice. You'll get tangible tips to create an effective, concise query letter.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

D3 ~ New Colors: Tips to Write about Race and Culture with Mitali Perkins

Want to take your writing to the next level when it comes to writing about race and culture? Afraid you'll make a mistake? Mitali Perkins creates a safe space for discussion about these issues and shares five tips that'll help you include an appropriate and authentic diversity of ethnicities in your stories.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

D4 ~ Image Systems and the Subliminal Poetics of Storytelling with Tim Weed

Well-chosen imagery can make the difference between writing that's a chore to read and writing that jumps off the page. The repetition and variation of imagery is a central technique in creating narratives that accumulate meaning and emotional impact. In this advanced workshop we'll use a combination of discussion, close reading, and writing exercises to gain a greater appreciation for the potential of imagery to give your work new power and vibrancy.

[INT, PRO, Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]

D5 ~ Q & A with Jo Knowles

Come chat with YA and middle grade author Jo Knowles about the writing life. Jo will share revision tips and tools, ideas for getting unstuck on a project, thoughts on burnout, ways to stay inspired and motivated, dealing with rejection, surviving the ups and downs of "the business" and everything in between! You ask it, she'll try to answer. Come with your burning questions from inside and outside the box!

[GEN; Writers: Craft, Business]

D6 ~ Show Me the Money with Chris Eboch

Few people strike it rich in children's literature, but it's possible to make a living as a writer, even in tough economic times. Thinking of writing as a business means looking beyond the highly competitive markets of picture books and novels. One writer shares the real numbers behind earning a living wage through trade publishing, work for hire, self publishing, teaching, editing, and speaking. Chris Eboch will show exactly where the money came from over several years, discuss what decisions led to an increase in income, and explore how to reach some of the less obvious markets.

[GEN; Writers: Business]

D7 ~ Habitat for Superhumanity with Mike Jung

Writing fantasy novels in a realistic, contemporary setting presents unique challenges. Mike Jung talks about integrating fantasy elements into a realistic setting on a variety of levels: the structural level, the social level, and the personal level. This session will also include specific pieces of advice from a number of other traditionally published MG authors, including Robin LaFevers, Jennifer Nielsen, Kate Milford, Kari Anne Holt, Ellen Booraem, Dawn Metcalf, Anne Nesbet, and Anna Staniszewski.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

D8 ~ First Pages with Agent Jill Corcoran

Do agents nix a manuscript based on the first page? Truthfully, many do. The first page indicates your voice and the quality of your writing. Agents are only looking for writers who are as good or better than the writers they already represent. Why? Because their reputation as an agent is based on their ability to spot talent. In this workshop, Jill Corcoran will read, critique, point out the good and suggest alternatives for the not-so-good parts of your first page.

Be prepared to email your first page 2 weeks before the conference (by 4/10/15) to (Detailed instructions will be emailed to you after registration.) Jill will be reading these at the workshop so you can see the first impression your page makes on an agent. The group will also break into small groups so your first pages can be critiqued by peers. Be sure to have a copy for yourself so you can jot down notes.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

Saturday Afternoon Workshop Blocks:

One 2-hour session: E

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


Two 1-hour sessions: F-Block - 2:15 pm - 3:10 pm
AND G-Block - 3:20 am - 4:15 pm

2-hour session Options:

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

E1 ~ Mapping a Scene by Scene Guide to Revision with Katie Carroll

Problems with pacing? Not sure if your characters are fleshed out enough? Wondering if the tone of your piece is balanced? Address all these issues in one simple scene by scene guide to revision. This approach to revising a novel breaks up the daunting process into manageable bites. Using short scene descriptions and coding each scene's tone and whether it's action or character driven, you can create a story map that allows you to evaluate each scene on its own while at the same time gives you a big picture view of the plot and character development. Bring your own work in progress and apply this technique to find out where to trim the fat or where to beef up the story, and leave this intensive workshop with your entire story arc literally seen at one glance.

[INT; Writers: Craft]

E2 ~ From the Page to the Stage: Bringing Books Alive During School and Library Visits with Marcia Wells and Kwame Alexander

Break out of the boring author/illustrator mold! Don't just read to your audience, engage them! Two authors present different styles and methods of mastering your school and library visit, whether you're promoting a picture book, middle grade or YA novel. We'll talk about tailoring your presentation to your strengths (and to the book you're promoting) while maintaining kid appeal. We'll discuss not only the package you're delivering to your audience, but how to deliver it. This session takes an in-depth look at what makes a dynamic presentation, how to work with a group of any size, and how to connect with both children and adults. We'll discuss different approaches on presenting your book visually, orally and physically. On the business side, we'll discuss fees, promotion and outreach, and what it means to be a professional. This class is based on hands-on learning and audience participation. Get ready to laugh and learn as we explore EVERYTHING there is to know about school and library visits!

