New England SCBWI 2017: Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, April 21, 2017

New England SCBWI 2017 
Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio

Registration is now CLOSED.
Please join us at next year's conference, April 20-22, 2018.

Click HERE for important Conference Tips (last updated 25 April 2017)

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BOOKSELLING INFORMATION for SCBWI Members (last updated 25 April 2017)

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Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio

Workshop Descriptions

FRIDAY Workshops, April 21, 2017 

Printer friendly PDF version of all Friday Workshop descriptions.

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

A1 ~ Diversifying Your Muse: How to Write Across Multiple Genres Without Sacrificing Your Voice with Trisha Leaver (Novel)

In this rapidly evolving publishing market, it’s becoming more common, if not essential, for authors to pen books in different genres. The days of ‘branding’ based solely on the type of novels published are gone. Instead, voice has taken center stage as the unifying factor that connects an author to his/her body of work. It’s crucial to maintain a consistent voice, one readers will recognize regardless of the story the writer has chosen to tell. In this workshop, you will learn how utilize recurrent themes, character types, and your own unique voice so that you can fluidly write across multiple genres, creating an author brand rooted in your writing style as opposed to one specific genre.

A2 ~ Microscopes and Magic Mirrors: Techniques to Create Contemporary Characters that Reach Your Reader and Honor Your Truth with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (All Writing)

There are two basic tricks to creating believable contemporary characters: (1) examining the minutiae of what your character is made of and (2) looking at the big picture, not only as it is but as it should be. Mastering these different techniques will keep your characters contemporary and relevant to current readers. This workshop will discuss processes to create strong characters that expose a universal truth and will outline some concrete methods for character development that can be put to use in your manuscript immediately.

A3 ~ Character Design 101 with Kelly Light (Illustration)

First, we go through the basics: Shape, Gesture, Design. You get Homework: 3 Character descriptions provided as if YOU are testing to be the illustrator of a picture book. Bring them in. We will share. Also, bring in any character that you are struggling with. We will go through the process of how to do turn arounds and drawing your characters from different angles and with a lot of expressions. Bring a small mirror, paper, pencils. Come ready to draw. Come ready to volunteer. Come ready to pose for gesture drawing.

A4 ~ Social Media Playbook with Jess Keating (Marketing)

In today’s publishing industry, it is not enough to be a wonderful writer, and publishers often expect authors to take the reins on their promotional efforts and marketing. With the number of self-appointed ‘social media gurus’ out there, it is easy to get lost in someone else’s shuffle and forget that the whole point of social media is not to sell books, but rather to create a tribe and community of real connections with readers. How can we build beneficial relationships online and keep true to ourselves? What can we do before selling a book to create a positive experience for agents and editors who will Google you? (Because they will!) Jess Keating shares her philosophy of using social media to grow as a writer and gain readers in a genuine way, without the headache or pushy marketing.

A5 ~ Quirky Revision Techniques: Using Creative Problem-Solving to Polish That Book with Erin Dionne (Novel)

Every book presents its own unique set of problems in drafting and revision. In this session, we’ll unpack a creative toolbox of unexpected revision tools so you can solve your novel’s specific problems. We’ll look at three categories of techniques: Visual, Linear, and Miscellaneous Kooky to broaden your ability to think outside the box and give your novel what it needs to achieve the next level of polish. Participants will be asked to apply one or two approaches to their novel with in-class exercises and will leave with a list of options and a greater understanding of the revision process and techniques.

A6 ~ The Whole Book Approach with Megan Dowd Lambert (Picture Book)

Join Simmons College professor and author Megan Dowd Lambert to learn about the Whole Book Approach, a co-constructive (interactive) storytime model focused on the art and design of the picture book, which she developed in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Drawing on her book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge 2015), attendees will learn about the picture book as a visual art form and will consider the difference between reading with children and reading to children. Megan will talk about how the Whole Book Approach has informed her work as a picture book author in order to provide insights to other writers and illustrators. Active participation throughout the session will allow everyone to reflect on a diverse array of picture books in order to add Whole Book Approach tools and techniques to their own storytime practice for author visits.