[GEN; All: Business]

E3 ~ First Decision, First Book: The Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing with Laura Pauling

Let's talk about the decision to become an author-publisher and the thrilling but nitty gritty journey leading up to the book launch. Maybe you have already traditionally published. Maybe you've spent years querying or submitting and are wondering if self-publishing is right for you. Maybe you have concerns about current publishing contracts and ebook royalties. We'll cover everything from how to set up your small business to ISBNs to newsletters to forming your publishing team. I'll walk you through the nuts and bolts of publishing your book. You'll leave with a list of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how to do it the right way the first time. Laura Pauling has been writing for almost ten years. She made the decision to self publish in 2011. With eleven books out, she knows that the first book is the hardest. She wants to make it easy for you.

[INT; Writers: Business]


1-hour session Options:

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

F1 ~ Writing the Book Series with Aubrey Poole

Whether you have a kernel of an idea for a series or you're drafting book three, hear Sourcebooks editor Aubrey Poole discuss the process of creating a book series, from initial idea to marketable product. Aubrey will discuss the editorial concerns that go into selecting a series for publication, deciding when/if to invest in follow-up titles, and ensuring that a series meets its full potential, as well as the craft behind choosing the type of series you want to write, shaping each individual book, and making the overall series into a satisfying reading experience. The session will include hands-on activities designed to help you flesh out your series ideas and prepare them for today's publishing climate.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

F2 ~ Beyond Blog Tours: Using Outside-the-Box Thinking to Market Your Book with Jen Malone

These days, ever-increasing aspects of a book marketing campaign are falling to an author to execute, often with little guidance from the publisher. Applying basics learned while developing and implementing promotional film marketing campaigns for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films, MG/YA author Jen Malone will teach you how to develop a cost-effective, outside-the-box marketing campaign to get your book the notice it deserves. We'll examine why the target audience influences most of the marketing decisions and unique ways to specifically reach those readers. Finally you'll be shown examples of marketing campaigns that managed to create that elusive "buzz" and discuss ways you can do the same for your title!

[INT, PRO; All: Business]

F3 ~ Psychological Horror: Crafting Fictional Stories That Will Scare the Crap Out of Your Readers with Tricia Leaver

There's more to crafting chilling, psychological horror than gory thrills and characters bathed in blood. Relying on the emotional instability and fears of its characters, true psychological horror evokes the most primal response from its readers … terror. It exploits common, everyday situations and taps into the darker side of the human mind, turning seemingly innocuous events into something claustrophobic and frightening. True psychological horror does not just scare its readers in the moment, rather it lingers with them long after the final page has been read. In this workshop, you'll learn how to craft psychologically terrifying scenes that have your reader simultaneously anticipating and dreading what happens next. Through writing prompts and interactive discussion you'll learn how to balance setting and backstory to increase tension while paying special attention to the internal conflicts that underscore every horrifically wrong decision your character makes.

[BEG; Writers: Craft]

F4 ~ Creating ebooks and Apps with Christopher Cheng

eBooks. Some people love them; other people are scared of them. As a full time children's author and co‚Äźdirector of a digital publishing company (that produces eBooks and also reproduces the eBooks as printed books) Christopher will discuss his thoughts on eBooks and apps and how we can embrace this new medium of reading - and writing.

[GEN; All: Tech]

F5 ~ Starting From Scratch - Developing a Picture Book Dummy From Rough Sketches to Submission-Ready with Teri Weidner

You have a wonderful story idea. How do you create a polished mock-up so you can share it with a publisher? In this beginner's workshop, you'll learn the necessary steps for developing a picture book dummy, from the first tiny, terrible sketches, to a clear, legible publisher-ready mock-up.

[BEG; Illustrators: Craft, Business, Tech]

F6 ~ Tricky to Open, No Doors, No Locks. To Find My Key Look Outside the Box with Leslie Bulion

RIDDLES are fun - and much, much more! Reading and writing riddles exercises higher-order thinking, expands vocabulary, enhances understanding of multiple word meanings and employs various poetic devices including imagery, metaphor, and identification, rhyme and rhythm. Join Leslie Bulion's riddle workshop to stretch your own creative thinking skills! Riddle books are popular with readers, and riddles integrated into the narrative of a novel provide memorable literary scenes. Leslie will share riddle examples from literature and provide a framework for writers to create different styles of riddles appropriate for readers at many levels. Session participants will have the opportunity to put their new skills to work as they formulate and test-drive riddles of their own with their group of riddling co-conspirators.

[GEN, Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]


1-hour session Options:

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

G1 ~ How to Show-Not-Tell with Chris Eboch

You've been told, "Show, Don't Tell." Now learn how. Kirkus Reviews praised Chris Eboch's middle grade novel, The Well of Sacrifice, for its "richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society." Learn her secrets in this fun workshop. Make your settings sparkle, your characters come alive, your emotions explode on the page. We'll discuss facts versus opinions, sense data, and what point of view really means. These techniques can help you take your work from dull to dazzling!

[BEG; Writers: Craft]

G2 ~ Taming the Synopsis with Ammi-Joan Paquette

If there is one word that can strike mortal terror into the hearts of writers far and wide, it is this: synopsis. But what is this dread beast? How does it live and what does it eat? (Hint: It's not writers!) In this interactive workshop, we'll explore all things synopsis, including detail on elevator pitches, thumbnails, outlines, and more. Come armed with your own synopsis drafts, whether rough or polished, and let's get those wild beasts tamed, groomed, and ready for display.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

G3 ~ First Look: Your Illustration Challenge Critiqued with Martha Rago, Jim Hoover and Laurent Linn, moderated by 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 impressions of artwork submitted by conference attendees. This year the artwork submitted to FIRST LOOK will be created as an illustration assignment; the same theme as the Illustration Challenge.
Details: Illustrate this single line of text for a 10x16 double-page spread of a picture book: "Don't worry - I fixed it." Interpret in any way you like. Think outside the crayon box! See how your artistic interpretation of the theme engages the art directors in a theatre-style critique setting. Participants will walk away from the event with insight from a panel of professionals in the industry as they quickly critique a range of styles and illustrations interpreting a single theme. Participants' 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. Everyone can benefit by hearing critiques of others. We'll try to get to as many images as possible, but can't guarantee all submissions will be shown.
Note: You may enter the Illustration Challenge and/or attend the FIRST LOOK workshop, submitting the same piece of art if you do both. Only attendees who register for the FIRST LOOK workshop can submit an image for critique consideration during this workshop. Email your Illustration Challenge/FIRST LOOK image to Ruth Sanderson at
Image Format: JPG
Size and Resolution: 10x16 @ 72dpi
Maximum Image Size: 2 MB
Deadline for all images: midnight April 20, 2015

G4 ~ Ka-Boom! When Comics and Literature Collide! with Mark Scott Ricketts and Josh Alves

Flora and Ulysses. Journey. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. As comics and graphic novels become more accepted in education and literary circles, elements from this medium are finding they way into everything from picture books to YA titles. Writer/Illustrators like Dan Santat, Brian Selznick, and Jon Scieszka have used comic book techniques to add humor, depth, and momentum to their narrative. And kids are loving this creative mash-up! Using the works of current and past comics masters (and their own work), Ricketts and Alves present examples of sequential graphic storytelling and show how different elements can be applied to KidLit. These breakdowns consider practical elements like pacing, composition, and effective panel dialogue. They also showcase the emotional impact of sound effects, establishing and visualizing the emotional dynamics of a character, use of props, and much more.

[INT, PRO; All: Craft]

G5 ~ From Pudgy Babies to Gangly Teens: Anatomy of Children for Illustrators with Kevin Barry and Ernie D'Elia

This workshop will cover the structure and proportion of kids, with an emphasis on placement and size of features on the face. Attendees will also see how to bend some of the rules and exaggerate proportions to add character to their drawings.

[BEG; Illustrators: Craft]

G6 ~ Concept Sells Books with Jill Corcoran

This workshop is NOT just to learn how to pitch your books to agents/editors. MOST IMPORTANTLY, it's to discover if your concept is strong/unique enough to invest your time - is this the book you should be writing? What sells a book is THE WRITING coupled with an ORIGINAL, COMPELLING CONCEPT! In my opinion, the ORIGINAL, COMPELLING CONCEPT outweighs mediocre writing, but the better writer you are (LEARN YOUR CRAFT!) the stronger CAREER you'll have as a writer.

Be prepared to email your concept (250 words or less) to two weeks prior to the conference (by 4/10/15). A selection of the concepts will be discussed during the workshop.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

SUNDAY Workshops, April 26, 2015

Sunday Morning Workshop Blocks:

One 2-hour session: H

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


Two 1-hour sessions: I-Block  -   9:50 am - 10:45 am
AND J-Block - 10:55 am - 11:50 am

2-hour session Options:

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

H1 ~ Tapping the Power of Memory to Find Your Inner Writing Voice with Erica Orloff

Erica Orloff uses hands-on brainstorming techniques to lead writers (and illustrators willing to work in the written word for the workshop) through creating six-word memoirs, based on Smith Magazine's seminal project, to first access the power of their childhood or young adult selves. Next she takes writers through the same revealing process - only through their characters' self/selves. Writers will learn to shut down the Inner Critic, and to free their authentic youthful voice, the better to access the language, emotions, and hidden world of their characters. In the safe space of the workshop setting, writers will learn how to bring their personal experiences and memories onto the page. Writers will find the themes of their own stories and their own lives - to then access their most honest and raw writing voice, to discover if they're indeed writing and creating for the age group that matches their voice. The workshop is designed for beginning writers through advanced. Through the editing process, writers will learn how to be specific and concise, choosing the most powerful words in their toolkits. They'll choose "Stepping Stones," a pathway through their own life experiences, a technique they can then apply to their characters' lives - both on the page and in the back story. A moving workshop on the Power of our own Stories, and how to tap our own lives and memories to add depth to our writing.