A7 ~ Well, What Do You Know? with Hazel Mitchell (Illustration)

We all come to the drawing board with a whole suitcase of experience and knowledge. What makes our suitcase interesting is that when we open it, it’s totally different from everyone else’s. And when we approach that blank page, it’s guaranteed that the pictures and words we put there will be unique. Seems obvious, right? But how often, when you’re brainstorming on your own or with a critique group, do you think or say ‘It’s been done before …’ and no doubt it has, but it hasn’t been done by you! So let’s celebrate our own experience of the world.

We’ll look at several subjects in children’s books that have been interpreted in totally different ways, and then in hands-on exercises participants will ...
* Navigate deep into their psyches to create a mind map of what makes them tick.
* Have fun with collaborative exercises, looking at just what it is that makes them different from the person sitting next to them.
* Produce a scenario in words and pictures from their own experiences and personality.
* Create an idea for a story from a pitch given to them using words and/or illustration.
Handout included.

A8 ~ Querying: Hook, Line and Slam Dunk with Kristine Asselin and Agent Kathleen Rushall (Life & Career)

When it comes to Querying, there are certain standards that apply universally. However, it is 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 Asselin and agent Kathleen Russell (Andrea Brown Literary Agency). We will talk about queries that work (and why!) and perfecting the elements of your query. In the first hour, we will cover the easy-to-use “Hook, Book, & Cook” method. Discover what works, what doesn’t work, and when it is okay to “think outside the box”. See examples of real queries that landed an agent and later, a book deal. The second hour will be spent answering questions and workshopping real query letters, so come prepared to workshop your query! Be inspired! In this seminar, you won’t hear vague advice—you will get tangible tips to create an effective, concise query letter.

A9 ~ Writing Our Cultural Mosaic with Terry Farish and Susan Lynn Meyer (All Writing)

If writers only represent characters of their own ethnicity, they will end up creating a starkly segregated fictional space, one very unlike the multicultural reality of the United States. People of diverse races, and cultures and the stories they share, illuminate the world outside the single lens of one’s own family and community. In this workshop, participants will look at examples of writing for and about young adults and children that bring cultures face-to-face.

Attendees will learn research methods for writing about an ethnicity not their own, as well as approaches to surmount the challenges of writing not what they know but what they seek to understand. Through writing prompts that explore ways to bring the world beyond our borders into a story, participants will discover how creating a cultural mosaic in literature adds authenticity to storytelling.

**A10 ~ Killer First Chapters with Nova Ren Suma (Novel)
FULL - waitlist only

Expand your craft and 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 opening pages of your YA or middle-grade novel. In discussion, we will ask: 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 online 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 the first 5 pages of everyone's manuscript and come ready for discussion. Maximum capacity: 9 people.

Click here to see a LIST of all workshops.



Contact Information

  • Conference Co-Directors:
    Josh Funk, Sera Rivers and Marilyn Salerno

    Registrars: Shirley Pearson & Helen Kampion
    Volunteer Coordinator: Loretta Kapinos
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    Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place
    (413) 781-1010
    One Monarch Place
    Springfield, Massachusetts 01144

    While the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place is sold out of rooms, 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 $139.00 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.
    NOTE: This special $139 Marriott rate expires on March 30, 2017.

    We have also reserved a block of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Springfield at a discounted rate of $135 per night (plus tax). The Hilton Garden is located on the grounds of Springfield’s Basketball Hall of Fame. There is no shuttle service between the Hilton and the Sheraton; however, you may still park for free at the Sheraton even if you are staying at the Hilton.  

    The Hilton Garden Inn Springfield's address is
    800 Hall of Fame Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts, 01105
    Please call (413) 886-8000 to make a reservation, or click here to reserve a room in the SCBWI block. 

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Payment Instructions

  • Payment by AMEX, Discover, MC, VISA, Diners Club, or check.

    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

    Conference cancellations up until February 28, 2017 will be refunded in full. 
    After February 28, 2017, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.

    All 3 days:
      Member/Non-Member: $295/$350
    2 days - Fri/Sat OR Sat/Sun:
    2 days - Fri/Sun:
      Member/Non-Member: $180/$240
    1 day - Friday OR Sunday only:
      Member/Non-Member: $90/$120
    1 day - Saturday only:
      Member/Non-Member: $145/$170
    Critique (MS/PF):
      Member/Non-Member: $50/$55
    Agent Quick Query (AQQ):
      Member/Non-Member: $30/$35
    Career Consultation (CC):
      Member/Non-Member: $40/$45

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