[GEN, INT, Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]

H2 ~ Mad Cap Outlining with AC Gaughen

I write by the seat of my pants. The story - it just COMES to me. I wake up in the middle of the night, and BAM! my story's there. If you've ever said these things, chances are you think outlining is synonymous with "slow and brutal death". There's nothing as dreaded as having to PLAN a novel. But of course, the industry doesn't quite work like that - sometimes you need to know where your story's going before you've, you know, written the entire thing. This workshop will make outlining and plotting a little strange, a little crazy, and very brightly colored. It's just not fun if there are not office supplies involved.

[INT, PRO; Writers: Craft]

H3 ~ Writing and Illustrating Meta Books for Kids with Deborah Freedman and A.C.E. Bauer

What are meta books? Do kids get them? Who writes or illustrates them and how do they work?
Meta books are, on the most basic level, books that talk about being a book, or use some element of being a book to tell a story. There has been an explosion of meta fiction and nonfiction in the last twenty years, but meta books have been around for as long as books have been around, and children have enjoyed them for centuries. Think of Alice in Wonderland, or Harold and the Purple Crayon, or even lift-the-flap or pop-up books.
Deborah Freedman (who writes and illustrates meta books for the picture book crowd), and A.C.E. Bauer (who writes them for middle grade and teen readers), will give a quick survey of different types of meta books, and take a close look at several examples to show how they play with language, art, format, and sources to tell stories. They'll also share extensive, categorized reading lists of old and contemporary meta books. The workshop will be geared for writers and illustrators who have experience in their field: picture books, MG or YA fiction, or nonfiction.

[INT, PRO; All: Craft]


1-hour session Options:

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

I1 ~ Everything You Want To Know About Publishing But Were Afraid To Ask with Jennifer Laughran, Agent

Not just "how to get an agent" - but a lively discussion that will cover everything from slush pile horrors, Publishing Jargon 101, how to work with an agent and editor for long term career success, and the truth behind many publishing myths.

[GEN; Writers: Business]

I2 ~ Developing a Gay or Questioning Character in the Middle Grade Context with Mary Cronin and Bonnie Jackman

Research indicates that kids who grow up to be gay may have an inkling by age 10 or earlier, but not self-identify until ages 14-16; there's a rich middle territory here for middle-grade writers. Some of our characters may indeed grow up and identify as gay, but what does that look like at the middle-grade level? How can we create space in our stories for those characters to be who they are (and for our readers to recognize themselves), before they're ready for romantic connections? We'll consider family connections, school setting, and social relationships. Writer Mary E. Cronin and middle-school guidance counselor Bonnie Jackman will share age-appropriate character development tools, current research, and timely anecdotes to deepen your understanding of middle-graders, gender identity, and the characters in your work-in-progress.

[INT, PRO, Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]

I3 ~ Seize the Reader, Write for Emotional Impact in Children's and Young Adult Novels with Jennifer Jacobson

Imagine your reader pinned in place by your story, unable to do anything else until he or she reaches the end. Imagine your reader racing to force that book into the hands of the nearest person exclaiming, "You've got to read this!" No doubt about it, the best novels evoke strong emotions. In this workshop, we'll explore ways to craft stories that provoke intense feelings including suspense, fear, empathy, and awe. Some of the questions we'll explore are: What's your emotional theme? How do we create an emotional connection to the reader through characterization, language, and pacing? How can we prevent ourselves from backing away from conflict, always bravely mining the truth? How do we make sure we've shown that truth on the page? Exercises will be provided.

[INT, PRO; Writers: Craft]

I4 ~ What to Do With a Digi Crayon: How to Use Computer Programs to Enhance and Edit Your Portfolio with Melanie Cataldo

How to use Photoshop, Acrobat, and Indesign to edit and present your work:
You worked long hours on a piece of artwork to send to publishers. You wish the main character you painted was just a hair further to the left, but there's no time left to repaint! Finally, you email your image and the file's too large! How do you even know if the person receiving your attachment can see the color correctly? Sigh. The Digi Crayon workshop will present information about how to use technology to edit, present, and send your artwork. Demonstrations and Q and A will cover how to use the programs Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Acrobat to create an outstanding, professional portfolio. The Digi Crayon presentation will also discuss the best type of file to send or post on a website. Beginners are very welcome!

[BEG; Illustrators: Craft, Business, Tech]

I5 ~ How to Write for Boys…and Get Them to Read What You've Written with Kwame Alexander

Will this workshop help you bring your characters to life on the page? Maybe. Will it show you how to weave action and humor into your stories? Perhaps. Truth is, this workshop will show you that boys are interested in most of the things that girls are interested in, and that how you present those things can be the difference in attracting boy readers. Thus, we'll explore the intricacies of creating fiction for boys. Definitely.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

I6 ~ It's All So Mysterious: Mystery Writing with Jan Fields

Do you have fond memories of the mysteries you read as a child, but aren't sure how to create one yourself? Do all the twists, turns and red herrings seem daunting? Mystery writing can be as much fun as mystery reading, if you like a good puzzle. Also, understanding the mystery can help you add spice and tension to all your plots. During this session, we'll break down how to create a good mystery hero and villain, how to keep tension high by not giving away the ending too soon, and how to plan your mystery plot using note cards. You may find this genre isn't as mysterious as you feared.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

I7 ~ Virtual School Visits with Chris Eboch

Would you like to speak with young readers around the country? With virtual school visits, you can do so without ever leaving your home. Simple, inexpensive technology lets you reach schools that can't afford to pay travel expenses. This talk covers the basic setup, plus designing a program that works long distance.

[GEN; All: Business, Tech]

I8 ~ Scientist? Poet? Both? with Steve Swinburne

Are you a scientist hoping to write a poem? Are you a poet thinking about a science subject? Have you ever thought about combining your love of science with the power of poetry? Kids love nonfiction poetry about animals, weather, dinosaurs, history, etc. They crave information served up in a cool and fun and accessible format such as poetry. Bring along your inner scientist and your inner poet and we'll see if they can make beautiful music!

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]


1-hour session Options:

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

J1 ~ Killer Robots, Time Portals, and Wizards - Oh My! World Building with Carter Hasegawa

We all have the general sense that Realistic and Historical Fiction need to be well-researched - but what about Fantasy and Science Fiction? From monsters to wizards; from dystopian governments to cute, fluffy bunnies; from servants to heroes - we'll look at how you can create authentic and relatable characters and build worlds that your readers will love.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

J2 ~ The Ten Commandments of Writing Historical Fiction with Tracy Barrett

While novels set in past eras of human history are classified as fiction, many readers - both adults and children - tend to see what is presented in them as fact, placing a responsibility for correct presentation of facts on the author. If children are to be engaged by a novel, the writer must balance story with history, and entertainment with accuracy, without sinking into didacticism. This leaves the author with the delicate task of representing history accurately while telling the story she wants to tell. "The Ten Commandments of Writing Historical Fiction" will show how to tell an engaging story while remaining true to history.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

J3 ~ Who You Gonna Call?: Navigating your Agent and Editor Relationships with Lauren MacLeod and Alison Weiss

You've signed with an agent. You've even sold your book. But this question still plagues you at night. Who do I call, when? What do you do now that you have a team? This workshop will focus on the differences in the relationships shared between authors and their agents and authors and their editors - with a quick peak behind the curtain at the agent/editor relationship - with expert advice from both sides of the table. Topics addressed will include discussion of their distinct roles, how agents and editors approach projects differently, how to work most effectively with each, and troubleshooting common problems. Time will be reserved for Q&A.

[PRO; All: Business]

J4 ~ I've Got an Illustrator Job, Now What? with Denise Ortakales

You've created a website for your illustrations, sent out postcards, and blogged until your fingers bled. Or at least that's your plan. Then one day the phone rings and someone wants to hire you! What now? This workshop is for illustrators who have done their homework and sent out their promotional material. Learn what to do while waiting for the phone to ring and how to handle a job when it does. Attendees will be walked through the steps of an illustration assignment for a children's magazine as this may be the first assignment many illustrators may receive. They will learn how to talk to (or email) a client, and how to handle changes. Thought you were done after you submitted your art? Not so fast; there's plenty to attend to.

[BEG, INT, Out of the Box; Illustrators: Business]

J5 ~ Indie 101: Street Teams, FanFiction, and the Art of Selling Oneself (occasionally to the Devil) with Kate Conway

Indie writers (those who chose to brave the jungle and go the self-publishing route) face an uphill battle from day one. But the mountain is conquerable, though the road can be paved with potholes and snipers (okay, maybe not snipers, but definitely landmines). Books must be flawless, characters must be unforgettable, and your online presence must be established. But then what? How does one get noticed? What tours should you plan for? How do you grab reviewers? Readers? What in the heck is a Street Team? How do you land on bookstore shelves (and not wedged in the back with the dust bunnies)? Is a cover critical? Will print save your soul? Do you have the Golden Rule of Three covered? How do you connect with your specific audience and do you really know that audience well enough? In this class you'll learn the fine art of selling yourself, your characters, your story, and your love of writing to the world. This is the business of selling the story.

[INT, PRO; All: Business]

J6 ~ Money for Fiction - Work For Hire Pays with Jan Fields

Educational publishing and work-for-hire isn't just for non-fiction writers! This workshop will help you find your niche in educational publishing and other work-for-hire options. You'll learn about single-title books, pitching a series, and writing test passages. We'll also look at how to make the best first impression with your first contact materials. Would you like to have publishers come to you asking you to write for them?

[GEN; Writers: Business]

J7 ~ Kick Your Career in a New Direction with Kickstarter with Marty Kelley

You know that book project that you've always wanted to publish? The publishing world is changing quickly and there are a lot of incredible new opportunities open to authors and illustrators.
This workshop is your opportunity to learn how to successfully crowdfund your book project using Kickstarter. The process can seem overwhelming, but we'll go through it step by step. In this lively discussion-based workshop, we'll look at what makes a successful Kickstarter campaign and, even more importantly, what makes a campaign fail. We'll cover the entire process: setting reasonable funding goals; coming up with effective, enticing donor gifts; communicating with donors; looking for unusual funding sources; and fulfilling your obligations to donors. Crowdfunding can be an amazing source of financial help to anyone with a worthwhile project. This workshop will help you tap into that source and bring your book to life.

[GEN, Out of the Box; All: Business]

J8 ~ The Dance of Character and Plot in Picture Books with Miriam Glassman

"Plot is Character Revealed by Action." Even in picture books, Aristotle's guiding principle holds true. This class will focus on exploring the interaction of character and plot in picture books. Through an examination of charactercentric texts, we'll look at the traits that create endearing and enduring picture book characters, analyze how plot arises organically from these characters, and discuss how character and plot are expressed both visually and through text. In addition, we'll also examine the most common and useful strategies employed in plotting picture books and the pattern these plots follow. Come discover how to take that picture book character tapping its foot in your mind and partner it with a plot that gets your story moving with grace and style.

[BEG, INT; All: Craft]

Sunday Afternoon Workshop Blocks:

One 2-hour session: K

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


Two 1-hour sessions: L-Block -  1:15 pm - 2:10 pm
AND M-Block - 2:20 pm - 3:15 pm

2-hour session Options:

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

K1 ~ Fast and Furious: Gesture and Expression for Illustrators with Marty Kelley

Grab your sketchbook and let's draw. In this workshop, we'll be drawing - a lot. One of the most difficult aspects of illustrating believable characters is to develop convincing gesture and expression. In this workshop, we'll use each other as models and learn ways to effectively draw a variety of characters showing a wide range of expression. We'll explore proportions, hands, feet and placement of eyes, noses, and mouths. We'll do lots of quick gesture drawings to capture the feeling of a pose or expression, then do a few longer drawings so we have a chance to more fully develop the characters. We'll even have a short critique so you can get some valuable input from other artists.
It will be fast. It will be furious. It will be fun.

[BEG, INT; Illustrators: Craft]

K2 ~ Super Scrivening: Outside the Box with Scrivener with Chris Friden

Most writers are able to start writing with Scrivener on their own, but need help when it comes to the advanced features. If you're a current user who wants to further customize their writing experience or a non-user who is curious about the application's buzz, then this workshop is for you.
This session will be geared for the novel template on the Mac platform (PC and users working in other templates will also be able to apply this learning). We'll explore Collections; Keywords; indexing and outlining; nifty lesser-known tricks, and pay special attention to Compiling and how to export your manuscript for submission. Attendees are invited to follow along with the demonstration on their laptop, ask questions, and walk away with a step-by-step handout.

[INT, PRO; Writers: Tech]

K3 ~ Writing In Reverse with Kate Conway

Sixty-five thousand words? Eighty thousand? More than one hundred thousand? All word counts can seem daunting to a writer. Even worse, trying to write from the first page to the last can cause some major issues in the arc of your story (and your sanity). But what if you wrote in reverse? What if you took your epic climax and shook out all the possible scenes from that one moment, lining them up backwards? In this class you'll learn how to WRITE IN REVERSE (WIR). How does WIR strengthen your characters and your story? How does it eliminate dull parts of your manuscript, while tossing in more devious breadcrumbs? In this class, participants get to use their own climax scenes and learn to walk backwards, building the framework of a great novel in reverse. Expect to participate and expect to crank your inner storyteller to life.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]


1-hour session Options:

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

L1 ~ Who is Real? Combining Fictional and Real Characters in Historical Writing with Lea Wait

Where are the stories? And - who is real? Historical novelist Lea Wait shares how she finds stories from the past by using local and state historical archives - and combines fictional characters with real figures while assuring historical accuracy in her work.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

L2 ~ Using Your Creative Talents to MarketYour Book with Jen Carson

Do you cook or sew? Are you a great organizer? Do you love to stamp cards or draw/paint? Learn how to take your hobbies, connect them with your writing skills, get published and get paid! If you already have a book out you can take some of these same ideas and use them to help market your book. Through discussion and brain storming with our peers, participants will develop ideas for taking their hobbies and skills out of box to get their work noticed!

[INT, PRO; All: Business]

L3 ~ Publishing for the Educational Market with Barbara Mariconda

Children spend the first four or five years of school learning to read, and the rest of their academic careers reading to learn - and somebody has to create the materials teachers use for this purpose. If you've always loved school, are a student or teacher at heart, educational publishing may be right up your alley. Learn to find your educational niche, write a proposal that stands out from the rest, pitch your manuscript to the right publisher, or self publish and market yourself.

[GEN; Writers: Craft, Business]

L4 ~ Everything You Wanted to Know About Rhyming But Were Too Afraid to Ask with Josh Funk

Rhyming picture books are frowned upon by agents and editors. Yet numerous rhyming picture books get published every year. Why? How? As someone who has only written rhyming picture books, I'll share everything I know about how to get a rhyming picture book published. I'll share why it's actually rhythm that makes or breaks the success of a rhyming picture book. We'll discuss the reasons that make writing in rhyme difficult. And of course, I'll share some secret tips regarding what to avoid, what tools to use, and how to get your manuscript in front of the right editors and agents. Writing in rhyme is not for everyone. But when it's done right, it adds an extra element of charm that no publisher can resist.

[GEN, BEG; All: Craft; Writers: Business]

L5 ~ Happily for Now: Writing YA Romance with Marissa Doyle

Romance is the best-selling category of genre fiction in the market today, with 2013 sales of $1.08 billion - and YA romance sales are burgeoning. Curious about what goes into writing a YA romance? In this workshop we'll cover

- What is a romance? - the myths and misconceptions and an overview of the romance industry
- Happily Ever After vs. Happily For Now: where YA romance fits (and does not fit) under the romance umbrella
- We don't need no stinkin' rules...oh wait, maybe we do (a little bit): craft and voice in YA romance
- The elements and structure of romantic plots and subplots
- Flavor of the month: sub-genre considerations
- From holding hands to going all the way: sex and sexuality in YA romance
- What is New Adult, anyway?
- The market, ebook vs. print, and emerging opportunities in YA romance
- Resources for writers interested in writing YA romance
Come with an open mind and a list of questions, and be prepared for a lively discussion!

[INT; Writers: Craft]

L6 ~ Unleash the Voice that Editors and Readers Can't Resist with Tracey Baptiste

Elements that are necessary to a story, like plot, character, and setting, are easier for writers to understand and reproduce in writing than voice. Plot must have a beginning, middle, and end. Characters must act and react. Setting must convey time, place, and often mood. However, voice is an ineffable quality, and perhaps even more crucial than the other three. It's the one thing that draws in the reader and takes them along for the ride. It can make the difference between someone picking up your book and devouring it, or reading a couple of lines and putting it right back down. With a brief introduction to voice and a series of exercises, authors will learn what voice is, and how to unleash their characters' or narrators' own unforgettable voice to make sure that readers keep reading.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]

L7 ~ How and Why to Write LGBTQ Characters Even if You're Not LGBT or Q with Ellen Wittlinger

When we talk about needing a diversity of books for children, we don't only mean racially and ethnically diverse. LGBTQ kids also need to see themselves reflected in the literature. But if you identify as straight, can you take on the challenge of including LGBTQ characters in your books? Maybe you'd like to, in theory, but it feels outside your comfort zone. Should you try anyway? By including LGBTQ characters in your YA and middle-grade novels, and yes, even in picture books, you'll be making a positive difference in the lives of many children. Let's talk about why you might want to try, and how to go about doing it.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

L8 ~ Organization for the Non-Linear Thinker: How to Organize the Threads within Your Manuscript, Track Characters, and Deepen Plot with Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Are you a non-linear thinker? Do you have ideas floating around but just can't seem to write a story in order? Do you have random scenes about a particular character and wonder if those scenes could make a novel? Have no fear! Self-professed non-linear thinker (and author of two novels and a third under contract) will show you how she wrote the chapters of her books out of order and how she organized them enough to track characters, plot threads, deepen plot, identify weak areas, and more. Do not be intimidated by your own non-linear process. Embrace it!

[INT, Out of the Box; Writers: Craft]


1-hour session Options:

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

M1 ~ Caution! ENGLISH AHEAD! What Every Author Needs to Know with Marvin Terban

Language is the author's greatest tool. (Pictures are the illustrator's greatest tool, but that's another story.) We connect to our readers through the written word. But before your readers get your book, you must sell it to an agent who must sell it to an editor who must sell it to the marketing department who must sell it to the readers. Nothing must block anyone's appreciation of your amazing storytelling skills: not a misspelled word, nor a misplaced comma, nor a misused verb. Your manuscript must be grammatically perfect before anyone takes it out of the envelope. This humorous presentation will provide a lively guide to help you avoid the complexities, idiosyncrasies, and pitfalls of your mother tongue. (Not Marvin's father's tongue. He came from Ukraine.)

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

M2 ~ Publishing Contracts 101 with Stevie Fitzgerald

This workshop will cover the basics of tradebook contracts for children's book authors. Important clauses will be discussed as well as the changes that should be made to them. This workshop will be an important tool for anyone interested in signing a publishing contract.

[GEN; All: Business]

M3 ~ The Best Writing is Re-Writing: Editing with Lea Wait

The best writing is Re-writing! So, you've finished the first (or tenth) draft of your MG or YA novel. What's next? Editing: what to look for in developmental editing, checking transitions, assuring accuracy - and then line editing: eliminating those weasel words.

[INT, PRO; Writers: Craft]

M4 ~ From Spark to Structure: How to Take Meaningful and Marketable Concepts and Turn Them Into Books with Rhoda Belleza

We'll go over the three act structure with various narrative techniques, then discuss how it fits within the marketplace. Rhoda works for a YA and Middle Grade book packager and they have a 100% sales record; she can show you how to take creative ideas and translate them into books with integrity and emotional resonance.

[GEN; Writers: Craft; All: Business]

M5 ~ Writing the New Non-Fiction Comics for Kids with J.L. Bell

Publishers of all sorts have adopted the comics or graphic form as a lively way to interest young readers, especially reluctant readers, in history, science, and other topics. But for prose authors, even those used to writing for kids, scripting comics offers unfamiliar challenges. What's more, today's market for nonfiction comics is split into three separate channels: regular trade publishers, comics publishers, and school-library publishers. Each has its own way of doing business. This workshop will lay out the new terrain for nonfiction comics and explore how those projects are assembled, based on interviews with writers, editors, and artists. Using examples from recently published books, we'll explore how nonfiction comics work, how they can tell stories and convey information differently from prose, and what special challenges they pose for writers.

[INT, PRO; Writers: Craft, Business]

M6 ~ Secrets of The Plot Goddess: How Destiny Drives Your Story with Lisa Papademetriou

This new approach to plot is intended for writers who prefer working with character to crafting structure. Ancient Greeks believed that the Moirai (Fates) were a trio of goddesses who guided human actions and determined outcomes. This lecture will examine plot as if it were a character, specifically the Goddess of Destiny, and will reveal her desire line. Once you know what Destiny wants from your characters, you can use this knowledge to craft a plot with texture, meaning, and resonance.

[GEN; Writers: Craft]

M7 ~ Picture Books Without an Agent with Sandra Horning

Many agents do NOT accept picture book manuscripts unless the author is also an illustrator. What do you do if you write picture books and you're not an illustrator? You submit to publishers on your own! This session will provide examples and tips on how to navigate the publishing world without an agent. While the picture book market is tight, it IS possible to get published without an agent. Understanding the submission guidelines, determining when your manuscript is ready to submit, and researching the market are some of the topics that will be covered. Sandra will draw from her own experience as well as that of the many authors she knows who have also published on their own. Advice gleaned from a few picture book editors will also be shared. Time permitting, attendees may share brief picture book descriptions and Sandra will guide brainstorming possible "good fit" publishing houses.

[BEG, INT; Writers: Business]

M8 ~ I'm Writing A Chapter Book...I Think with Miriam Glassman

Chapter books comprise one of the largest categories of children's books sold today, yet many children's book writers are stumped by the form. Exactly what is a chapter book? Where does it sit on the spectrum between Beginner Reader and Middle Grade Novel? How do you work with limitations in length and vocabulary without limiting your ability to express largeness of imagination, feeling and spirit? And what about graphic chapter books? In this workshop, we'll examine the specific characteristics that distinguish chapter books from other books for independent readers, as well as strategies for developing the voice, tone, and plot structure for this particular genre. Come learn everything you always wanted to know about chapter books but were afraid to ask, and discover the expanding range of creative possibilities that await you!

[BEG, INT; Writers: Craft]



Contact Information

  • Conference Co-Directors: 
    Natasha Sass
    Heather Kelly
    and Marilyn Salerno

    Registrars: Shirley Pearson & Sandy Budiansky
    Volunteer Coordinator: Hayley Barrett

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    Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place
    (413) 781-1010
    One Monarch Place
    Springfield, Massachusetts 01144
    (Rooms at $117.00 USD per night)

    In addition to this conference hotel, for your convenience we have also reserved space at the Springfield Marriott, directly across the street from the Sheraton. Rooms are available at the Marriott for $135.00 USD per night. 
    Please call (800) 228-9290 and ask to make a reservation in the Springfield Marriott SCBWI New England Regional Conference Room Block.

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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 February 24, 2015 will be refunded in full.
    After February 24, 2015, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.
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